Lamar teams up with Special Olympics
May 9, 2011
BEAUMONT, Texas - Lamar University's Thompson Family Tennis Center was filled with the big smiles of more than 60 Special Olympics athletes Monday; and with what seemed to be even bigger smiles from the LU coaches and athletes who were there to lend a helping hand.
The Special Olympics athletes were at Lamar for the first event in a partnership between the Special Olympics and schools from the Southland Conference.
"Lamar was the first one to jump on board, and the tennis teams were the most enthusiastic to get it started," said Renee Klovenski, a program director with Special Olympics. "We plan on doing even more with Lamar this fall."
The Special Olympics athletes were from the Orangefield, Vidor and Little Cypress-Mauriceville school districts as well as some adult athletes.
"All but four have never played tennis before today," Klovenski said. "It's great for them to come out here to a college campus and to make friends with college students."
Klovenski plans to offer what she terms "A Taste of Sports" at Lamar this autumn, showcasing some of the sports offered by Special Olympics that include: basketball, track, swimming, bocce, bowling and equestrian in addition to tennis.
"The people at Lamar have been tremendous," Klovenski said. "Rob McDermand (Lamar academic specialist) really followed up and helped make this possible. But the coaches and students have also been tremendous."
Klovenski said Special Olympics always welcomes new athletes from ages 8 and older, as well as new volunteers. Those interested in volunteering or in registering an athlete, can visit www.specialolympics.org or call 1-800-876-JOIN.