Special Olympics Michigan (SOMI) recently hosted the State Summer Games, the organization’s largest annual event. The event draws 2,900 SOMI athletes along with an additional 3,400 coaches, volunteers, chaperones, family members and spectators each year.
Eight Comets proudly served among the volunteers and chaperones, including Jaylin Alexander, Logan Beaudoin, Lucas Bunn, Dylan Gann, Devin Pascavage, Jacob Rivers, Trevor Sidebotham and Paris Trotter. These outstanding students supported Special Olympic athletes as they competed in events like bocce, bowling, gymnastics, horseshoes, power lifting, swimming, weightlifting, volleyball, developmental athletics and the motor activities training program.
Trevor is a rising senior majoring in sports psychology. Someday, he hopes to operate his own practice focusing on providing care to professional athletes. Trevor knew volunteering at the State Summer Games was the perfect chance for him to gain professional mentoring experience while giving back to the community.
“Some of the guys who are a part of my house, Adelphic, had volunteered with the Special Olympics prior, and they said they really enjoyed it. As a chaperone, I was in charge of helping athletes with their meals and medicine, getting them to events and providing any other assistance they needed,” Trevor said. “It really put some perspective into my life and made me appreciate things more.”
Devin is also a rising senior majoring in sports recreation management. He has a nephew with special needs, and the opportunity to volunteer at the State Summer Games gave him an avenue to learn more about the resources and support available to the special needs community.
“My favorite part about the State Summer Games was building connections with the athletes, watching them compete and seeing the smiles on their faces,” Devin said. “This impacted me very deeply. It shows that people with disabilities are just like all of us and want a chance to do things that they aren’t able to do in their hometowns. The experience meant a lot to me, and I don’t take anything for granted now.”
Trevor and Devin strongly agree on one point in particular — they encourage everyone to volunteer.
“I would encourage people to volunteer to learn that some things are out of our control. Instead of stressing over them, we should just live to the best of our ability and keep the things we can control in check. I also want others to know how good it feels to put a smile on someone else’s face,” Trevor said.
Devin added, “Volunteering is a chance to show these kids you care and to give back to the community. The smiles on their faces are truly something I’ll remember forever, and I will volunteer again if I am given the chance.”
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