Athletes have cool time at Temecula Special Games
Friday, May 9th, 2014
Issue 19, Volume 18.
Temecula Council Members Michael Naggar and Chuck Washington were present and addressed a crowd of over 500 during opening ceremonies. Washington thanked city staff and the Temecula Valley Unified School District for organizing the games and spoke of its importance to the special needs community.
"Itís the athletes that make the games special," Washington commented.
After opening ceremonies, each athlete was paired with a volunteer to help them engage in sports-related activities of their choice. There were more than 20 non-competitive activities offered such as horseshoes, mini golf, running, bowling and martial arts.
"This is a great way to spend the day," said Greg Berry of Menifee. His children Layla, 7, and James, 18, were participants. They have cerebral palsy and were aided by volunteers and their brothers Joseph, 16, and Gregory, 13. This is the second year that the Berry family has attended the games.
Elizabeth Berry, Gregís wife, prefers Temeculaís games over similar ones sheís attended in Perris.
"I like this one a lot better," she said.
She explained that at Temeculaís games parents can mingle on the field and athletes can choose activities, but at Perrisís games parents have to stay in the football stands while athletes do activities that are selected for them.
Sienna Schmolesley, 17, a Vista Murrieta High School student, was Laylaís volunteer. She believes that the games are an excellent opportunity for those with special needs to experience sports and have fun.
"Itís really neat," she said.
Menifee resident Peter Lozano-Sanchez, 2, was one of the youngest athletes. His uncle Steve Castaneda of Temecula wore a t-shirt that said "Team Peter" and eight other family members were also there to cheer him on.
"The volunteers here are great," said Castaneda.
"I love all the volunteers," added Steveís wife Liz Castaneda as she held her toddler nephew who has an intellectual disability.
This yearís games were enhanced by a caregiverís summit that took place next to the football field under a large tent. It featured light refreshments, lunch, speakers, live music and raffle prizes.
"We wanted to include the caregivers," said City Senior Recreation Leader Paula Worthington.
Naggar, who has a young son on the autism spectrum, lauded caregivers at the start of the summit.
"I know what it takes," he said. "I just want to say thank you."
Author and Independent Living Coach Amalia Starr spoke next about her struggles and triumphs as a caregiver for her disabled son.
"You matter more than you know," she said.
Athletes were treated to pizza and fruit for lunch. They also received a medal and lots of applause at the end of the games to remember their experience.
The Valley News has tightened its' policy regarding comments.
While we invite you to contribute your opinions and thoughts, we request that you refrain from using vulgar or obscene words and post only comments that directly pertain to the specific topic of the story or article.
Comments that are derogatory in nature have a high likelihood for editing or non-approval if they carry the possibility of being libelous.
The comment system is not intended as a forum for individuals or groups to air personal grievances against other individuals or groups.
Please, no advertising or trolling.
In posting a comment for consideration, users understand that their posts may be edited as necessary to meet system parameters, or the post may not be approved at all. By submitting a comment, you agree to all the rules and guidelines described here.
Most comments are approved or disregarded within one business day.
The Village NewsAnza Valley OutlookFallbrook.orgSourcebookPDF VersionCoupon CornerSign up for iNewsEarthquake Info
357 Medical marijuan...
265 Arrests now numb...
175 Authorities seek...
168 Man hit, killed ...
125 Mother-in-law ar...
122 Camp Pendleton a...
121 Bikers steering ...
121 Authorities dist...
118 22 suspected ill...
117 Double fatality ...
114 Murrieta Mayor A...
114 Temecula mosque ...
110 Governor Brown s...
107 Bonsall man (lon...
105 Preliminary hear...