Special Olympics Broward County seeks NSU student volunteers

During the spring, Special Olympics Broward County will be reaching out to NSU student organizations about volunteering for Sallarulo’s Race for Champions. The race was founded by Paul, Samantha and Patrick Sallarulo as a fundraiser for Special Olympics in 2006, and has become an annual event.

Although the event will not take place until Nov. 10, SOBC will be recruiting NSU students and members of the community during the spring to form teams with their athletes.

Valerie Vitale, race manager for the event, said she hopes to have more than 2,000 participants this year. Vitale said the greatest part of this event is the community has the opportunity to interact with the athletes.

“We have a really special relationship with NSU, which is why the race will be here and always be here,” said Vitale. “We really want to build a relationship with the students and our athletes this year to give them an opportunity to get to know each other.”

Special Olympics athlete, Kerri Lynn Leonardo, competes in basketball, volleyball, swimming, skiing, surfing and bowling. She said Special Olympics is important to her because it gives her a chance to play sports and has helped her make new friends. She said having more people at the event would help Special Olympics.

“It helps Special Olympics if you come out and support it, and you’ll get to meet all the athletes and it will change your life a little bit,” said Leonardo.

Vitale said she hopes the event will raise more than half a million dollars and she wants the race to be an event the community looks forward to every year. This year’s race will also have the inaugural Carnival of Champions. The carnival will feature games and free food.

“The inaugural Carnival of Champions is really exciting,” said Vitale. “It’s a time after the race when both people with and without disabilities can hang out and celebrate.”

Sallarulo’s Race for Champions is a 5K race and it costs $25 to participate. However, it is $10 for NSU students. Vitale said she would love to see more NSU students involved this year.

“We would definitely love any students or student groups to reach out to Special Olympics or to me specifically about forming teams,” said Vitale. “We’re looking for teams to come out and support. If you’re interested in helping us organize the race or participate in the race, we’d love to hear from you.”

For more information, email Vitale at valerievitaleinc@gmail.com.

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