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All children welcome at Special Olympics program Saturday

As part of its 15th anniversary, Partners in Learning will host the Special Olympics Rowan Young Athletes Program at Catawba College on Saturday. All children ages 2-8 are welcome. The program aims to introduce young athletes with intellectual disabilities to the Special Olympics model, as well as to include typical children as role models.
Registration is free. All activities will be held on the Shuford Stadium football field at Catawba College from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
Children will enjoy non-competitive athletic activities and games designed to produce interaction between children with special needs and their typically developing peers. One Step at a Time Therapy Services of Rowan County will provide play stations for the athletes. All stations and games will be developmentally and age appropriate. Examples of the games are bean bag toss, basketball hoops, relay races and a “seek and find” game.
One Step staff will assist with the games, modifying the set-up or activity so all children can participate.
The purpose of the Young Athletes Program is to allow all parents to get their children involved in exercise, community, athletics and participating with other children at an early age. The further hope is that children with special needs will become as self-sufficient as possible.
“The Young Athletes Program will help create a culture of acceptance among young children, especially those who are not regularly around their peers with disabilities,” said Jill Waggoner, the parent of a special-needs child. “Our hope is that this program will teach all children to value each other for the unique individuals that they are.”
The anniversary celebration also includes a 9 a.m.-5 p.m. yard sale with more than 20 booths. People can donate items or rent a booth. A Fall Fest from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. will include a hay ride, a bounce house, miniature golf, hot dogs and games. Cost for each is 50 cents to offset costs and raise money for the center. Costumes are encouraged.
At 5:30 p.m., there will be a family fun and prediction run. Participants will predict how long it will take them to run a mile, with the top three receiving awards.
Registration and more information are available by calling Partners in Learning at 704-638-9020 and at epartnersinlearning.org

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