On Monday, February 28th, eighty students from The Help Group’s Bridgeport School and over seventy students from The Buckley School participated in a Special Olympics Unified Field Day event hosted by The Buckley School.

At the top of the day, Help Group student athletes were warmly and enthusiastically greeted by Buckley School students, faculty and staff when they arrived on campus. Students cheered energetically, held welcoming signs and clapped – forming a “tunnel of love” for the Bridgeport students to enter through during the Opening Ceremony. Every student was wearing a bracelet inscribed with the theme of the day: Play Unified. Live Unified.

Throughout the event, the students from both schools played various sports together like basketball, soccer, kickball, and participated in fun-filled activities like learning a dance routine and working collaboratively on an art collage. With the goal to make the day-long event truly unified, students from each schools’ leadership council met prior to the big day to plan and coordinate so all activities would be student-driven and student-led.

“Today’s Special Olympics Unified Field Day event was truly remarkable. Help Group students and their Buckley School peers exemplified leadership, and demonstrated what they’d learned throughout the day to one another. Their exchange was so valuable,” said Pamela Clark, Director of Autism Schools at The Help Group.

This is the first time that Help Group student athletes have visited The Buckley School through the 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. The School Partnership Program operates under the principle that playing together creates greater pathways to friendship and understanding for all young people.

Our heartfelt thanks to The Buckley School’s Abi Basch, Upper School Director of Service and 6-12 Experiential Learning Coordinator and Buckley School’s administration, faculty, coaches and students for hosting such a wonderful event; to Christina Aulicino, Coordinator, Sports & Programs, Special Olympics Southern California, Los Angeles & San Gabriel Valley Regions, and to Help Group Staff, Faculty and Coaches. We are most grateful to everyone involved for creating such opportunities for students to thrive!