ROCKINGHAM — Dawn Grooms has participated in Richmond County Special Olympics (RCSO) since she was 10 years old; Dawn is now 49 years old. She competes in all the local competitions and has made it to the state level numerous times. When asked what her favorite game was, she stated “bocce.” Dawn has helped with many fundraisers for RCSO throughout the years, which includes Buddy Roe’s Bike Ride Fundraiser each May. This inspired Dawn to take the initiative to start a fundraiser on her own.
Dawn went around to local businesses for several months until she contacted Bojangles, who agreed to participate in the fundraiser for RCSO. On Tuesday, August 8, this efforts translated to reality.
Bojangle’s donated 10 percent of all sales between the hours of 5pm and 8pm from Tuesday’s fundraiser to RCSO. The fundraiser was a success as people heard about the cause and began coming in to place their orders. The drive-thru window also stayed busy.
In 1968, Eunice Kennedy Shriver had a vision that individuals with intellectual disabilities were very capable of participating in athletic events; so birthed the Special Olympics with the first event being held in Chicago, Illinois in the same year. A total of six athletes attended from North Carolina. Special Olympics North Carolina (SONC) held its’ first event in 1970 with 400 participants and the organization has grown tremendously since. Currently, SONC is one of the largest special olympics in the world.
RCSO has been operating in Richmond County for years and is solely funded by donations. Three major events are held in the county each year with tournaments being held in November for bocce, March for bowling, and May for athletics. Practice begins six to eight weeks prior to each tournament. There are over 100 athletes, both students and adults, that participate.
RCSO is getting close to the new season, and coaches are needed. Training will be provided for individuals who are interested. To be a part, contact RCSO Coordinator Theresa Smith for more information at 910-997-8379.
If you were unable to make it to Bojangles Tuesday night, donations are accepted throughout the year, a volunteers are encouraged to attend the tournaments.
To learn more about Richmond County Special Olympics, visit the website, http://sonc.net/local-programs/richmond-county/ and like them on Facebook by searching for their page titled “Richmond County Special Olympics” to get the most up-to-date information.