The Area 4 Special Olympics organization is coming to Oxford this week, bringing with it devoted volunteers and looking for more.
The Turner Center will host Area 4 Special Olympics basketball Friday at The University of Mississippi.
Area 4 includes the counties of Calhoun, Grenada, Lafayette, Panola, Tallahatchie and Yalobusha.
Special Olympics provides year-round sports training and competition for people with intellectual disabilities.
Area 4 Director Sarah Ball said it gives participants “continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes and the community.”
Special Olympics hosts many different events throughout the year, which provides opportunities for everyone.
“We are involved with roller skating in the fall, basketball in the winter and track and field, horseshoes, tennis and bocce in the spring,” Dupper said.
Michael Dupper, an assistant professor of exercise science, has worked with the Special Olympics in New York, Wisconsin, Missouri and now leads a helping hand to the Area 4 program here in Mississippi.
“I do it to promote awareness and interaction with persons with special needs,” he said.
“I find my students are very enthusiastic and empathetic in working with our athletes and each other during the games.”
For the basketball event Friday, there will be three main areas of play: full-court basketball games, 3-on-3 games and basketball skills, including spot shot, wall bounce, speed dribbling and timed double dribbling.
Organizers urge people in the community to get involved to make the event meaningful and beneficial to those involved.
Ball said that around 100 volunteers are needed for basketball on Friday.
“There are no requirements necessary to volunteer,” Ball said.
“There will be on-site training, and volunteers familiar with the sport of basketball, refereeing and scorekeeping would be beneficial.”
The event will take place in the Turner Center on Feb. 15 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
People interested in volunteering can contact Forrest Bryan and Liz Mumaw at (662) 915-5521.