On March 23rd, nearly 100 Help Group students from Early Education programs in Culver City and Sherman Oaks participated in the 4th annual Special Olympics Young Athletes Festival hosted by Mirman School.
At the start of the event, the young athletes were greeted with wonderful enthusiasm by Mirman School students, faculty and staff as they entered the Kotzubei Family Athletics Field. Students cheered and held signs welcoming the athletes that read “You Can Do It!” and “Go Young Athletes!”
“Once again, it was inspiring to experience the warm and enthusiastic welcome Mirman students and staff extended to our young athletes. As we walked through the ‘tunnel of love’ created by the Mirman student body, the excitement and enthusiasm was electrifying,” said Dr. Susan Berman, Help Group COO and former Board Chair at Mirman School. “I am grateful to Head of School Dan Vorenberg and the Mirman community for their commitment to celebrating our young athletes and as always, to the Help Group faculty for their unwavering commitment to our students.”
The Help Group has partnered with Special Olympics of Southern California for the past four years to build a specialized sports curriculum in its autism schools. Through a School Partnership Program with Special Olympics, The Help Group continues to collaborate with local schools in an effort to unify students with and without specials needs through sports and school activities.
Teresa Borunda, Senior Manager, Sports & Programs, Special Olympics Southern California, exclaimed, “The Young Athletes Festival was remarkable. It was so awe-inspiring to witness firsthand the all-encompassing interaction of the Mirman student body with the Young Athletes from The Help Group. I am in awe of the amazing school partnership that makes this event possible. I am looking forward to seeing what’s in store for next year’s Young Athletes Festival!”
For the past three years, Mirman School has hosted The Help Group at the Young Athletes Festival – an event that celebrates Help Group students’ completion of the Special Olympics sports curriculum, and gives them an opportunity to showcase what they’ve learned in the program with the full support of Mirman School students.
“Mirman School’s 4th and 5th grade students had the opportunity to take a leadership role in the Special Olympics this year. The students absolutely loved it. They truly appreciated being able to engage with the young athletes from welcoming, cheering through activities, and making connections during lunch. The Mirman students were eager to present The Help Group young athletes with origami shapes which they made to express our gratitude for this experience. We look forward to welcoming our young athletes back again,” remarked Dr. Dena Scott, School Psychologist, Mirman School.
The Help Group extends its heartfelt thanks to Mirman School’s Dan Vorenberg, Head of Schools, Dr. Dena Scott, and Brittani Fowlin for hosting such a terrific event; to Mirman School Staff and Coaches; to Teresa Borunda, Senior Manager, Sports & Programs, Special Olympics Southern California, Los Angeles & San Gabriel Valley Regions; Christina Aulicino, Coordinator, Sports & Programs, Special Olympics Southern California, Los Angeles & San Gabriel Valley Regions, and to Help Group Coaches Jason Petro, Angel Pereyra, and Ryan Willett.