Maia Somma '24
Oct 28, 2022
On Friday November 4, Community Engagement will host Mercersburg’s annual fall fundraiser for Special Olympics Maryland: the SO GLOW Run. Special Olympics is a global organization designed to address the inactivity and stigma that people with intellectual disabilities face by developing programming in sports, health, education, and community building. On the night of the run, the school will gather at the chapel, “glow up” equipped with glow sticks, and walk/run a course to raise money for Special Olympics.
Mercersburg's relationship with Special Olympics has a history. The school has dedicated countless hours of support and resources to Special Olympics athletes. According to Emily Parsons, Director of Community Engagement, “[We] inherited the relationship from former faculty member Katherine Dyson when she led Community Engagement. Back when they were starting it, they wanted to do something COVID-friendly and involving the whole school. We’ve had our partnership with Special Olympics for around 7 years, and it’s a great way to raise money for a good cause.”
After much consideration and student feedback, the Community Engagement Team decided to organize the run by PGA in accordance with previous years. However, a new addition is the teams’ decision to arrange a school dance with food and drinks in the student center fishbowl afterward as a celebration.
A lot of effort has gone into the planning of the SO-GLOW Run. This has included “planning a date, working with Special Olympics to come up with a format for the race, and getting everyone signed up and excited about it,” Parsons said. Students have also played a large role in facilitating the event in the way of marketing, designing shirts, getting volunteers, and coordinating with Trini and the dining hall.
“I’m writing an article for the Parent Newsletter and helping with the overall planning and communication with volunteers,” Selena Feng ‘24 said. “The run isn’t just a fundraiser but an event that connects the community and embraces the spirit of competition,” she added. For the dance, Axel Fleury ‘25, is taking song submissions and recruiting chaperones in coordination with Trini.
Last year, the Mercersburg community raised an impressive $14,400 in two weeks during November, with the dance and football PGAs in a tight competition to raise the highest amount. This year’s fundraising goal is set at $15,000. “Our contribution goes right to the athletes so they can participate in the events and feel more confident and feel pride in who they are and what they can do,” said Parsons.