MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The COVID-19 pandemic has been hard on a lot of nonprofit organizations.
The Special Olympics of Greater Memphis is one of them; however, they’ve managed to find ways to keep their activities going. Local 24 News Reporter, Brittani Moncrease, shows us how.
When you think of the Special Olympics of Greater Memphis, you think face to face interaction, fitness, physical activities. Well, how do you do all those things in a pandemic? No pandemic can stop a little healthy moving and grooving.
The Special Olympics of Greater Memphis is still moving just in a social distancing way.
“We’re doing a lot of zoom workouts, zoom challenges, games on zoom just trying to keep it really active throughout the week,” said Lisa Taylor, Special Olympics of Greater Memphis Executive Director.
When the pandemic hit, Taylor said all event and fundraisers were canceled.
“It’s hard explaining to them what’s going on. A lot of them are very sensitive, so they get so upset because they’re worried about everyone,” said Taylor.
“It’s hard when you can’t be around those ones that you love and you care about. You can’t put your arms around them and give them the fist bump,” said Marion Hannah, a volunteer.
Hannah's son is also a participant.
“The Special Olympics is that organization that we’ve been a part of for a number of years now which has allowed us to participate in events and giving those with intellectual disabilities the opportunity to excel in their own way,” said Hannah.
Excelling during COVID-19 means everything is virtual.
“Yes, it is a little different, but at least we’re giving them some type of social connection with each other. We ask them how they’re feeling about everything. We really try to get them to express all of their emotions when we’re on there,” said Taylor.
With more than 2,000 athletes, creativity is key.
“Our youngest athlete is two and our oldest athlete is 76," said Taylor. “We have a running group called Road Warriors and we’re like, ‘Why don’t we do a virtual 5K.’”
They are doing it.
“We’ve all lost a great amount of funding because of this pandemic. That’s why this virtual race is so important to help us to be able to keep serving out athletes when we come back from this pandemic,” said Taylor.
“This give folks an opportunity, to show love, show support and promote awareness. That’s what we really, really want,” said Hannah.
That is what they will get, community support.
“It’s nice because there’s still that interaction where they get to see you and they get to communicate with you. They still feel like they’re a part of something,” said Taylor.
The virtual 5K and 10K takes place September 5-15, 2020. If you would like to participate in the race, you can sign up here.