By Roxanne Lattin
Special to The SUN
For the past two years, the Archuleta County Sheriff’s Office has participated in the annual Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics Colorado (SOCO). In doing so, Archuleta County has raised over $7,000 in donations, which went directly to SOCO athletes.
Everyone is encouraged to register and participate in this worthy event set for Saturday, May 12. Registration starts at the Pagosa Springs Elementary School at 9 a.m. A 5k run and a 3k walk are available to fit each participant’s abilities, activity level and preference.
Donations collected go directly to support all the athletes in Colorado, including the 13 athletes from Archuleta County. The donations allow individuals with intellectual and physical disabilities to experience true joy in sports and in life.
From a letter for SOCO: “Special Olympics Colorado Young Athlete Ashton Steinbacher-Scheppers was born with Down syndrome. Before he joined SOCO, his mom, Kristen, struggled to find an activity and community for Ashton that he could enjoy being a part of. In school, his peers would play sports at recess while Ashton was often left alone, which broke Kristen’s heart.
“Kristen stated, ‘Trying to connect with other families was hard; I just wanted him to have the same opportunities as any other child.’
“When Ashton joined Special Olympics Colorado, he learned how to play and how to interact with people. He now plays on a soccer team each week and loves every minute, because it has brought him friendships, confidence and joy, what every mother wishes for her son.
“Kristen went on to say, ‘Before, he had no interest at all in sports. He’s the only kid with special needs at his school, and now he’s like any other kid. These opportunities have allowed him to have this common interest so that he can play with friends and be a part of the community.’
“Misperceptions and negative attitudes about people with intellectual disabilities exist worldwide. Many face exclusion, discrimination and judgement every day. Support is invaluable as we work to forge a path of acceptance for inspiring individuals like Ashton, and create inclusive communities throughout the state.”
To participate or inquire further about the event, contact Detective Roxanne Lattin with the Archuleta County Sheriff’s Office via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone 264-8498.
You can also check out the event on the Archuleta County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page.
By Roxanne Lattin