Dublin creating its own Special Olympics program
Dublin's Special Olympics team is starting from scratch.
The new nonprofit organization is seeking athletes, coaches, volunteers and funding for the endeavor that will offer a sport for each season for anyone in Dublin over age 8 with an intellectual disability.
Dublin residents have been able to participate in the Special Olympics through a northwest team for the past 25 years, but Krista Keir, an adaptive physical education instructor for Dublin City Schools, decided it was time for something more local.
"We feel at this time there is a need for Dublin to offer their own program," Keir said.
"We're not trying to draw from the northwest team. We're trying to get individuals that didn't feel like driving to Hilliard for practice. We're getting it Dublin based."
Keir spent last year working with the northwest team as a peer collaborator to get a look at how the team operates.
"Last year I was coordinator for Dublin for the northwest program with (program coordinator) Andrea Fogt," Keir said.
"I worked closely with her and she showed me the ropes," Keir said. "I helped with swimming and volleyball and helped coordinate. From the beginning (a Dublin team) was something we talked about."
Keir is in touch with some potential Special Olympic athletes through work and said she's met people who don't participate in the northwest team, but would join something more local.
"We know a number of individuals we provide services for that could be in the Special Olympics," she said.
"I've asked them, 'If there was a more Dublin-based program, would you be willing to participate?' They said, 'Absolutely.' "
The new team will begin with swimming for 12 weeks on Sept. 30.
Basketball skills will be offered from November to March and bowling will run from February to June.
A track program is slated for March through June and softball skills will round out the offerings from July through September.
"We offer year-round opportunities to be involved in physical activity," Keir said.
"It's easy for some individuals to be sedimentary, but with Special Olympics we really push for physical activity."
The new program is looking for more than athletes.
"We're starting at ground zero. We're starting from the absolute bare essentials and need coaches. Metro Fitness, where we will be doing swimming, will provide a water-safety instructor, but we also need coaches," Keir said.
Peer collaboration programs at Dublin high and middle school could be tapped for student volunteers, Keir said. Volunteers to help organize the group are also needed.
"We're a local agency so we have to have a committee that would help with fundraising ideas," she said. "We need a president and have organizational positions to get this program going and successful."
Starting from scratch also means starting a bank account to help fund the group.
The team's first fundraiser will be a cash drop from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sept. 22 at the intersection of state Route 161 and Frantz Road and the intersection of Avery Road and Perimeter Drive.
The team is also looking for corporate, business and family sponsors to help fund items such as uniforms, facility rental and entry fees for competitions.
"We are in charge of raising all our own money so we need all the help we can get to get this up and running so we can offer a quality program for our athletes in Dublin," Keir said.
An information meeting for families with potential athletes is slated for 3 p.m. Sept. 16 in the commons area at Coffman High School, 6780 Coffman Road.
The swimming program will begin Sept. 30 and meet for practice Sunday afternoons at Metro Fitness Athletic Club, 655 Metro Place North.
Anyone interested in volunteering for the Dublin Special Olympics team can contact Keir at email@example.com or 614-760-6006.
Keir can also be contacted for an application packet for athletes.