The smell of freshly mown grass. The sun on your face. The ball. The competition. The cheering fans. These are things most kids enjoy easily. While special needs children may have to work harder to enjoy it, they want to compete just as badly—and win.
“That’s what it’s all about,” said Donna, the America’s Preferred Home Warranty (APHW) employee who organized the company’s volunteers for the Special Olympics of Michigan 2018 State Fall Games. “It’s to show the world that yes, they may have a handicap or disability, but it doesn’t stop them from wanting to achieve what everyone else achieves in the world. They have wants and desires. They have goals, and being part of the Special Olympics helps them achieve some of those goals.”
The games were held September 28-30 in Ann Arbor, Canton, Chelsea, and Ypsilanti, Michigan. At first, Donna accepted the task because she felt APHW, which has donated to the cause in the past, should be represented. “We support this, so we should be out there as a team, showing our support,” she said. After attending the games, however, it became more than just being present.
“Going there and helping out and seeing the kids just made me feel really blessed,” she said. “I enjoyed seeing the kids go out and do things that people thought they couldn’t, watching them prove the stereotypes wrong.”
Donna’s efforts resulted in an additional nine volunteers attending the events, something the organizers were very appreciative of. “The new president of the organization, Tim Hileman, said that without the volunteers, the coaches and the athletes, the Special Olympics wouldn’t be there,” Donna said. “He escorted the person carrying the torch during the opening ceremonies. I felt blessed to be a part of it.”
Dave, who volunteered in the Flag Football games, was impressed at the joyful spirit of all the participants. “It was really fun seeing how the kids were into it,” he said. “It caused me to pause and reflect on what we take for granted.”
“It was so much fun!” said Arricca, who volunteered in the Skills Golf area. “Everyone who participated was in such a good mood, and just laughing and enjoying themselves. To be part of something that can bring them as much joy as they bring to the rest of the world is a real blessing.”