LEOMINSTER, Mass. — Two of the women from the Leominster/Pleasant Residence had a wonderful weekend recently. M.O and C.B went for the Special Olympics opening ceremony in Boston on a Friday evening. After returning to home from the ceremony, they rose early to be ready for their volleyball competition. They left Saturday morning at 7 A.M. to be there for their team’s first game, accompanied by two staff members who are trained volunteers for the team.

The women were so excited about the competition that they approached the program manager to request that they be able to stay over with their teammates instead of commuting each day.  They didn’t want to miss all the activities that were happening during their stay and they also needed to be well rested for their games. This request was approved and they were on their way on Saturday for the weekend.

Their performance was great and when they were not playing, they were cheering their other teammates, interacting and making friends. Their dedication paid off as they emerged champions and won gold medals. M.O’s family had a chance attended the Olympics and they were very impressed with her performance. This support gave her the motivation to try even harder.

The weekend gave them the opportunity to be a part of a group. They learned team work, how to cooperate and work together. They made new friends, gained confidence and learned responsibility. This opportunity allowed them to gain self esteem–others believed in them and that meant a whole lot to them.  They were able to express their joy by being exposed to this experience. They apply these skills to their daily life.

Their coach spoke very highly of C.B and M.O. She said it was a pleasure having them on her team. She saw them giving their all and being so committed to the team as they strove to success. When she stopped by the program, recently, the two champions ran to the door to greet and visit with her. As the coach walked away, she heard them say to staff “we love her; she is such a nice coach”.  She knew that they both meant it and it meant the world to her when she heard them sincerely say those kind words to someone else. She said a moment like that is the reason she does what she does. As a result of the coach’s positive experience with the women, she has offered them an opportunity to attend soft ball training every Sunday and assist her even if they are not part of the team.

And the look on their faces when they proudly show their gold medals, tells it all.  They are Champions!