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24 June 2013

Special Olympics, Part 2

I promised a second (and third) post on my class' Special Olympics Experience, and here is the second. So sorry for the delay. I hope you've enjoyed some of the other posts in the mean time. Here is the first post about the students' pre-volunteering reflections if you haven't read it yet. 

My students and I met at the Special Olympics event in Mt. Pleasant at nine in then morning. We had a few students who ran late, but we all found each other and got on our way. First, the students signed in (they even got t-shirts!) at the volunteer tent, and they scattered. 

Some students worked in the gym and worked as volleyball assistants. They chased balls and returned them to the athletes competing. A few even got the chance to be line judges! One, who is a basketball and workout fanatic, was very proud of himself. He said that the referee praised him for how quickly he learned the rules and applied them to the games. Another admitted he made many mistakes; however, the athletes and coaches encouraged him despite his mistakes. He said that his helped encourage his self-confidence, especially in speaking English. 

Image via the Special Olympics
Another student helped stuff "gift bags" for the athletes. She aided another worker put water bottles, fruit, and goodies into bags for the athletes to enjoy. Her position allowed her to communicate with volunteers and athletes. She also got to share about her culture and country, which made her extremely proud of herself.  A few other students escorted athletes to their events and to watch other events. This activity allowed them to get to know the other volunteers and the Special Olympics athletes. They also gained self-confidence in their English speaking skills.

Everybody was required to volunteer for at least 3 hours, but many of them stayed even longer! I will write another post about the students' reflection, but I want to emphasize how much the students interacted with other people and how much they enjoyed it. They all recommended that I give this assignment again to my other classes, and that they would volunteer at the Special Olympics again. 

Please stay tuned for my next post about the students' reflections on their experiences. 

P.S. Follow me on Twitter @Caitlin_ESL

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