Scripture: 2 Samuel 6-9 and I Chronicles 13-17
- Students will review the story of David’s kindness to Mephibosheth who was disabled.
- Students will participate in volunteer work with Special Olympics by knitting scarves and/or cheering at an event with homemade posters.
- What are ways that athletes with disabilities are provided with the opportunity to participate in Olympics?
- How can we support and encourage people with mental disabilities such as special Olympics participants?
Materials: knitting needles, knitting yarn, poster paper, markers
Procedure: Review the story of David’s kindness to Mephibosheth. Focus on how David supported Mephibosheth who was disabled from the feet because he had been dropped as a child. In David’s time he would have been expected to kill him as a member of a rival family or ignore him as a person with a disability. Most disabled people were forced to become beggars. Have students imagine things that they enjoy doing that they could not do if they could not walk. Students will probably mention some sports.
Explain that some people aspire to be Olympians, but are physically or mentally disabled. Therefore the Paralympics and Special Olympics were created. Emphasize their determination and positive attitudes as a great asset that these people have. They can be admired and not looked down upon. Discuss how to respectfully show kindness to people who are disabled without being condescending. Explain they have an opportunity to help support the dreams of special Olympians.
Students can knit scarves and ear warmers for these athletes and include a note of encouragement. A student who knits can teach peers and/or have a knitter come in to demonstrate and assist. Many states in the U.S. join the Special Olympics Scarf Project on a year to year basis. See their site for specifications and contacts. https://colouringwithyarn.wordpress.com/special-olympics-scarf-project-2/2015-special-olympics-scarf-project-2/
Another option is to take students to a local event to cheer for the athletes. Students can create banners, posters and make up their own cheers to encourage them. Find an event near you at http://www.specialolympics.org/Common/Special_Olympics_Program_Locator.aspx
- What challenges do Special Olympics athletes face?
- What are ways that you can show kindness to special needs students in your neighborhood and school?
- Before attending a special needs Olympic event, students can research the history behind the event to gain a better appreciation for the athletes and volunteers. How did the Special Olympics start? What types of disabilities are represented? How do sports help improve the athletes physically, mentally and emotionally?
- Students can decide on a way to raise money to help support an athlete in special Olympics. Explain that participants rely on donations. Students can brainstorm ideas and vote on how they want to raise money. Examples: car wash, yard work, selling a craft, dinner event, etc. Let students be creative and lead as much as they can. Have them to do most of the advertisement preparation and contacting people.