Students volunteer at Special Olympics

Posted on May 5, 2017

Corsi's class-holding flag

Danica Newton, left, and her buddy held the flag at the opening ceremony.

Assistant Professor of Physical Education Dan Corsi took his Adapted Physical Education class to the Furman University campus April 21 to volunteer with the 2017 Greenville County Special Olympics Spring Games.

Corsi said his 24 students worked with two programs for people with disabilities: the YMCA’s R.E.C.E.S.S. (Recreation, Exercise, Community, Education, Social Service) program, focused on nutrition, fitness, social responsibility and community outreach and independent living; and THRIVE, according to its website “the largest and oldest provider of services to people with disabilities in Greenville County, aged birth through end of life.”

Students were partnered with “buddies,” athletes participating in Special Olympics. Several members of Corsi’s class spoke about the value of their experience.

Terry Hall, a junior from Anderson, S.C., said the most rewarding aspect of volunteering with Special Olympics was “seeing my buddy’s face when she received her medal.” Hall, who is majoring in physical education, added, “It looked like she won the World Series.” He is now considering certification in special education.

“I had a great time working with my athlete,” said freshman Zac Orr of Homer, Ga. “He was wheelchair bound but he did not let that stop him.” Orr, a business administration major, said working at the Special Olympics games “showed me that we take a lot for granted.”

For Rickese Brooks, a freshman psychology major from McDonough, Ga., “the joy I felt hugging my athlete after the race was amazing.” She said she looks forward to “volunteering more.”

Senior Jacqueline Hill was also inspired. “The most memorable moment was watching my buddy compete in his 100-yard dash,” she said. “He was so happy when he passed the finish line, even though he came in last place.” A business administration major from North Augusta, S.C., she said she hopes to be part of many more events like Special Olympics. “It was a great experience and I hope to work with students that have disabilities in the future.”

Senior Danica Newton and her buddy shared a special role at the games. “The best part about this Special Olympics for me was that my buddy and I got to be a part of the opening ceremony and hold the Special Olympics flag together,” she said. “She laughed and smiled so big throughout the simple process of just holding a flag, because for her it was an opportunity to stand out and feel special.”

A special education major from Mount Pleasant, S.C., Newton said the volunteer experience “just reminded me of how much I am going to love my job.”

Corsi's class group edit 2