MOUNT VERNON - Cornell College hosted the Fifth Annual Special Olympics Iowa (SOIA) Unified Sports Day March 17 in the Small Multi-Sport Center.
Cornell had 120 student volunteers partner with 150 SOIA athletes on sports teams for a day of unified activities. The group of volunteers included 49 student-athletes and four sports medicine assistants from Cornell.
They engaged in 17 various activities ranging from bocce ball and bowling to floor hockey and arts and crafts. Lunch and t-shirts were provided to all participants.
The day's highlight came during an SOIA-Cornell basketball game. The SOIA team dominated on the court and claimed a 54-4 victory. All SOIA athletes were individually recognized by their Cornell teammates for their outstanding athletic abilities during the closing ceremonies.
"This was not a day of competition, but instead a day of awareness," SOIA Director of Athlete Initiatives Kathy Irving said. "Cornell College students spent time with Special Olympics Iowa athletes and learned about persons with intellectual disabilities. The Special Olympics Iowa athletes in turn got to spend time with college students and learned about them."
SOIA, a statewide nonprofit organization, has provided sports training and competitions for children and adults with intellectual disabilities since 1968. Nearly 11,000 athletes and Unified Sports Partners participate in SOIA events and competitions annually.