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The media has aired quite a few inspiring stories on children with special needs and their participation in Special Olympics. Their stories are about determination, perseverance and achievement despite physical challenges and limitations. But while these stories make the news sporadically, the work that is invested with and by those special athletes is something that happens year round. It is not always easy and it takes a dedicated team of professionals to help these children reach their dreams. Still, dedication is only part of the work. Trainers need continuous development themselves and this is exactly what Special Olympics Belize is doing through collaboration with representatives of Special Olympics Arizona. The team is in Belize this week to continue the work that began at the start of 2013. Krista Sanchez is the Development Coordinator of Special Olympics Arizona.

Screen_Shot_2014-09-25_at_8.22.11_PMKrista Sanchez – Development Coordinator, Special Olympics Arizona

“We committed to a three year partnership agreement with them to assist them in developing both organizational development as well as programmatic development so we are doing a lot on giving them resources in training athletes, training coaches, training volunteers and crate more systems to grow more opportunities for individuals with disabilities in Belize.”

The collaboration is something that has served Special Olympics Belize according to Elodia Bautista, the National Director.

Elodia Bautista – National Director, Special Olympics Belize

“It has been good because one of the things that we want to have is the unified sports whereby we have athletes with disability and partners with non-disability o that we can have them playing together and competing together which will build friendship awareness and all those thing to promote inclusion.”

Krista Sanchez – Development Coordinator, Special Olympics Arizona

“We’ve seen so much growth since we first started coming, when we cane there was a lot of disorganization at the beginning they were just siting and didn’t know how really grow from where they were at and get off the ground and now we got coaches all over the country that are doing what is called unified sports, individuals with and disabilities playing together and we got permissions that are on board that are coming on and doing health assessments of these athletes and we got a great Board of Directors that are very committed to make sure that this program continues on.”


Dalila Ical – Reporter

“You said three years, what happens after three years, what are your expectations as the primary group trying to help develop the group here?”

Krista Sanchez – Development Coordinator, Special Olympics Arizona

“The primary goal of this entire partnership is sustainability so we don’t want to be the ones that are always coming down and providing all the training sessions so what we are doing is to set up that level of sustainability each time that we are here and making sure training individuals that are Belizeans and will continue those training ones we leave, that three years is a little negotiable if her are still something that we still need to assist after that we definitely be here to do that as well as being a resource we can be contacted and giving any kind of feedback if any asked question.”

And while everyone onboard the Special Olympics teams are grateful for the collaboration and its subsequent success, Bautista says they are in need of more hands to help in the project.

Elodia Bautista – National Director, Special Olympics Belize

“We’re promoting unified sports and we really need more coaches and more volunteers to help in training with these kids because they need a lot of help we are promoting health we are promoting training and in unified sports and it takes a lot of time and resources so we need more coaches and more person to volunteer to train our athletes.”

The World games are set for July next year in Los Angeles California, USA and the hope is that Belize sends a team to represent the country once more. The Special Olympics team from Arizona will be in the country until Saturday and will also be holding sports psychology with the Special Olympics Belize and they are expected to be back in the country to hold a certification ceremony with the coaches currently undergoing training.

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