Roanoke Valley students have a blast at the Little Feet Meet by Special Olympics

The event was held on Wednesday at Roanoke College

SALEM, Va. – Students were having a blast at the Little Feet Meet put on by the Special Olympics.

More than 500 students from schools across the Roanoke Valley gathered at Roanoke College in Salem on Wednesday for the 12th annual Special Olympics Little Feet Meet.

The event brings together students with and without disabilities for a day on the playing field to encourage inclusion, acceptance, and respect in schools and the community.

“The schools just absolutely love it. It’s a highlight of their year,” said Nancy Morehouse, Southwest Region Director for Special Olympics Virginia. “The students get to come and show off their skills. And it’s not just their sports skills, but it’s their skills about building a community, and youth leadership and the things that they do so well at their schools.”

From the moment students arrived for the event, you could hear and feel the thrill of competition.

Kids enjoy the 2023 Little Feet Meet at Roanoke College (Credit: Jenny Mommer) (WSLS)

Josiah Stokes, a third grader at Fishburn Park Elementary in Roanoke City, said he enjoyed supporting his classmates and friends with disabilities at the Little Feet Meet.

“So that people that are not like you, and different from you can have fun, too!” Stokes said.

Cave Spring Elementary students Meg Burrow and Taylor Blaszak had fun on the track. Meg has been diagnosed with cerebellar hypoplasia and CTBP1, an extremely rare genetic disorder, and uses a wheelchair. When asked why she wanted to join her friend Meg for the Little Feet Meet, Taylor said, “Because some people don’t get to do these things like other people.”

Meg’s mother Meredith said she is grateful for events like the Little Feet Meet.

“It’s an amazing day for her to be able to be with friends and be included and get to participate in all the sports, something she doesn’t get to do every day,” Meredith said.

For some families, the Little Feet Meet can be a game changer.

“The fact that they’re actually representing their school and that they’ve trained for their competition and then the families get to see them succeed here and it really lights a spark for them,” Morehouse said.

More than 200 volunteers from Roanoke College, area high schools, local businesses, and the community helped to make the Little Feet Meet a success.

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