AUSTIN (KXAN) — They’re overcoming great odds each and every day, and now several members of one Austin community are training for something bigger.
Residents at Marbridge, a residential care facility for people with varying degrees of intellectual disabilities, are getting ready to compete in 10 different sports in the regional Special Olympics.
Andrew, 27, is training for a mid-September swim meet. “I like being part of it because I like to compete,” Andrew said.
“It’s not about winning,” said Marbridge swimming instructor and equine coordinator Shonda Corn. “[It’s about] getting out there and doing their best that they can do, and being supportive of other people and other teams and the overall experience of being part of something bigger than themselves.”
Corn wants all the residents here to learn that feeling.
Andrew lives with about 250 others at Marbridge, a non-profit organization, which is 12 miles south of Austin. Their life challenges aren’t holding them back.
“They get to train for these events. They put in their heart and soul. They give 110 percent of everything they have most every day to succeeding,” said Marbridge V.P. of Development Michelle Levy.
Corn says sports are a way for residents to learn life skills that help them become more independent. “To go out to a swim meet, or to an equestrian competition, or compete in a game and be included makes them feel part of the whole picture and not isolated because they have a disability,” she said.
Andrew can’t wait to show off his swimming skills at the Special Olympics. He wants to win, and not just for himself.
“My mom and my dad they want to be proud,” Andrew said. “It feels good for me to make them proud.”
For those who want to compete in the Special Olympics, a person must be at least 8 years old. A person must also be identified by an agency or professional as having either an intellectual disability, or limitations in both general learning and adaptive skills. Those include recreation, work, independent living, or self care.
The special Olympics is always looking for volunteers to help.