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Contagious Joy: von Drehle and Special Olympics

The first Games of the Special Olympics North Carolina were held in 1970, and since then, our state’s program has become one of the largest Special Olympics programs in the world. Each year, nearly 40,000 children and adults with intellectual disabilities participate in Special Olympics North Carolina, and von Drehle has been proud to support Richmond County Special Olympics since November 2016.

Richmond County Special Olympics hosts a number of events throughout the year, from Bocce ball in the fall to bowling in March, but April’s Spring Games are a major highlight. During the Spring Games, participants compete in events like ball tosses, relays and more at Richmond Senior High School. Each participant is paired with a sponsor from the high school, including football players, cheerleaders and other student athletes.

The Special Olympics are entirely volunteer-funded. They receive no funding from the state or county and rely on donations and support from the community. von Drehle has been honored to offer support not just financially, but in other ways as well. Our employees have volunteered at bowling events and on the Bocce courts, acted as scorekeepers, given out medals and more. We’ve also provided storage space for equipment at our Cordova facility, food donations and more.

Our involvement with Special Olympics began back in 2016, when Director of Operations – Paper Manufacturing Justin Dawkins encouraged our teams to get involved in the community. That’s what started our involvement, but the joy our employees get from helping out is why we’ve stayed. 

According to von Drehle team member Christy Leviner, the best part about participating in Special Olympics is seeing the smiles on the kids’ faces on the field. It’s an opportunity for the participants to play and compete just like other kids, and the joy that creates is contagious. 

In 2018, von Drehle was honored as Corporation of the Year by Richmond County Special Olympics, and although this year has been a bit different because of COVID-19, we very much look forward to serving our community on the Bocce courts, in the bowling alley and on the fields again! 

To learn more about Richmond County Special Olympics, or to make a donation to support this awesome organization, please click here.