Each spring, various high schools around Virginia are taken over by hundreds of "little feet." Children enrolled in developmentally delayed preschool and elementary programs pair up with older buddies from their schools and compete in everything from the 25-meter run to the powerlifting competition, featuring barbells made from 2-liter bottles filled with sand.
The Little Feet Meets, which started in Henrico County in 2009, are part of Special Olympics Young Athletes program, a developmentally appropriate play program for children with intellectual disabilities ages 2 through 7.
"These children have met with many challenges in their lives; they often lack social skills, communication skills, cognitive skills and even motor skills that we often take for granted," said Katie Clark, a Preschool Exceptional Education teacher. "But on this day, at their Young Athletes Little Feet Meet event, they were stars. I do not think I will ever forget that day. I never imagined the emotions I would feel as I watched and helped my students in their first Special Olympics event. I could not have been prouder if they were my own children winning gold medals in Beijing."
Find a Little Feet Meet near you! Click on your location for more information and parent/teacher resources.
- Little Feet Meet - Chesterfield County, RESCHEDULED for Tuesday, April 16 at James River High School
- Little Feet Meet - Lynchburg, Friday, April 12 at Heritage High School
- Little Feet Meet - Spotsylvania, Friday, April 12 at Spotsylvania High School
- Little Feet Meet - Norfolk, Tuesday, April 16 at Old Dominion University
- Little Feet Meet - Henrico County, Friday, April 19 at Freeman High School
- Little Feet Meet - Hanover County, Thursday, April 25 at Hanover High School
- Little Feet Meet - Roanoke, Friday, April 26 at Northside High School
"While most parents strive to raise confident children, this task can be difficult when raising a child with disabilities. This is why Abigail's participation in the Little Feet Meet was so important. It gave her an incredible sense of pride. We were so proud of Abby that day; we were so proud of all the children who participated. We are fortunate to have these children. The sooner they know how incredible they are the better."