On Jan. 14, nearly 500 athletes from Special Olympics participated in the County Basketball Tournament held at the Don Taft University Center. Seven teams from Broward County qualified for the state competition but all the athletes were proud of their accomplishments.
Although the event was all about the Special Olympics athletes, NSU athletics played a key role with the volunteer efforts.
Linda Mills, director of Special Olympics Broward County, said, “The volunteers from NSU athletics were fantastic. They helped with scorekeeping and awards and being buddies with our athletes. We could not have had such a great event without their support.”
Lauren Boudreau, junior rower, was one of the volunteers. Boudreau assisted with distributing awards to the athletes and cheering them on. She emphasized how rewarding of an experience it was.
“We got to help a lot with their awards, so when they got their pins, everybody was just ecstatic to get them on. It was so good to see how happy they were,” said Boudreau.
Boudreau highly recommends volunteering with Special Olympics to others, and she plans to be involved again in the future. She said her favorite part of the experience was spending time with the Special Olympics athletes.
“They were so interested in us as athletes, and it was really interesting to learn about them as athletes too,” said Boudreau.
Mills was glad to see the interaction between Special Olympics athletes and NSU athletes. She said this type of event was what Don Taft, namesake of the University Center and former local philanthropist who was very involved in Special Olympics, envisioned.
“It gave me great pleasure to be in Don Taft’s house for such a great Special Olympics event. The kind of event we had, athletes from Special Olympics spending the day with athletes from NSU, that was Don’s vision,” she said.