FIU Students Volunteering for Special Olympics

On November 15th and 16th several FIU students volunteered for the 2013 State Fall Classic for Special Olympics Florida in Orlando. The following students represented the Robert Stempel College of Public Health & Social Work.

  • Joanne Pierre (Health Promotion and Disease Prevention) – for her practicum. She was instrumental in assisting with the planning and educational poster boards for the “Healthy Athletes” section where participants received health promotion information and screenings.
  • Nikki Chuck (Epidemiology) – volunteering. Nikki is a certified personal trainer and was available to demonstrate simple athletic exercises as well as the importance of keeping one’s body hydrated.
  • Jaffia Lewinsky (Dietetics & Nutrition) – volunteering. He educated participants on portion control and maintaining a balanced diet.


The State Fall Classic is the second largest event offered by Special Olympics Florida. During these two days, nearly 3,000 athletes, coaches, and family members from around the state were in Orlando to see athletes compete in gymnastics, powerlifting, bowling and softball.

In addition to competition athletes can participate in Healthy Athletes screenings, a program designed to help Special Olympics athletes improve their health and fitness, leading to an enhanced sports experience and improved well-being. Screenings are conducted by medical professionals who volunteer their time in one of six different disciplines: podiatry, physical therapy, audiology, dental, vision and health education.

Fall Classic  also set the stage for the first-ever Young Athletes Program (YAP) sports-play exhibition. YAP is an innovative program for children ages 2-7 with intellectual disabilities and developmental disabilities and their peers, designed to introduce them into the world of sports. The exhibition featured a parade of young athletes, activity showcase and awards ceremony.


Author: Cecile Houry

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