It’s a sad reality in our country that there are kids and teenagers who can’t do things that other people their age can do.

Whether they have physical or mental disabilities or an array of other health-related conditions, they just can’t do things such as play sports or participate in other activities that kids their age are doing.

These are special kids and teenagers who deserve to be treated the same as the others and they deserve to play the same sports as the other kids play.

This is why we believe the Special Olympics are so important and we are so proud that our community offers them. Since the 1980s, the city of Bowling Green’s Parks and Recreation Department has housed one of Kentucky’s largest Special Olympics programs for both youths and adults with intellectual disabilities.

Throughout the year, the department offers activities in bowling, basketball, cheerleading, flag football, golf, track and field, softball and swimming. And this spring, the city plans to introduce local athletes to soccer and bocce – which will further increase its need for volunteers.

It’s absolutely wonderful that throughout the year, kids and teenagers get to play these sports, thanks to the hard work of the Bowling Green Parks and Recreation Department.

While it’s the role of the parks and recreation department to put on these events, it’s a lot of work and they are in need of volunteers to help, especially during the winter months.

For this year’s winter basketball season, practices will be Sundays from 2 to 4 p.m. and Tuesdays from 5 to 7 p.m. through early March. Currently, there are positions for coaches and assistant coaches – which require a commitment of at least one hour a week – as well as for people willing to assist participants with basic skills.

For the winter cheerleading program, participants learn basic cheers and dance routines and perform at local sporting events. The program requires an additional volunteer coach, who can help decide the best day and time for weekly practices.

Just these two examples are reasons to volunteer because even if it’s just for one hour a day or a week, volunteering with these kids and teenagers could make a really big difference in their lives.

The department really does need volunteers to help those participating in these programs. We are very hopeful that people will step forward and volunteer. It would be much appreciated by the department and by those who participate in these programs and their families as well.

– For more information, contact Holly Vincent at 270-393-3480 or holly.vincent@bgky.org.

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