Cushing Hosts Special Olympics Young Athletes

Cushing’s fall athletic season is well underway, but for one new team, it’s just beginning. On Sunday, Sept. 30, the Cushing community welcomed children ages 2-7 with and without intellectual disabilities to play and learn together through the Special Olympics Young Athletes program. The inclusive play initiative provides a guided experience with activities designed to strengthen motor skills, enhance social and emotional learning opportunities, and have lots of fun.

Over the course of six sessions, Young Athletes focuses on a different skill area each week, beginning first with foundational skills such as body awareness and coordination, followed by more targeted activities like throwing and kicking balls. Twenty Cushing students volunteered to lead the kick-off event, setting up and running activity stations and sharing the joy of sports and learning with participants and their families. The first session was a huge success and the number of willing and enthusiastic volunteers is already growing.
“I was originally looking for leadership and community service opportunities for our students because I really believe in giving back,” said Jen Viana, Director of Athletics. As the program unfolded, however, it became clear it would result in much more. “It was simply awesome to watch. Our students really wanted to be there and to be involved. They were so respectful and welcoming. Some students found a special connection with a certain child; others found they enjoyed adapting activities to best suit a variety of children’s abilities and levels. And for some our kids it was about stepping out of their own comfort zones as a leader. I knew this would be a growth opportunity for our students, but I truly feel that for some, it will be life-changing.”
Young Athletes will run on Sundays through November 11 from 9 to 10 am in the Watkins Field House. (Please note that there will be no program on October 7.) The program is free. Follow this link for a program overview; registration details available here. (Be sure to select “Cushing Academy” when registering.)

Cushing Academy

39 School Street
Ashburnham, Massachusetts 01430

Cushing Academy

Cushing Academy exists for students and develops curious, creative, and confident learners and leaders. Founded in 1865, Cushing is a co-ed, college preparatory boarding and day school for students in grades 9-12 and PG. Our students, who come from over 30 states and 30 countries, excel in our outstanding academic, art, and athletic offerings. We welcome you to visit our community and beautiful 162-acre campus in Ashburnham, Mass., just one hour from Boston, to experience all that Cushing has to offer.