Archer Special Olympics Club hosts first kickball game


The Archer students, faculty and Special Olympic Athletes pose for a group photo. This was the first kickball game associated with Special Olympics. Photo courtesy of Gustat-Karzen

During their sophomore year, Annabelle Gustat-Karzen ’17 and Annie Moore ’17 founded the Archer Special Olympics Club.

This year to expand the club’s reach, they hosted an event for the entire Archer community. On Jan. 28 at Larry Maxam Park in Burbank, the Special Olympics Club put on their first kickball game, with students, faculty and Special Olympic athletes.

When it came to needing community members to play in the game, the club sent emails to the entire school and presented at grade meetings.

The goal of the Special Olympics Club is to spread awareness about the organization and promote the campaign “Spread the Word to End the Word“. By hosting the kickball game, the club hoped to spread the awareness about the organization while also bonding with the athletes.

Since last year, the club members have met every Tuesday to plan for the kickball game.

“I think it’s really important to get involved in Special Olympics and the club at Archer because it gives you an outside perspective on an important issue of inclusivity in sports,” Gustat-Karzen said. “It helps bring the community together and it’s a really fun opportunity to get service hours and meet new people.”

Gustat-Karzen has coached both basketball and softball since early 2014 for the Special Olympics, so to organize this event she reached out to the mentally and physically disabled athletes she had previously coached.

“My favorite part about coaching the athletes is that now they are starting to become more like family. We don’t treat them as outsiders, we are all on the same page,” said Gustat-Karzen, “When I scrimmage them they usually win because they’re so good and they are really strong athletes.”