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Nevis School Special Olympics Team wins Touchstone Energy Community Award

Itasca-Mantrap has named the Nevis School Special Olympics Team as the winner of the 2016 local Touchstone Energy Community Award. In appreciation of its community service, the organization received an engraved plaque and a $500 check that will be used for its community cause.

The Nevis School Special Olympics Team brings together athletes with and without disabilities, unifying them through education and sports. Since joining the unified partners program five years ago, more than 20 Nevis High School students have volunteered their time as unified partners to help others learn new sports and compete in events. Nevis School offers athletes the opportunity to participate in four sports: bowling, athletics, aquatics and basketball. Coaches and unified partners participate in a yearly online training through the Special Olympics. Then, they work with the current unified partners to learn how to work with the athletes – sharing ideas for teaching a skill and how to communicate effectively with the athletes, verbally and non-verbally.

“There are more high school students wanting to participate than there are openings,” said Nevis School teacher Jodi Sandmeyer. “The impact on the unified partners has been unbelievable. The high school students learn compassion for others. They learn how to be a teammate to someone with a disability. They learn how to compete for fun and do their best and still smile when receiving third place. They learn so much from these athletes. They learn how to coach – teaching someone a specific skill. They learn how to smile and have fun playing sports. They learn patience because things do not always go as planned. And, most importantly, they learn to accept people as they are, no matter their disability.”

Itasca-Mantrap sought candidates during the month of October for the Touchstone Energy Community Award, which recognizes organizations for outstanding contributions to the local community.

The Nevis School Special Olympics Team’s award application will be submitted for consideration in the statewide Minnesota Touchstone Energy Community Award. The statewide award recipient will be selected from award winners around Minnesota. The winning organization will receive $1,000 to go toward its community cause. The Minnesota Touchstone Energy Community Award will be presented to the award recipient in February during the Minnesota Rural Electric Association annual meeting in St. Paul.

The Touchstone Energy Community Award highlights the Cooperative Principle-Concern for Community.

 

Pictured, back row-l to r: Bryan Wormley, Tom Wormley, Victoria Carrier, Annalise Ahrendt, Sierra Monroe, Emma Bliss, Jack DeWulf, Jack Landquist and Jodi Sandmeyer. Middle row, l to r: Kaitlin VanLith, Jenna Berhow, Kailee Bjorkstrand and Hannah Anderson. Front row, l to r: Rose Zimmerman, Maggie Stevenson, Dee Zimmerman, Abbi Demro, Mary Zimmerman and Anna Misamore. Not pictured: Sam Fraki.

 

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