QUINCY, Mass. - On January 12, the Eastern Nazarene College (ENC) Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) hosted a series of basketball games for individuals involved within the Special Olympics Unified Sports program.
Teams from Curley Middle School in Roxbury, Joseph Lee School in South Boston, and Orchard Gardens Pilot School in Boston battled on the hardwood.
"Overall, the event was a success. It provided athletes a space to compete with each other and spread the Special Olympics message of inclusion, while also providing the opportunity for our athletes to serve the community and come together as a group," said SAAC advisor and Director of Athletics Toni Kabilian.
The Special Olympics Unified Sports program, founded in Massachusetts, brings together athletes with and without intellectual disabilities to train and compete on the same team. The program allows participants to improve their physical fitness, sharpen their skills, and learn acceptance and inclusion.
SAAC president Viviana Coix (Warrenville, Ill.) and SAAC vice president Josue Basilis (Bronx, N.Y.) each played a crucial role in coordinating the event through the help of ENC baseball student-athlete Anthony Castrogiovanni (Bohemia, N.Y.), who currently volunteers for the Special Olympics program at the Joseph Lee School in South Boston.
"I thought the event went really well and the athletes playing had a really fun time. It was especially amazing to see our sports teams and our community be there, be loud, and cheer them on," commented Coix, a senior on the Lions' softball team.
"When you serve others, you don't worry about yourself and you put others first no matter who they are, what their needs are, or where they come from," said Basilis, a senior on the ENC baseball team. "This event allowed the sports teams to do exactly that."
One of the four core values of the mission of the ENC Athletic Department is Service. Through the leadership of SAAC, the ENC Athletic Department was able to bring the community together in order to do what they are called to do, to serve others.