The Forum: MCLA to offer Special Olympics training program


NORTH ADAMS -- Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts' Student Athlete Advisory Committee will host a Special Olympics Testing Recreational Activity and Improving Nutrition (TRAIN) event on Sunday, from 10 a.m. to noon, in the Amsler Campus Center gymnasium.

TRAIN, a nutrition and fitness-based program, is open to the first 35 people who register. This sports skills assessment and educational program is designed to introduce Special Olympics athletes to sport readiness skills, appropriate sport selection, and the benefits of home training and healthy eating.

Each child will be paired with an MCLA student-athlete, who will go through the circuit with the participants at his or her own pace. Those in wheelchairs are encouraged to attend, as activities will be modified to fit each child's needs.

Dorothy Houston, MCLA's assistant athletic director, said she's glad to have student athletes participating to offer this program.

"We seek to improve the lives of Special Olympic athletes through this fitness and nutrition-based program. The planning process and the actual event will be a great learning experience for our student athletes," she said.

In January, Houston worked with Special Olympians at the NCAA National Convention. In addition, four MCLA students who are members of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee recently attended a TRAIN program at another state university.

"It is exciting and extremely rewarding for the MCLA students and the Special Olympics athletes. We would like to thank the Massachusetts Special Olympics office for their support in our first TRAIN event," Houston said.

Since it was first field tested in 2010, TRAIN has reached nearly 1,500 Special Olympics athletes in 11 states across the country. TRAIN also was introduced globally at the 2011 Special Olympics World Summer Games in Athens, Greece.

Over the next five years, the Special Olympics program aims to expand the TRAIN initiative to all 50 states, and to reach at least 10,000 Special Olympics athletes annually.

For more information or to sign up for this event, contact Houston at 413-662-5437 or


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