WHITTIER, Calif. - On Saturday, April 8th, the Whittier College Athletic Department partnered with the Special Olympics of Los Angeles and the Lions Club of Whittier in hosting, for the sixth consecutive year, a Special Olympics Basketball Tournament. With over 100 student-athlete volunteers, the tournament hosted 11 teams from across Los Angeles County.
The teams included:
South Bay Mychal's Tigers; South Bay Mychal's Bulldogs; South Bay Torrance Fastbreak; South Bay Torrance Tornadoes; LAFC B-Team; SELA Downey Titans – D; SELA Downey Titans – C; SELA Lakewood 49ers; SELA Pico Rivera Pirates (Black); SELA Pico Rivera Pirates (Yellow); Greater Los Angeles SCLARC
The NCAA and Division III athletics initiated the partnership with Special Olympics at the 2011 NCAA Convention and officially launched the partnership on August 1, 2011. The purpose of the partnership is to enhance the lives of Division III student-athletes and Special Olympics athletes through a mutual learning experience; provide a platform for recognition of Special Olympics athletes and Division III student-athletes within their communities; and raise awareness of Special Olympics, its programs and services. Through this partnership, Division III student-athletes across the country are encouraged to participate in existing Special Olympics events, create their own events, or otherwise serve to support Special Olympics organization.
This partnership provides the opportunity for student-athletes to engage with Special Olympics and collaborate with existing student-led programs on campus. It also serves as another opportunity to demonstrate the citizenship and comprehensive learning attributes of Division III student-athletes. Student-athletes giving back to their local (and often national and international) communities not only enhances the comprehensive learning component of Division III, but also provides a venue for passion and service.
"As we partner, for the 6th time, with the Special Olympics and the Lions Club, we have provided an amazing growth opportunity not only for the athletes competing, but also for our Whittier College student-athletes," explained Assistant Athletic Director for Student Welfare Monica Gerardo. "The Poet Student Athlete Leadership Academy members exuded passion and enthusiasm in their participation and desire to give back to the community. We look forward to our continued partnership with the Special Olympics for years to come."