It is time again to invite students in Benton County to participate in the Vinton Shellsburg United division of Special Olympics. Here are a few ways that competing in Special Olympics can help your child.

Participants in Special Olympics develop improved physical fitness and motor skills, greater self-confidence and a more positive self-image.They grow mentally, socially, and, through their activities, exhibit boundless courage and enthusiasm, enjoy the rewards of friendship and ultimately discover not only their abilities and talents but "their voices" as well.

Any student with an IEP is eligible to participate in Special Olympics. It is a great experience for social and behavioral growth for many of the children in special education classes. During competitions the coordinators of Special Olympics divide each age group up depending on their ability. Adaptations are made for all ability levels.

We participate in three sports; bowling, basketball, and track and field. Due to the generosity of the local community, there is no costto participate in Special Olympics. Track and field is our next upcoming event.

Track practices are held Thursdays after school and from 10 to12 on Saturdays. Our Regional competition is held at CoeCollegein April. Everyone on the team will go to Amesto the State meet to support the team. The State competition is held at IowaStateUniversity. The athletes and coaches stay in the dorms for 2 nights. We always have a great time.

Parents of current Special Olympics athletes agree that competing in Special Olympics is a great self-esteem booster and it helps their children to not feel so isolated. Their children build confidence in themselves and meet other athletes from different schools. One of the parents admitted that at first it made her feel bad that her child qualified for Special Olympics, but after she watched her first track meet and saw how good it made her daughter feel, she realized that it is a great opportunity!

We will be holding an informational meeting on Saturday, January 25th at 11 AMin the TilfordMiddle Schoolgym for parents and athletes.

If you have any questions, or are unable to attend the meeting, please feel free to call or e-mail Head Coach Brian Larkin for more information. You can also check out Special Olympics Iowa at www.soiowa.org .

--Brian Larkin

Head Coach, Vinton Shellsburg United Special Olympics

Email: bsarjk1@gmail.com

Cell Phone: 319-521-2640

The most important reason to participate: Special Olympics is Cool!



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