Beatrice Special Olympics held a carnival and recruitment event on Saturday evening at the YMCA.
The event was held with the help of a Thrivent grant and volunteers like Chelsea Meints, according to Toni Reiman, coordinator of Beatrice Special Olympics.
“Kim Seggerman, the Special Olympics swim coach and YMCA staff, was able to reserve the facility for the event, which was a huge help," Reiman said.
Special Olympics is meant for people with intellectual disabilities or Individualized Education Plans, according to Reiman.
Competitors can begin participating at 8 years old until they are no longer able, said Reiman. Unified Partners allows coaches to participate with the athletes, as well.
“We are year round with activities," Reiman said. "The athletes practice one or two times a week for most sports and then the competitions. They are busy people. Our coaches and other volunteers give a lot of hours too.”
Beatrice High School's honor society and the middle school's Hope Squad helped participants with games, food and face painting. Other volunteers were also present from United Way, Region V Services and Mosaic. Coaches and supportive friends and family of athletes also got in on the fun.
Seggerman works as a swim coach and proudly told stories of how the athletes change and grow during the time that she spends with them.
“It’s important to me because it’s a blessing to us, really," Seggerman said. "We get to help make such an impact in their lives and give them the ability to compete in areas they might not be able to otherwise. They are growing relationships in the community with young and old volunteers. There are areas that I would like to grow and expand if we had coaches so we could reach more people."