NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) - The Special Olympic Spring Games took place at Northampton High School on Thursday.
The games are a great opportunity for students with special needs to feel accepted as they compete in their favorite sports. Dozens of students from schools all over Hampshire County played softball, soccer, and ran track.
But it isn't just about the games themselves; Special Olympics provides sports training and competition programs year-round to individuals with intellectual disabilities throughout Massachusetts.
Northampton High Senior Renee LaFleur is the president of her school's Best Buddies program. She told 22News that the camaraderie keeps her coming back.
"It really teaches them good sportsmanship and how to be supportive of each other even if they're not winning, or even if they are winning. It teaches them that everyone is equal and it's great to cheer each other on no matter what," LaFleur said.
Special Olympian Jasmin Jimenez said that she really enjoys the competition.
"We get to hang out with our friends and family," she said. "I did softball and I did running."
If you have a child with special needs, learn how they can become a Special Olympian by visiting specialolympicsma.org