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UW-Stevens Point student-athletes inspire local special needs children

Posted by UWSPcps - May 13, 2015 - Athletics, Featured, Outreach


UW-Stevens Point Women’s Soccer at Jefferson Elementary


Jill Ross, UW-Stevens Point Women’s Soccer

by Ashley Remington ’15

Friday was a special day of the week this spring for children with special needs at Jefferson Elementary School in Stevens Point. Every Friday, a different team from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point Department of Athletics visited the school to spend time with the children, describe what it is like to be on a college sports team, and teach a physical movement activity for their sport.

Together, Dorothy O’Connor, a special education teacher at Jefferson Elementary, and Jamie Destache, a UW-Stevens Point women’s basketball player and member of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, developed this ongoing collaboration between UW-Stevens Point student-athletes and children at Jefferson with emotional, social, behavioral and learning disabilities. UWSP teams that visited included: football, volleyball, women’s basketball, men’s basketball, baseball, swimming and soccer.

“It has been rewarding to see the college students take such interest in our children, and encouraging to watch our students blossom each week,” said O’Connor. “Students who typically are very reluctant to share have become increasingly confident during sharing times.”

The children anticipated the weekly visits with excitement, reading the athletes’ biographies on the Pointers website before their arrival. Inspired by the experience, Destache said, “It is important for us to realize how much the younger community looks up to us as athletes, students and people.” Receiving the support of the children, she emphasizes the importance of giving back to people who provide this support, as the student-athletes were able to do at Jefferson Elementary serving as role models for the children and impacting their lives in a positive way.

This partnership provided the children at Jefferson with a future vision that includes post-secondary education. Learning about the future plans of Pointers student-athletes sparked the children’s interest, some of them wishing to pursue academic majors that the athletes were studying.

The partnership was an inspirational experience for both the children and college athletes. The UW-Stevens Point athletes have made a great impact on the children at Jefferson Elementary and hope to continue this opportunity for years to come.


UW-Stevens Point Women’s Soccer at Jefferson Elementary

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