Sara McClung of Hazlehurst, Georgia volunteers her time to manage the Special Olympics Program in Appling County, thereby providing youth with intellectual disabilities the opportunity to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, and foster friendships by participating in year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports.
Due to the competitive nature of school athletics, many of the athletes who participate in the Special Olympics Program coordinated by McClung are unable to compete on school teams. Thus, she organizes athletic events specifically for special-needs students.
McClung has 140 athletes that participate on a regular basis in the Special Olympics competitions. She engages student clubs and works with a team of teachers and community leaders that are passionate about providing this opportunity for the athletes to assist with the events. In addition, she has established a partnership with her local Lions Club, and their members cook lunch for all athletes, family, friends, and volunteers at each event.
McClung, a special education teacher, sacrifices her time and resources to give special-needs students an opportunity to achieve success. She has dedicated herself to teaching the students and helping them overcome their disabilities. The students who volunteered and the community as a whole have become more aware of the special-needs community, and the program’s athletes have gained confidence through competition.