Ramstein and Vogelweh middle and high school special needs students participated in the first soccer match for the KMC Adaptive Sports Oct. 15. The event allowed the students to engage in a healthy activity while strengthening their social skills by playing with other students and members of the KMC.
The Adaptive Sports events are a series of activities scheduled throughout the year to include the Special Olympics, basketball, softball and now soccer games.
“This was our first adaptive soccer game,” said Wanda Castillo, Kaiserslautern High School moderate-severe teacher. “The past two years we’ve had adaptive baseball in the spring and are planning adaptive basketball in February. We’re trying to develop an adaptive program for our moderate-severe children within the Kaiserslautern Military Community. (By doing this,) we’re building a sports program for our children who have unique (needs) so they can get out and get active.”
The games have become progressively popular with members of the KMC. This year alone, over 100 volunteers helped out by providing food, scheduling events and even assisting the students individually as well as cheering them on.
Volunteers said the opportunity to help with an event like this is rewarding.
“My little cousin is autistic, so this event really touches home for me,” said Airman 1st Class Rachel Walkes, 86th Logistics Readiness Squadron fuels hydrants operator and KMC Adaptive Sports volunteer. “Seeing the kids happy makes me happy, that’s why I volunteer.”
For Castillo, the Adaptive Sports events have always been special to her.
“Special (education) is a passion; I’ve taught for 18 years,” Castillo said. “To be able to (provide this opportunity) for the children to keep them active, it’s heart-warming.”
By continuing to plan sports events throughout the year, the students are able to stay fit, have fun, and build resilience and camaraderie.
For more photos, see Page 6.