MATP to the Rescue with fun-filled activities
Broad smiles and whoops of joy made for a lively atmosphere on the morning of May 7 at Fremont Middle School, which hosted the annual Motor Activities Training Program.
This year’s theme, “MATP to the Rescue,” was enlivened by visits from the Roseburg Fire Department, the Roseburg Police Department and the Umpqua National Forest Service. Representatives of each, Smokey Bear included, did more than generate excitement. Flanked by motorcycles, engines and patrol cars, these professional rescuers interacted with students. They also handed out awards to MATP athletes in a Special Olympics-style event.
Sharon Osborne, occupational therapist with Douglas ESD, said last week’s event drew 33 MATP athletes, ages 3 to 21. Each one received a medal and was accompanied by a peer partner, either a fellow student or family member. All peer partners were awarded certificates of appreciation. Fremont Leadership students and teens from the Roseburg High School Partners Club helped out with organizational duties. About 50 volunteers took part in a roster of activities that included a parade, golf ramp bowling, basketball, switch-activated games, a soccer ball for kicking and a “piano” played by touching pieces of food.
Sharon said the annual activity is a chance for these young students to “come and participate in motor activities out with a peer partner and be recognized by the community. This is their event, where kids come from all over the county, and some of them start asking as early as the fall when this year’s event will be.”
Though it takes many hands and much time to organize each year, Sharon doesn’t hesitate when asked what makes the planning worthwhile. “This is an amazing event where parents and siblings get to come and cheer for their child, and where students with a variety of motor impairments have the opportunity to participate in activities they would not typically get to do.
“One of our athletes was able to get out of his wheelchair and sit on a police motorcycle. He will remember that day for the rest of his life.”
The next MATP event will take place May 5, 2016. Be sure to reserve part of your Cinco de Mayo to salute MATP kids, their peer partners and all the community members who add color to this special day!