I am a proud member of the Olympic Warriors team and our team project regarding the Special Olympians is well underway! It took us awhile to pick a name and our team mission statement is to encourage, equip and enrich the Special Olympians through community service and awareness. Our entire class consists of 51 wonderful, talented people. The team I am on consists of a total of 8 people, 4 men and 4 women and we work very well together. We have fun and also respect each other, which is very important.

Looking back, our opening retreat was in September of 2016, where we first got to meet each other and participate in an outdoor team-building program at Kirby Park. We also went on a walking tour of Downtown Wilkes-Barre and got to check out the Wilkes-Barre headquarters of Pepperjam.

On October 6th we went to CVS Caremark for the day and learned all about their facility and also were able to come to conclusions about which projects we will be working on. That is when we officially established our project team and I came to a consensus that we would be doing a project involving the Special Olympics.

On November 3rd our class participated in the volunteering session of our program. We went to Head Start and had a chance to mingle with the children and see how they interact and learn in the classrooms. We had lots of fun with the children, who also enjoyed having us there. Afterwards, our class also had the opportunity to go to the St. Vincent DePaul Soup Kitchen in Wilkes-Barre and got to help clean up after lunch. We also had a tour of the food bank and clothing bank. These are for those less fortunate and it was very moving how generous the Soup Kitchen is to those in need. They rely on people to give donations so they can keep the clothing bank stocked with in-season clothes to anyone who come to them. They do not discriminate against anyone who comes in and there is a feeling of security and trust. It was a very humbling experience to say the least.

December we had a wonderful Christmas Party at the Mary Stegmaier mansion! The food and service was impressive. The mansion itself is something everyone should get a chance to see.

Our next session will be on Thursday, January 5th and we will get into the media/communications part of our class sessions. I look forward to this opportunity.

Please be advised that my team, The Olympic Warriors, will be holding a fundraiser to benefit the local chapter of the Special Olympics at Sabatini’s Bottleshop & Bar in Exeter beginning at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, February 9, 2017. Tickets are $25 which includes all you can eat pizza and your choice of 3 drinks: draft beer, bottled beer, or soda. There will also be raffle prizes and 50/50 for purchase and live entertainment by the Jeanne Zano Duo. All proceeds will go toward purchasing uniforms and new basketballs for the Special Olympic athletes.

We are currently seeking gift cards or gift certificates from local establishments to be raffled off at our event and would love for everyone to come and join us and help us meet our goal for this very important cause in our community.

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