Student athletes and buddies competed together in Meet in the Middle Feet Meet (Courtesy Photo)

Last week, 18 students from Francis C. Hammond Middle School participated in the Meet in the Middle Feet Meet — a Special Olympics Virginia celebration of meeting key developmental and social milestones for students with disabilities. More than 150 athletes and partners from ten middle and high schools across the D.C. Metro region joined in the fun.

Student athletes and buddies competed together in various track and field events, including a track obstacle course, the standing long jump and Olympic town events such as corn hole, ladder golf, frisbee golf and giant bowling stations. Student volunteers helped organize the opening ceremony, run stations and present awards.

By pairing together students with and without disabilities, a new space is created for students to form friendships based on shared values instead of differences. When athletes and partners participate together, there is a more inclusive community for all.

Through work in sports, health, education and community building, Special Olympics addresses inactivity, injustice, intolerance and social isolation by encouraging and empowering people with intellectual disabilities, which leads to a more welcoming and inclusive society.