By Will Dow
Texas City High School hosted the Special Olympics
Texas – Gulf Coast Area on Saturday, November 4th.
SOTX is a non- profit organization that changes lives
through the power of sportsmanship by encouraging
and empowering people with intellectual disabilities,
promoting acceptance for all, and fostering communities
of understanding and respect. Ten teams
comprised of 101children and adults with intellectual
disabilities showed off their skills at the annual Area
22 Volleyball Competition.
Saturday’s events with the Opening Ceremony, featuring
all teams being formally welcomed and recognized
for their hard work and training in front of family,
friends, fans and the community.
Coach Shone Evans of Texas City High School has
been involved with the Special Olympics for many
years. Coach Evans explains how his father was the
director of the Special Olympics when he was little
boy, which probably accounts for why, since the age
of five, he has always wanted to contribute to special
education by becoming a teacher.
Coach Evans has seen his dream become a reality
through athletes like Thomas Crane. Thomas’ mother
Jackie Pride, sat down with us to explain their experience
with the Special Olympics and how it has impacted
Thomas’ life. “It’s given him the opportunity to open up to
a lot of people and make new friends.” Thomas’ mother
encouraged him to join the Special Olympics to get
out and exercise. Mrs. Pride went further to explain,
“He has more respect for people, and he is more
friendly; I was happy to find a program in the community
for special needs kids.”
Hurricane Harvey’s aftermath forced SOTX to cancel
or indefinitely postpone many competitions and
fundraising events. Due to the significant loss of income,
new athletes may be denied an opportunity to
participate. This would deprive a young person with
intellectual disabilities the opportunity to participate
in these organized sports which provide them with the
to socialize with others. So they have begun a challenge
they are calling #SOTXSTRONG. What a great
way to do something really important and impactful for
some kids that really deserve it!
“It’s no secret: Hurricane Harvey devastated large
areas of our beloved Texas coastline communities,
and many of us continue to feel the brunt of the
storm’s impact. But out of all of the loss and devastation,
one thing has been clear: Our athletes,
families, volunteers, coaches and law enforcement
officers are strong. They are so strong.
Thanks to Harvey, we’re about to be in big trouble. We’re
still feeling Hurricane Harvey’s devastating aftermath. Al
though our facilities along the Texas coast came through
the storm undamaged, there’s still plenty of bad news:
fundraising venues have canceled, some sponsors
have redirected funds we were relying on, and some
event participants have asked to get their money back
because they’re facing huge struggles of their own.
We face a shortfall of hundreds of thousands of dollars
between now and the end of 2017.
We’re facing a struggle to provide programs and services
for our 58,333 children and adults with intellectual
disabilities statewide. We’re taking steps to cut operational
costs as much as possible – without sacrificing the
programs and competitive events that our athletes and
families depend on to improve their quality of life. We’re
trying not to cancel competitions, something that would
devastate our athletes and their families. Here’s where
you come in: We’ve kicked off the #SOTXSTRONG challenge
to help us raise $100,000 – or more! — in 30 days.
It’s a big goal, the biggest one we’ve ever undertaken
in a campaign like this. But we’re confident that we’ll be
successful, especially if you’re on our team. Join us in
our big adventure!
Get involved by checking their website at
www.sotx.org or calling 806-749-7000.
By Will Dow