Special Olympics Southern California is holding its annual San Diego Regional Track Meet on Saturday, April 6, in partnership PLNU. More than 150 athletes, 50 coaches and 200 volunteers from San Diego and throughout Southern California are expected to participate in the track meet taking place at PLNU. Athletes will compete for the gold, silver and bronze medals in running, throwing and jumping events as families, friends and volunteers cheer them on at one of San Diego’s most anticipated competitions of the year.
This year’s track meet also celebrates Special Olympics’ 20-year partnership with PLNU. The university has handled the logistics for this event for the past 20 years and provides a well-respected venue for individuals with intellectual disabilities to showcase their talents, display their camaraderie and overcome barriers as they compete.
“The partnership with Point Loma Nazarene University epitomizes the spirit behind Special Olympics: community members joining together to support, empower and focus on the abilities of our population.” said Kelcie Kopf, Regional Development Manager of Special Olympics San Diego County. “It’s also a special partnership because Point Loma Nazarene University engages so many students in the event as volunteers and leaders. For 20 years they have been exposing thousands of students and faculty to the Special Olympics movement and equipping them with the knowledge and compassion to go out into the world outside of PLNU and be an ambassador for individuals with intellectual disabilities.”
Jim Johnson, Ph.D., professor in the PLNU School of Education as well as the Psychology Department, agrees: “In the 20 years PLNU has hosted this event it has truly moved from a community event to a “family gathering”. It provides one of the stellar opportunities for our students, faculty and staff to serve in an outreach to our community and more specifically to the disabled community of San Diego. We have enjoyed a deep and long-lasting relationship with our dear friends at Special Olympics Southern California-San Diego County Region.”
The track meet will begin with an opening ceremony at 9:00 a.m. on the track and the competition will start at 9:15 a.m. Award ceremonies will be held throughout the day to honor the athletes as they receive their medals. Each athlete who competes will receive an award.
Harbor Kiwanis and Chula Vista Kiwanis will also be on hand to cook and serve lunch for athletes, coaches and volunteers. Entrance to the track meet is free and the community is encouraged to attend.