Marion County Special Olympics
They are athletes focusing on their capabilities, not disabilities. but they are used to overcoming obstacles.
On Wednesday afternoon, more than 150 middle school students lit the torch for the Marion County Special Olympics-- a program that faces a possible threat to its future.
"We are a volunteer-driven program, so without the volunteers, it makes it really difficult to get things going" said Lynn Brantley, Coordinator of Special Olympics in Marion county.
About $15,000 is raised every year to put on the games in Marion county.
"Each county program in Florida is a sub-program of Special Olympics Florida, so we are each responsible for raising our own operating funds," she said.
"Programs like this help kids to be self- sufficient...that's what we want to do with these kids, prepare them for the outside world, so they can get a job," said Jimmie Heflin, an E.S.E teacher at Lake Weir Middle School.
Schools often provide transportation, teachers, and facilities for the Special Olympics, but with a proposed $703 million dollar cut to school funding in next year's state budget, programs like this may be on the chopping block.
"If we have to cut back in sports, which i really don't want to do, then we'll have to do some adjusting, but we will continue to provide the program in as many sports as possible to as many athletes as possible," said Brantley.
To see the Florida Special Olympics Schedule, click here.
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