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Dec 5, 2019

Healthy Living: Special Olympics National Games

“Let me win! And if I cannot win, let me brave in my attempt.” That is the motto of Special Olympics Belize. This Friday is a big day for the organization and we share all the details in tonight’s Healthy Living.


Marleni Cuellar, Reporting

On Friday the Marion Jones Stadium will come alive. It will be the hub for hundreds of special athletes from across the country to showcase their talents in a wide array of sports. So what makes these atheists special? Well, they are children with diverse abilities who will compete in the National Games of the Special Olympics.


Kandice Morrison

Kandice Morrison, National Director, Special Olympics Belize

“These children are as good as any other children, you know. They’re gifted and talented, and they have a purpose just like any other individual that are playing sports.”


Kandice Morrison is the National Director of the Special Olympics of Belize programme.


Kandice Morrison

“One of our main things is making sure our athletes are healthy.  It’s a year-round programme that we try to get persons with intellectual disabilities involved and cater to holistic development, not just the physical but physical social and mental areas of their wellbeing.  Even when a child is born, if the child doesn’t have physical activity, it doesn’t stimulate e your brain. Remember, we all have receptors in our body that stimulate your brain, so it increases your cognitive development. Persons with disabilities still suffer a lot of injustice, although we are advancing in times, some of them don’t have the proper health treatment or care they would need. So through sports, we can actually have a fun way for them to have physical activity, and also they get to socialize with other.”


The National Games is a gathering of close to 300 exceptional athletes from across the country. All gathered in one location for a full day of competitive games, the event is the most massive yearly undertaking of the organization. Surprisingly, Kandice is the only employee who works with the Ministry of Education. All the logistical support for the event and all other year-round programmes are facilitated by a network of over a hundred volunteers. Criselda Lawrence is one of those volunteers. She started volunteering seven years ago when she was in high school.


Criselda Lawrence

Criselda Lawrence, Volunteer, Special Olympics Belize

“Every year you see the kids you see the joy on their faces you see that they feel appreciated to an actually get some you know kind people around some people that won’t judge them and you know stuff like that. It’s actually so nice to see them like that.”


One of the continuous challenges of working with Special Olympics is witnessing the discrimination that still exists.


Kandice Morrison

“We did a post, and I notice someone said imagine people are laughing at the post. They did the laughing emoji. The person answered well look at how they look.  I wanted to ban the persons from the page, but I said I want that person to intone seeing the development and the progress of when we post our same children. But I mean for someone to post that publicly on our page.”


Criselda Lawrence

“They’re human just like us. They just have certain disabilities that make them different, and they’re still people, and they’re still fun to be around.”


But Morrison takes the time to acknowledge the support that they do get from the community. One of the major fundraisers for the event is the Law enforcement Torch Run, you may have seen them running through your neighbourhood this week. This fundraiser garners about half of the funds need to pull off the national games.


Kandice Morrison

“The truth is that the organization would not be able to make it without our Belizean community. Because what we receive isn’t enough to go without the input and investment that we make into ourselves because remember these are our children.”


Where they’d like to see more support is at the games.


Kandice Morrison

“I’d really like the community to come out and see them. You know so that they can see. It would end some of the discrimination and stigmas that are there if they can see them competing. I think they would be surprised at how talented they really are. We need fans to support. Imagine these kids prepare, and they’re working so hard, and I know gratifying just for them, but imagine if the community really ate out and show their support for them. Cheer them on scream for them, congratulate them. I mean, how, but would that be.”


Criselda Lawrence

“They should show their support by coming out and being a fan and actually cheer on. Like any normal person, motivation is so amazing. It can do a lot for a person o coming out, motivating the athletes to bed better to do good. It’s actually rewarding, and it’s nice to do.”


The national games will be held in Belize City at the Marion Jones stadium this Friday starting at nine a.m. and ends at four.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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