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August 08, 2013 | Asia Pacific: Philippines

A Community Comes Together in the Philippines

By Samantha Adhikari

Taking a break from the athletics competition for a "guapo" pose photo op! Pictured: Athlete Mateo Ibe with US Peace Corps Volunteers Ebonee Ragins and AJ Clomax

On July 12-13, Vigan City hosted their first Special Olympics competition. The competition was a collaborative effort between Special Olympics, US Peace Corps, and Vigan City with exceptional support provided by Mayor Eva S. Medina. The event started off with a mass at the local community center and was followed by a motorcade through the streets of the city assuring no one would miss the arrival of Special Olympics Vigan! The first brutally hot day was the Athletics running competition. For all of our athletes this was their very first time competing. The sheer enthusiasm and energy emanated from our kids! Alongside our talented athletes, community parents and Peace Corps Volunteers who came from all over the country, worked tirelessly to ensure the success of the event. Day 2 began with a thunderstorm but continued on without a hitch. That day the kids enjoyed various games, relays, and dancing. Kaye Samson, Special Olympics Philippines National Executive Director, said, "I saw UNITY during the event".

About Samantha Adhikari: I am a US Peace Corps Volunteer working in the Philippines under Vigan City's Social and Welfare Development Office. My primary assignment involves behavior management and tutorials with children with special needs. I have a Bachelor's in Political Science from UC Irvine and will pursue law school after my service ends. My involvement with Special Olympics started with my service here in Vigan as a coach and organizing this event, but i think it's safe to say this involvement has sealed my lifelong commitment to Special Olympics to some sort of capacity, whether it be as a coach, volunteer, or cheerleader. This organization is something special and I am proud to have been a part of it and excited to champion the movement further.
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