Last month, the Junior Orange Bowl hosted the 32nd annual Sports Ability Games, a three-day series of events for upwards of 300 physically challenged youth. The Sports Ability Games are just one component of more than 15 athletic and academic events that make up the Junior Orange Bowl festival, an annual happening that attracts more than 7,500 participants from South Florida and beyond.
Since 1948, the Junior Orange Bowl has celebrated the athletic, academic, and creative talents and strengths of young people from all over the world. “Our organization has expanded its vision to host competitive athletic, academic and cultural arts events in a culturally rich, diverse and safe environment,” explains the organization, of its more than 65 years supporting and championing the talents of children.
One of the things that makes the Junior Orange Bowl and its yearly events so unique is how the organization is just as focused on the physical skills of young people as it is on celebrating their creativity and academic potential. In addition to athletic events like tennis and basketball, activities such as photography, creative writing, and chess are all part of the Junior Orange Bowl.
Now in its 32nd year, the Sports Ability Games have been instrumental in helping hundreds of children set goals for themselves and expand their horizons annually. According to the Miami Herald, the events are designed to accommodate children with a wide range of physical disabilities including amputation, blindness, deafness, cerebral palsy, and others. Event Chairperson Richard Naue explains that the “games are developmental in nature so participants can take on new challenges in a non-threatening environment with the appropriate encouragement and support.” Naue adds, “It also provides our volunteer community with the opportunity to make a difference in a child’s life even for just one day.”
Event partners that make the Junior Orange Bowl’s Sports Ability Games possible include KIND Healthy Snacks, Whole Foods Supermarkets, Walgreens, and other corporate sponsors. Local sponsors include Coffey Burlington, a Miami-based law firm headed by Kendall Coffey and Robert Burlington, longtime supporters of local charity initiatives, the University of Miami Physical Therapy Department, and Melreese Country Club.
Learn more about the Junior Orange Bowl by visiting the organization’s official website.