NATCHITOCHES – The President’s Leadership Program at Northwestern State University will host the Red River Area Special Olympics Tuesday, April 18 at the Walter Ledet Track Complex on the NSU campus. Special Olympics is a global movement that unleashes the human spirit through the transformative power and joy of sports, every day around the world. Special Olympics is the leading voice in raising awareness about the abilities of people with intellectual disabilities.
Volunteers are welcome to join the cheering section. The Opening Ceremony will take place at 9:30 a.m. with more than 80 athletes participating in the Torch Run with officers from the Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Department.
“Building communities, Special Olympics works to spread compassion and acceptance in a way that can unite the world,” said Reatha Cox, PLP advisor. “The goal is to awaken everyone – and every community – to each person’s common humanity. This vision of inclusion starts at the local level.”
There are 200 million people with intellectual disabilities around the world. Special Olympics wants to reach out to every one of them – and their families and communities as well, Cox said. The President’s Leadership Program seeks to create opportunities for families, community members, local leaders, businesses, law enforcement and NSU students, faculty and staff to team together to change attitudes and support athletes. The Special Olympics, and the Red River Area Special Olympics, knows no boundaries. Without regard to gender, race, religion, economic or education level, Special Olympics has the ability to unite all walks of life.
Since its inception in 1975, a select group of first-year students at NSU have participated in the President’s Leadership Program. The program is designed to promote active involvement in the community and provide leadership opportunities for students to build leadership skills together. Students take a common leadership class and engage in a series of intentional leadership development experiences, which prepares them for leadership roles on campus and within the communities. Throughout the spring semester, students plan and implement a variety of Community Impact Projects for the Northwestern State and Natchitoches community.
Mallory McConathy of Stonewall serves as the Peer Mentor for the group and is responsible for bringing the Special Olympics back to the NSU campus last spring.