Bob’s Discount Furniture is proud to continue our partnership with Special Olympics as one of our Café Collections for a Cause partners. Bob’s will match all of the donations collected in our cafés from January 1 – March 31 (up to $75,000) and present a BIG check to Special Olympics.
A warm thank you to everyone who has contributed to our Café Collections for a Cause program. Since 2014, Bob’s has donated $417,000 to Special Olympics!
Your donations help support all aspects of Special Olympics from equipment to uniforms, cost of transportation, etc. Special Olympics does not charge athletes to participate, so every dollar raised at Bob’s goes back to support the athletes.
An Emphasis on Virtual Programming
Special Olympics does a tremendous job organizing and hosting a variety of in-person events for participants all across the world. The ongoing pandemic forced them to re-evaluate their programming and think of creative solutions to keep their athletes engaged.
Mary Beth McMahon, president and CEO of Special Olympics Massachusetts, said they have had to reinvent their activities by utilizing virtual programming due to the pandemic. Examples of virtual programming include storytime for young athletes, chats, games, trivia and their monthly dances.
“More importantly, we challenged the athletes to really stay fit at home and through that did a lot of incentives and then asked them to send videos,” said McMahon.
Instead of the traditional, in-person summer games, many states from across the country gathered video clips of the athletes and created a virtual summer games.
“What was great about that, was there were athletes that might not have been to the games in the past that got to participate in the virtual summer games,” McMahon said.
As states started to allow outdoor activities again, Special Olympics worked within the safety guidelines and started hosting outdoor events again. Keeping social distancing and safety as a priority, McMahon said the outdoor programming over the summer for most states included golf and bocce.
All Alone Together
Every once in a while there are small moments that happen during the day that turns out to have a big meaning. McMahon experienced one of those moments recently when she was sitting in her office and could hear her children talking with their peers about missing their friends, sports and the overall interaction with other kids.
Then it dawned on her.
“My kids are feeling pretty much what our athletes felt,” recalled McMahon. “Even more, I realized my family was feeling it, my friends were feeling it, the staff was feeling it, the volunteers were feeling it.”
It was one of those ah-ha moments that all of us have every once in a while.
This moment reinforced the notion that Special Olympics isn’t just important to the athletes, but to everyone involved, and stressed the importance of keeping people engaged and out of isolation.
“For me, it really motivated us to not just get back to normal, but actually get back to better and make sure we can get a lot more athletes involved, a lot more volunteers and a lot more families so that we can all feel included again in any way, shape or form,” said McMahon.