Translate this page
Greg Berry, 13, tilts a basketball hoop so his brother James Berry, 18, can make a dunk shot through it. The Berry family came from Menifee to participate in the games.
Greg Berry, 13, tilts a basketball hoop so his brother James Berry, 18, can make a dunk shot through it. The Berry family came from Menifee to partici...
Layla Berry, 7, had fun playing inside a ball pit at the games. Her brother Joseph Berry (kneeling) and volunteer Sienna Schmolesley (far right) assisted her in the activity.
Layla Berry, 7, had fun playing inside a ball pit at the games. Her brother Joseph Berry (kneeling) and volunteer Sienna Schmolesley (far right) assis...
Temecula Council Members Michael Naggar (left) and Chuck Washington were present at the Temecula Special Games and addressed a crowd of over 500 during opening ceremonies.
Temecula Council Members Michael Naggar (left) and Chuck Washington were present at the Temecula Special Games and addressed a crowd of over 500 durin...
Author and Independent Living Coach Amalia Starr spoke at the games’ Caregiver Summit about being a caregiver for her disabled son.
Author and Independent Living Coach Amalia Starr spoke at the games’ Caregiver Summit about being a caregiver for her disabled son.

Athletes have cool time at Temecula Special Games


Friday, May 9th, 2014
Issue 19, Volume 18.
Laura Rathbun
Special to the Valley News
You need Flash player 8+ and JavaScript enabled to view this video.


Despite hot weather, about 120 athletes had a cool time at the sixth annual Temecula Special Games held at Great Oak High School on Saturday, May 3. The games were set up on the school’s football field from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

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.

"It’s 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, Greg’s wife, prefers Temecula’s games over similar ones she’s attended in Perris.

"I like this one a lot better," she said.

She explained that at Temecula’s games parents can mingle on the field and athletes can choose activities, but at Perris’s 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 Layla’s volunteer. She believes that the games are an excellent opportunity for those with special needs to experience sports and have fun.

"It’s 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 Steve’s wife Liz Castaneda as she held her toddler nephew who has an intellectual disability.

This year’s games were enhanced by a caregiver’s 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.


 

1 comments

Comment Profile ImageA better way
Comment #1 | Saturday, May 10, 2014 at 9:33 am
Temecula is a breath of fresh air compared to other cities such as Hemet, Lake Elsinore, and San Jacinto. The reason is effective leadership and paying attention to the budget and using the check book the way it is supposed to be used.

Article Comments are contributed by our readers, and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Valley News staff. The name listed as the author for comments cannot be verified; Comment authors are not guaranteed to be who they claim they are.

 

Add your Comment


Name

Images, Formatting, or HTML is not allowed : plain text only. You may post up to 5 website addresses within your comment.




Disclaimer

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.

RSS FeedFacebookTwitter



Advertisement for Temecula Dining





Subscribe


Most Commented


Reach Local Customers



The Valley News The Valley News
760-723-7319 - 1588 S. Mission Rd. Suite 200, Fallbrook CA 92028
All contents copyright ©2014
About Us
Earthquake Information
Business Listings
Contact Us
Letter to the Editor
Report a website error
Sitemap
Online Digital Edition
RSS Feeds
Login