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posted: 5/9/2012 2:44 PM

Track meet to feature Dist. 54 Special Olympic groups

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Submitted by School District 54

School District 54 is getting ready to host its single largest event of the year -- the annual Partners Club/Young Athletes track meet.

The event will begin with opening ceremonies at 10 a.m. Thursday, May 17, on the track behind Eisenhower Junior High School, 800 W. Hassell Road, in Hoffman Estates.

Events will take place until noon followed by lunch for all athletes, their partners and volunteers. The meet will be canceled in case of inclement weather.

"The Young Athletes portion of the meet is going to be exciting. This is the biggest District 54 Young Athletes event held during the school year" said Lisa Liesz, District 54 Special Olympics, coordinator of Young Athletes. "The athletes have been training all year. There will be more than 1,000 District 54 students, staff and volunteers participating in this day."

Partners Club is based at several District 54 schools and includes students with disabilities with their nondisabled peers. The purpose of the program is to combine athletes and their peers together to practice sports skills. However, Partners Club often accomplishes much more than that. A bond of respect is built between athlete and partner. The students participate in activities all year together, including this track meet each spring.

The Young Athletes program is an innovative sports play program for children ages 2-7 with intellectual disabilities, designed to introduce them to the world of sports. The benefits of the program include improvement not only physically and cognitively, but also and socially. This program also serves as an introduction for families to the resources and support available within Special Olympics. Nearly 800 students participate in this program throughout the district.

For information on the District 54 Special Olympics and Young Athletes program, please call District 54 Special Olympics office at (847) 357-2105.

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