This week we were honored to help out the Manatee County Special Olympics organization through donating $1,500. A program that provides people with disabilities the chance to participate in sports and creates an environment for socialization and friendship, the Special Olympics holds a very special place in the hearts of our community and team.
The program currently serves 221 athletes throughout Manatee County and offers 13 different sports. Specifically, our donation will be used to purchase new uniforms for the bowling program.
“The Manatee program is operated entirely by volunteers who are dedicated to providing training and competition for our athletes at no cost to them or their parents,” said Sue Fitzgerald, director of the program.
An area bowling competition was held on September 26 at AMF Lanes in Bradenton with 548 athletes competing in the event. Special Olympics Florida Area Nine includes Manatee, Sarasota, DeSoto, Lee and Collier counties.
“As a Neal employee, and having known Pat for eight years personally, it warms my heart that his generosity can extend to an organization near and dear to me,” said Audrey Shell, Neal Communities warranty coordinator and a Special Olympics volunteer.
Audrey is certified as a coach in several sports and is a chaperone at Special Olympics competitions at the area and state levels. She also bowls on a unified team with Special Olympics athletes.
The State Games on November 15 and 16 at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando will include bowling, softball, powerlifting and gymnastics.
The Special Olympics provides year-round sports training and competition to children and adults 8 years of age and older with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Over 120 people from the community give their time to volunteer each year. To learn more about the Special Olympics Florida – Manatee County program, please visit SpecialOlympicsManatee.org.