Dublin Villager

Special Olympics

Dublin program growing with community support

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The Dublin Special Olympics program has been growing and thanks to community contributions, it can be supported.

The one-year-old program recently received a grant from the Country Club at Muirfield Village Foundation and collected more than $6,000 at an Oct. 26 cash drop.

The money, Dublin Special Olympics Organizer Krista Keir said, will help support growing programs.

The swimming program that recently started up for a second season went from 13 to 32 participants.

"With each sport season we've had growth," Keir said.

"More parents are seeing we're sticking around.

"Last year was the first year. People wanted to see if it was going to last.

"We've proven we have support from the community and word is getting out more," Keir said.

"People feel confident in the name."

The grant from the Country Club at Muirfield Village Foundation is not the first to go to Dublin Special Olympics. It will help cover pool usage for swimmers.

"This year we have 32 swimmers," Keir said.

"We had to find new swimsuits for a competition coming up," she said.

The money collected at the Oct. 26 cash drop -- $1,000 more than the $5,000 goal -- will help fund other growing programs.

"We're adding new sports each season," Keir said.

"In the spring we're adding gymnastics and unified golf this summer."

The new group has garnered community support both financially and organizationally.

Leadership Dublin helped Dublin Special Olympics nail down committees, job responsibilities and other organizational details.

Although the class graduated in May, Keir said a new Leadership Dublin class is helping Dublin Special Olympics out, especially when it comes to a large competition coming to Dublin Coffman High School in summer 2014.

"(Special Olympics) needed another event to be held in central Ohio to lead up to the state competition in July," she said.

Dublin Special Olympics will host a regional track and field competition.

"For (some sports) it's too late to qualify, but good practice," Keir said.

"We'll have power lifting, tennis and bocce ball. They're all qualifiers."

Along with Leadership Dublin, community volunteers help keep Dublin Special Olympics going by coaching and helping out players.

As the list of participants lengthens, Keir said the need for volunteers grows as well.

"We're always looking for more volunteers and more opportunities to engage the community," she said.

Dublin Special Olympics offers basketball, bowling, swimming and other sports along with opportunities for the athletes to grow.

"They always compete even if it is in individual skills," Keir said.

"There are still competitions, either in the area or state competitions," Keir said.

"We do have some athletes not ready to compete, but we do try to challenge them and parents because it's a good experience."

Anyone interested in volunteering for Dublin Special Olympics can contact Keir at keir_krista@dublinschools.net.

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