News / Events

Special Olympics Track and Field 2014

NTL / Special Olympics a huge success 9th year in a row!

Close to 30 Need To Lead volunteers representing over 14 middle schools, high schools, colleges and universities came together this past weekend to support an amazing group of close to 400 Special Olympics athletes at the 2014 Mass Track and Field event at Brockton stadium.  A group of motivated , caring, and compassionate student volunteers came together from all over and proved that no matter how different everyone is, we all have one thing in common. We all have the ability to give back , and we can do it as one! 

  • Babson College 
  • Boston College
  • Loyola University
  • Northeastern Universtiy
  • University of West Virginia
  • Belmont Hill
  • Roxbury Latin
  • Bishop Fenwick
  • Xaverian
  • Mansfield HS
  • Bridgewater Raynham
  • Franklin High School
  • Walpole High School
  • Dedham Country Day
  • Carroll School

NTL Volunteers thoughts of the day:

"What a remarkable day. I have always enjoyed events that involve the Special Olympics, but this was my first time working at the actual games. The morning started off a bit chilly and rainy, but thankfully as time went on it transitioned into one of the nicer days we have had so far this year. From the time we showed up until we headed out I do not think that I saw someone that did not have a smile on their face. The volunteers arrived during the hour leading up to the opening ceremonies, catching up with one another as everyone checked in and got settled. One thing that stuck out to me was how excited everyone was for the day in general. I overheard several people eagerly asking about how the ceremonies would proceed and what to expect as the day progressed. The opening ceremonies were great, with military members leading the parade of athletes along the track and a line of volunteers cheering them on the whole way. Rob made a point to tell us that perhaps the most important contribution we could make to the event is cheering for the athletes. What he did not tell us is that it would also be the easiest assignment of the day. The joy on the athletes' faces when they see you rooting for them coupled with the sheer determination and effort that they put into every aspect of the events is incredible, and while I was on camera duty, I found myself cheering instead of filming more often than not. As always, witnessing the generosity, zeal, and maturity of all the NTL volunteers was mind-blowing. It is amazing to see the interaction between a young teenager and an athlete, and how fulfilling a congratulatory fist bump can be for both parties. Certainly something that I will not soon forget. The day was a great success and I could not be prouder to be a part of this organization." 

 - Billy Timson | Northeastern University


"I’ve been lucky enough to stay close with Rob since my days at NEH, so I jumped on the opportunity to help him and Need To Lead at the Special Olympics. What started out as a rainy morning, turned into a beautiful day for the athletes to compete. It was incredible to see the turnout and the excitement that each individual brought, and the challenges they have overcome to reach their goals. The day was a humbling experience at the very least. Sometimes we get caught up in our daily lives and expectations, but seeing the way these athletes have overcome adversity was inspirational. I was lucky enough to work with many of the athletes throughout the day and their positive attitudes were contagious. The day holds more than just an opportunity to win. It’s about enjoying the spirit of competition and embracing sportsmanship. I saw athletes cheer on competitors and high five strangers, and I know I can speak for our group as a whole when I say we were lucky to be around such amazing people. Many of our volunteers were middle school and high school students and I could not have been more impressed with the way they carried themselves throughout the day. These kids obviously share a drive for giving back and surely have bright futures ahead of them. I now have an even greater appreciation for  The Special Olympics, who did an incredible job organizing the event, and I am proud to say I was part of a Need To Lead group that was fully committed to making the day a success. "

- Jamie Murray | Babson College


"After hearing so much about Need to Lead, I couldn't resist such an opportunity to volunteer for such a great cause like the Special Olympics when Rob invited me.  From the opening ceremonies to the end of the day, I didn't see one person who didn't have a smile on their face.  The day started off a bit cold and rainy but it began to warm up as the day went on and turned into a remarkable day for all!   From the moment I saw the first group walk into the opening ceremonies I thought I was doing something great but when I got to my event to help the athletes, I knew I was!  As, I watched and helped, I realized what these athletes had to overcome to get to where they were that day and how much they wanted to be there.   Knowing the commitment the athletes had put in to train,  my job was to help them along as they competed and I loved every minute of it. "

After watching and helping, I know there is absolutely no better feeling in the world than helping somebody achieve a goal!

Shout out to Colin!


 - Matt Menzel | Raynham High School


"I have been a part of Need to Lead for many years and have been to many events, which are all wonderful. But I have to say, by far, the Special Olympics Track and Field event is my favorite, and I think I say that for many of the volunteers. The main reason it is my favorite is because you can actually see where the money from the other Special Olympics events go to, such as the Polar Plunge. The other events are great, but this is really a chance to get to know the athletes that you are helping. It also gives you a feeling of satisfaction to know that the money that you and other volunteers raised is going to such a great cause. You also get to see the smiling faces on all the athletes at the event, that is the best part. They all are super excited to be there and they know that everyone there is supporting them, we are all there supporting them. I quickly realized that the best way to support these athletes is by cheering them on, that is what they need the most more than anything. It is also a good feeling knowing that they had trained all year for this one day. More often than not, at the beginning of the day it is chilly and might be a little wet, but no matter how cold, the athletes are there at the starting line ready to go. I know that a few years ago the event got canceled on account of rain, and I felt bad for all the athletes because they had been training all year for that one day. The day overall was a great success, and the athletes went home with a medal around their neck and a smile on their faces."

- Trevor Reilly | Belmont Hill '19