By Amanda Newellll
Executive Theme Editor
For more than 40 years, Special Olympics Southern California has been helping people with intellectual disabilities train and compete in athletic competition for various Olympic sports. The organization holds two main events every year: the Winter Games and the Summer Games.
“This organization has taught me that positivity and encouragement go extremely far,” volunteer Lauren Humphrey said. “Whether you cheer on the side or you coach a team, you can change an athlete’s life.”
On June 9 and 10, SOSC held the Summer Games at California State University at Long Beach, where more than 1,000 athletes competed. Sports included were track and field, basketball, aquatics and gymnastics.
For years, many Costa students have participated or volunteered in these competitions. Junior Jarrah Korba volunteered for her third year in the Summer Gamesthis year by helping athletes compete in gymnastics.
“It’s always an amazing experience, and every year is different,” Korba said. “It’s always a blast.”
The event started Saturday morning with an opening ceremony to welcome all the athletes, volunteers and spectators. The day then proceeded with warm-ups and competitions.
“A lot of the girls that I worked with won gold medals, which was really nice to see,” Korba said. “The feeling of seeing them win is indescribable.”
Each of the athletes receives a participation medal. The top three teams or individuals, however, are awarded a bronze, silver or gold medal. The athletes then pose for pictures at the end of the weekend’s festivities.
“Seeing the kids I worked with win felt better than when I played sports myself,” Humphrey said. “It was unreal and so rewarding. It’s not just a donation of time, but of your heart and yourself. I encourage everyone to volunteer and give back to the community.”