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Haverford Varsity Athletes Volunteer at the Special Olympics Fall Fest

On Saturday, November 3, 188 Haverford varsity athletes gathered outside the G.I.A.C. at 6:30 a.m. to get on to a bus that would be going back and forth to Villanova University. Usually a horde of athletes gathering outside to get on a bus at an ungodly hour signifies an away meet in their respective sports; however, this Saturday was unusual in that all of these athletes, representing fourteen different Haverford teams, were traveling together to volunteer their Saturday mornings at the Special Olympics Fall Fest. This inter-varsity event was the most widely attended athlete community service activity in many years. Once at Villanova, the athletes dispersed to various sporting events including soccer, long distance running, volleyball, and power-lifting. Wandering around the campus of Villanova, Haverford athletes clad in the blue volunteer shirts could be seen shadowing soccer drills, scoring volleyball matches, timing races, and spotting power-lifters. One team, dressed in orange shirts, was even given the job of “security personnel” for the long distance running events and had the task of making sure the Special Olympics athletes were safe at all times. Throughout the cold morning, Haverford athletes never flagged in their efforts to help out where needed and to cheer on the Special Olympics athletes. One athlete remarked that he felt really good about cheering on the athletes and that a nearby parent thanked him and his teammates for their support. Many of the Special Olympics athletes do not have any family with them at the Fall Fest and they really appreciate the support and energy of the volunteers. Haverford’s involvement in the Special Olympics, which is “an international nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering individuals with intellectual disabilities to become physically fit, productive and respected members of society through sports training and competition,” (www.specialolympics.org) had been in the works since the beginning of the semester. The Haverford Athletic Department worked with Eighth Dimension in order to set up this volunteer opportunity. HCAA, Haverford College Athletic Association, played a major role in coordinating all of the athletic teams. Baseball coach Dave Beccaria, one of the HCAA Athletic Department Liaisons, and Greg Rosnick, a member of the Men’s Basketball team and HCAA, worked with all of the athletic teams in order to bring them all together for a community service activity. Their efforts, along with the efforts of the community service representatives of each team, led to fourteen Haverford teams bringing volunteers to the Special Olympics. Due to the enthusiasm of the Haverford athletes at this event, this will hopefully become an annual varsity-wide community service opportunity in the years to come. -Gili Freedman '09

The ramp from Magill Library with Ryan Gym and Sharpless Hall in the background.

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