Miramonte Students Volunteer at Special Olympics

Miramonte Students Volunteer at Special Olympics

Ari Stein, Staff Writer

One popular volunteering opportunity among Miramonte students is Special Olympics. Special Olympics is a program for physically or mentally handicapped athletes. It allows them to participate in various sports while staying fit, practicing social skills, and having fun.

According to the Special Olympic organization, there are 32 different Special Olympic sports, organizations in more than 170 different countries, and over 4.2 million Special Olympic athletes.

East Bay Sea Serpents, is a non-profit swim team affiliated with Special Olympics. Over the past year, many Miramonte students have started volunteering with them.

Sophomore Devyn Nan started volunteering a year ago as a coach and loves it. “A year does not seem long at all. It is so much fun that time goes by quick,” Nan said.

Their teams consist of 35 to 50 participants with disabilities ranging from ages six to 30+. Practice occurs on Sundays at Campolindo High School. At practice, the swimmers are separated into two different pools based on skill.

In the shallow pool, kids will normally be one on one with a coach and will focus on the basic skills. Meanwhile in the big pool, after warming up and practicing different strokes, the athletes finish practice with a relay race.

At the end of the season, there is a huge swim meet in Oakland against other teams in the Bay Area. The swimmers look forward to showing off their skills and meeting new people.

Another Miramonte student who volunteers at East Bay Sea Serpents is sophomore Kimi Hata. “I started volunteering because I love helping people and the kids are really fun to talk to. The girl I normally help is super cool,” Hata said. Hata wants to continue volunteering in the spring season and help more children accomplish their goals.

Other Special Olympic sports include volleyball, gymnastics, kayaking, softball, basketball, skiing and many more.

Being involved is easy. You can volunteer and help out with any of the 32 different sports or by simply donating to help Special Olympics cover expenses and support athletes.

Miramonte’s class of special needs students participated in an event held at Acalanes for the past two years. The event included different events such as shot put, running, and javelin. Schools as far away as San Mateo and San Francisco participated.

Sophomore Patrick Kirbach is a special needs student at Miramonte who participates in East Bay Sea Serpents.

Some sports are slightly altered according to the type of disability. This allows every kid to have the opportunity to participate in a sport no matter what their disability is.