On a busy Wednesday in which the Special Olympics flag was raised at the Civic Centre, Sault Police Service Constable Shaun Beaulieu, 2019 Special Olympics Ontario Provincial Winter Games chair, accepted a cheque for $500 from River View Public School student representatives to go toward the Games Adopt an Athlete program.
‘Adopting’ an athlete, Beaulieu explained to SooToday, involves paying for one athlete’s accommodation and meals while staying in the Sault for the games, which run from Jan. 31 to Feb. 3.
Beaulieu said “the average cost to house one of the athletes is approximately $500. We’ll have 220 athletes at The Water Tower Inn, 112 at The Holiday Inn and 102 at the Quality Inn.”
“I would say we’re approaching the $500,000 mark (in terms of overall fundraising for the games, the goal being $600,000), things are doing very well. We have all our sponsors in place for the Games, but we still are looking for people to adopt athletes,” Beaulieu said.
It is not yet known which athlete in particular will benefit from River View’s $500 gift, but Beaulieu said “we will find an athlete and send him this way.”
“We had two raffle draws for Greyhounds tickets, and we also had crazy hat day, jersey day and pyjama day (beginning in November, to raise $500),” said River View Grade 7 student Kurtis Bondar.
“It feels great (to help),” said Bondar, adding he’ll enjoy watching the Games.
“It feels pretty good knowing you’re helping an athlete,” said River View Grade 8 student Thomas Copps, who told us his cousin participated in the last Winter Games.
Beaulieu estimated between 15 to 20 schools, from both the Algoma District School Board (ADSB) and the Huron-Superior Catholic District School Board (H-SCDSB), have helped out with Adopt an Athlete fundraising.
“Both school boards were advised about the Adopt an Athlete program coming up, and how it could be a learning opportunity to teach the kids about people who live in our community about intellectual disabilities, and if they had any ideas on how to come up with the money to adopt an athlete. The goal, in general, is to have as many of our athletes as possible adopted.”