Veale Center transformed into Olympic Village


Courtesy Liz Rossborough

Special Olympics organizers and volunteers gather for a group picture after a successful event.

Adithi Iyengar, Staff Reporter

On Oct. 3, Spartans for Special Olympics hosted their first Special Olympics at the Veale Center. Case Western Reserve University student volunteers paired up with kids with special needs from the greater Cleveland Area, where they spent a day playing games and doing activities. The event brought about 100 students from nine different schools.

Events included rotating soccer games where kids played against different teams from different schools, and a carnival with student activity groups where kids got their faces painted or saw performances from student groups on campus such as the CWRU Juggling Club.

“Special Olympics is national and its goal is to bring fun, Field-day type events to children with special needs,” said Special Olympics Treasurer Daniel Ryave. “The goal is for them to get to celebrate despite their differences and show that they can be athletes just like everyone else.”

The event began with an opening ceremony with speaker Dennis Rupert, the associate vice president of Student Affairs. After a fun day of games and lunch, during the closing ceremony university President Barbara Snyder gave a speech.

“It’s so nice to get to see how the college and the organization can impact a bunch of kids. Most of these kids don’t ever get an opportunity like this. Even though a lot of them have great programs in their schools, funding for things like that are so low these days that these big events that take up money and a lot of time are the first ones to get cut,” said Ryave.

The kids were having lots of fun, engaging with their peers, making new friends and even befriending the student volunteers.

“Volunteering is really fun. The kids are really excited to be here because it is really gratifying,” said Liz Rossborough, a member of Spartans for Special Olympics. “We’re really happy that the community was so eager to jump in and do this.”

The community greatly enjoyed it and is eager to have this event done again next year.

“The people are really nice here, and I really want to come back. I’m going to apply here for college,” said one student from Ben Franklin School, an elementary and middle school on the south side of Cleveland.