More than 60 special needs kids compete at Langston Bowling Center
Published 4:54 pm Friday, November 21, 2014
Alaiyah Bailey lines up in front of the bowling lane with a face of concentration, winds up and slings the ball toward the pins. They clash loudly, knocking almost half of them over. She turns around to cheers and clapping hands, a smile spread across her face.
Bailey was just one of many special needs youth having a blast Thursday morning at the fifth annual Decatur County Special Olympics bowling event at the Langston Bowling Center.
More than 60 children between ages 8 and 20 were tossing bowling balls down the lane, cheering each other on and celebrating good rolls.
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“We’re trying to get them to participate and be competitive,” Special Olympics coordinator Jim Beck said. “And (it’s about) the fellowship of it all.”
Beck said getting the kids out of a classroom setting was important for the special needs youth. Giving them an opportunity to compete in ways they otherwise wouldn’t be able to is what Special Olympics is about.
“Every single one of these people in here is a winner,” Beck said. “They all get a ribbon. I don’t think they care if it’s first place or eighth place, as long as they’re recognized.”
Selina Wiggins, assistant special ed. director in Decatur County, said she has as much fun helping with the Special Olympics activities as the kids do.
“These activities are so fun for me,” Wiggins said. “You can look at the kids’ faces and see how much fun they’re having. It’s a great opportunity for them.”
Beck said he had been involved with Special Olympics for five years and it was worth the effort to see the amount of joy brought to the kids he works with.
“It’s not that much work to make sure these guys have that much fun,” Beck said.
To volunteer for future Special Olympics events, contact Beck at (229) 220-4009.