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EDITORIAL: Support Special Olympics at 2019 State Summer Games this May

Monroe resident, Jimmy Davis, 51, dances to the song "YMCA" during the Special Olympics Michigan Summer Games on Friday at Kelly/Shorts Stadium.

As the semester winds down, most students are cramming for final exams and making plans for the summer. 

We at Central Michigan Life, however, are preparing to transition into of this semester with a summer Editor-In-Chief Sara Kellner, who will lead the coverage of Mount Pleasant’s biggest summer story — Special Olympics Michigan’s 2019 State Summer Games. 

We encourage those of you who will be in Mount Pleasant over the summer to show your support for Special Olympics Michigan, a sports organization for children and adults with intellectual disabilities and physical disabilities, by attending or volunteering at the summer games. 

Many of these athletes train for the summer games all year and really look forward to them, and that's obvious when you watch them compete. It doesn't matter whether they win a medal or not- they truly enjoy just being at Central Michigan University and competing in the games.

From May 30 to June 1, more than 2,800 athletes and 3,500 coaches, volunteers and spectators will gather at CMU for the state summer games. The parade and opening ceremony will take place at 6:15 p.m. at Kelly/Shorts Stadium May 30. 

If you've never had the chance to see the Special Olympics parade and opening ceremony before, you really should. Seeing thousands of excited athletes pour into Kelly/Shorts Stadium and watching them cheer and dance with the CMU football team and cheerleaders is a really heartwarming experience. 

The state summer games recently added unified sports, a combination of athletes that may or may not have an intellectual disability, two years ago. This was intended to highlight teamwork and acceptance between teammates.

“Every sporting event is better and more intense with people in the stands,” SOMI Communications Director Aaron Mills said. “You can just see the impact our athletes have on the volunteers and spectators.”

Newly-hired President and CEO of SOMI, Timothy Hileman, will be leading the State Summer Games for the first time. 

“You never understand what a Special Olympics event means until you go to one,” he said.

By attending and donating at the State Summer Games, you can show your support Special Olympics. If you feel compelled to do more, SOMI is still accepting volunteers for the state summer games. Those interested can sign up for a position prior to the games online or show up the day-of and offer help wherever it’s needed. 

The games have no admission fee, but donations are greatly appreciated.

Contact SOMI through its website or contact Mills at (989) 774-4393.