About 2,500 volunteers aged 13 years and older are needed to serve as “Buddies” and “Huggers,” says Nancy Doyle of the Miami-Dade County Special Olympics Executive Committee.
She says the Special Olympics games are sponsored locally by the North Miami Beach Optimist Club and the David L. Singer Memorial Fund.
“Our group,” Doyle says, “has been doing this for more than 25 years.”
Volunteering to assist the intellectually or physically challenged athletes participating in the Special Olympics, she says, is an enriching experience.
“It’s a very wonderful and rewarding time,” says Doyle, who has been involved in the Special Olympics for about 15 years. “If you’ve done it before, you know what I’m talking about.”
The events, in which 600 special athletes participate in a fully sanctioned track and field meet, will be held from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 13 at Traz Powell Stadium on the Miami-Dade College North Campus, Northwest 114th Street and 27th Avenue. Competitions are held for standing and running long jumps, softball throws, shot-put and wheelchairs.
Those who can’t take part on event day can still support the effort financially.
“People can make donations to The David L Singer Memorial Fund or Special Olympics Miami Dade through the web sites,” Doyle says.
“We may have to cut back on sending some of the athletes who are qualified for the state games to Orlando, and we don’t want to do that.”
Game day participants get a free commemorative Special Olympics T-shirt, a student community-service letter if needed and a free lunch.