By JACKSON WILSON
Enquirer Democrat Reporter
The Macoupin County Fairgrounds were transformed into an Olympic stadium as students of the Macoupin Center for the Developmentally Disabled congregated to show off their athletic skills at the 25th annual Mini Olympic Games Oct. 21.
As part of the tradition, students from the Carlinville, Gillespie, Bunker Hill and Northwestern school districts spent the day assisting, along with many other local volunteers from Blackburn College. Barney the Beaver was also in attendance.
MCDD students were divided into 13 teams that ventured around the Fairgrounds, competing in many events. Examples included softball toss, football throw, pumpkin shoot, bags, long walk, bowling, soccer kick, parachute and sprint.
After a lunch consisting of hot dogs, chips, applesauce and cookies in the W.W. Bates’ building, everyone gathered at the grandstand for an awards’ ceremony, where each participant received a trophy for their hard work.
Past Mini Olympics had been held at Beaver Dam, but a change of venue for 2023 turned out to be a big hit. All MCDD representatives would like to thank the Macoupin County Fair committee for allowing them to use the Fairgrounds this year. They are also extending a great deal of appreciation to Brad Kleeman, who offered his trailer for the MCDD to use as a stage.
“The Mini Olympics has been a shining beacon of unity, sportsmanship, and camaraderie for a quarter of a century,” MCDD representative Sydney Leonard said in a Facebook post. “It’s not just an event; it’s a tradition that has brought us together through the years.”
The MCDD truly believes that independence and a sense of belonging are the two most important things it offers for students. By continuing to expand academic knowledge, progress social standards, and develop life skills, MCDD is able to help foster independence in the lives of developmentally disabled adults. Over the years, hard-working volunteers and members have created a nurturing learning environment for these students to study and feel welcome. The MCDD believes that a sense of belonging is a basic human need, and it has been able to provide that for students by treating each and every individual with equal compassion.
Through all of this, the MCDD is fulfilling its goal of helping its students retaining their cognitive function via access to multitudes of learning materials.
At MCDD, the students regularly have lessons on table manners, being polite, appropriate conversation and much more. The students utilize these skills regularly during field trips and other activities like the Mini Olympics.
MCDD students are also educated on the importance of hygiene, cooking, cleaning, paying bills, keeping track of spending/ receiving money, healthy eating habits, and exercise. By gaining these life skills, the MCDD is confident that students will be much more equipped for life in society.
The MCDD mission is “to make a positive and lasting impact in the lives of developmentally disabled adults by providing an empowering environment built on education, compassion and dignity. Its goal is to create awareness for the developmentally disabled community and give them all a place to feel like they belong while also giving them all the skills necessary to integrate into their communities.
The MCDD is a nonprofit organization that is funded solely by donations, fundraisers, grants and memorials. It also receive funds from the Macoupin County Mental Deficiency Fund.
For more information, visit the MCDD website at mcdd.us.