Kids of all abilities participate in Meet the Marauders Unified Sports Field Day

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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) – Kids of all ages and abilities had the chance to work one on one with student athletes from the University of Mary on Saturday.

At the University of Mary Fieldhouse, it may look like a typical practice day for student athletes. However, they are taking the time to work with kids who have and don’t have disabilities. Parents like Laura Lynn Stubbs brought her 3 kids after hearing about this from her daughter’s coach.

“I didn’t know exactly what to expect, but this event is awesome. My three kids are here and the student athletes from the moment we walked in they were super welcoming and so engaging,” said Laura Lynn Stubbs, Parent.

The Special Olympics of North Dakota and Sanford Sports Performance collaborated on this idea after doing some events together in the past.

“We were just kind of talking about different things, and then we just thought U Mary would be a great opportunity to do this event being a university in town here in Bismarck,” said Anna Roaldson, Director of Unified Champions Schools, Special Olympics North Dakota.

This is the first year of this program. All different sports teams are represented from volleyball to soccer. The U Mary athletes are happy to be a part of this.

“It’s just super special to be able to connect with kids who are not necessarily able to do certain sports in their high schools or middle schools just because of their abilities. To be able to provide for them and give them a sense of sport at a level of sport they are not able to compete at,” said Alexandria Harper, University of Mary Volleyball Player.

The athletes set up different sports stations and were able to work with kids on their skills, but also encouraged them and made them feel important.

“I think it is just really great to get them exposed to activity and get them introduced to sports and just give all kids a chance to experience what I would feel like is a sports camp atmosphere,” said Mike Wagner, Occupational Therapist, and Adaptive Training Specialist of Sanford Health.

This special day is one that parents and their kids will not forget, even leaving some looking toward their future plans.

“I know at least for our oldest, she’s already kind of thinking like hey, maybe I want to be serious about sports. Maybe I want to play sports in college,” said Stubbs.

And some just focus on this moment and take it all in.

This event is something Special Olympics North Dakota, Sanford Sports Performance and the University of Mary plan on doing every year.

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