Could you use $2,000 to attend college on the Lamoni campus?

File your FAFSA by Jan. 1 for a guaranteed scholarship. Find out more!

Students Grow Through Volunteering as Graceland University Hosts Special Olympics


Administration and Staff, Alumni, Faculty

April 24, 2015

Students Grow Through Volunteering as Graceland University Hosts Special Olympics
Graceland University Football players DeAndre Thomas and Paul Stewart pose with Special Olympics participants. – Photo by Daniel Kanunnikov ’15

Saturday, April 11, Graceland University hosted the South Central Iowa Special Olympics spring games for the fifth year in a row. Over 200 athletes came to compete in aquatics, running, jumping and throwing. Graceland also had a large presence at the event with over 200 volunteers from the football team, men and women’s basketball teams, men and women’s volleyball teams, men’s soccer team, wrestling, golf, cheer, Gadets, and the athletic training program, which included many members of the Student Athletic Advisory Committee.

One volunteer, Jesse Godfrey from the Graceland Football team had this to say about the events, “In my opinion this event is one of the most important at Graceland. This has been my third year and all three years I have been an announcer (two years on the field and this year in the box), and it has been a humbling experience for me. These athletes are amazing, and still remember me every time they see me. Last year they took a picture of Anthony Abreu, an athlete named Brenda and myself and put it into the 2015 GU calendar, and everyone I show it to realizes what kind of community we have here at GU. This event is a way for us to give back to the community and the state by volunteering our time, by not only hosting these athletes but getting a chance to get to know them. I love this event and look forward to it every year when it comes around.”

Special Olympics Iowa (SOIA) is a nonprofit organization that works with approximately 12,000 athletes, children and adults alike, with intellectual disabilities from all 99 counties of the state. The program provides sports training and competition in 23 Olympic-type sports and put on more than 80 regional competitions and eight statewide championships each year. Their goal is that through training and competitions, children and adults with intellectual disabilities are provided an opportunity to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy, and share gifts, skills and friendship with family, other athletes and the community.

It seems clear that this organization not only has a positive impact on the athletes that participate in the sporting events, but it also has an impact, perhaps an even bigger one, on the volunteers who get the pleasure of working with these dedicated and inspiring athletes. That is definitely the case at Graceland.

Related News

Administration and Staff, Alumni, Press Release

Skinner Named to EAB’s Innovation Council

October 11, 2022

Learn More

Administration and Staff, Press Release

Development Hires New Director of Annual Giving and Alumni Programs

July 12, 2022

Learn More

Administration and Staff, Press Release

Graceland Mourns the Loss of Ambassador John Menzies

March 30, 2022

Learn More

Administration and Staff, Press Release

Dr. Joel Shrock Named Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculty

March 29, 2022

Learn More

Administration and Staff, Alumni

Graceland Announces Institutional Advancement Changes

February 1, 2022

Learn More

Administration and Staff

Roger Powell Publishes OER Peer-Reviewed Article

November 2, 2021

Roger Powell, PhD ’12, director of writing center and institutional tutoring at Graceland University, has published an open educational resource (OER) peer-reviewed article about growth mindsets.

Learn More