SALEM, Mass. -- On Saturday, May 12th 2019 the Salem State Vikings celebrated the end of a successful academic year by hosting a free sports clinic for Special Olympic athletes. This half day event was planned and implemented by the Viking Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) and led by various members of the varsity athletic teams and coaches.
Over 20 Special Olympic athletes and their families attended the clinic, and participated with the Viking volunteers in soccer, basketball, and wiffle ball. Each Special Olympics participant was made an honorary Viking for the day, assigned a locker in the varsity locker rooms and paired up with an SSU student-athlete as their mentor and buddy for the afternoon. All participants also received a Viking Superfan t-shirt and were treated to a post-clinic pizza party by PZA of Salem, MA.
"Our student-athletes returned to campus for this event because of their commitment to giving back and the Special Olympics athletes they work with each year. Our volunteers look forward to this partnership each semester, and gain as much from this day as the Special Olympics participants." said Nicolle Wood, Associate Director of Athletics and advisor to SAAC. Men's Basketball Coach and Academic and Retention Coordinator Chris Harvey echoed that sentiment. "To see the bonds created between all of the athletes who participated today was a highlight of the year. This event highlights the power and reach of sports." Special Olympics athlete Mikey and his mom shared "the coaches and their student athlete volunteers were engaging and expressed a lot of interest in each of the Special Olympians who participated. The activities of the day allowed for everyone to participate, no matter what their athletic abilities. The Viking volunteers made each of the kids feel special and included."
For more information on the Special Olympics of Massachusetts, please visit https://www.specialolympicsma.org/