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Special Spectators - FSN Coverage

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Published on May 21, 2007

Special Spectators, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, creates magical days for seriously ill children and their parents at collegiate sporting events across the United States.

Since 2002, we've provided the quintessential Saturday experience complete with tailgate parties, mascots, cheerleaders and marching bands for approximately 3,800 children and parents. Over the last five years, we've hosted about 110 game day events that provide these kids with special access to people and areas of the stadium that are not accessible to most fans. Our youngsters tour locker rooms, meet coaches and walk on the field during a time out.

The field visit is a powerful moment. While the kids stand on the field, a stadium announcement tells fans why the kids are attending the game, explains Special Spectators and asks the crowd to give the children a warm welcome to the stadium. Typically this results in a standing ovation.

Special Spectators also coordinates student-athlete visits to children's hospitals. What we see during these visits is that a mutual admiration society is created. Clearly, these children view the athletes as heroes and the reverse is true as well. The athletes see what the children experience and more importantly, they are able to see the impact that they, as individuals, have on the children. This plants the seed of the gift of giving in the heart of the student athlete and, we believe, creates a commitment to service that extends into the future.

The idea for Special Spectators was originally formed out of participation in Landmark Education's Self Expression and Leadership Program (SELP).

To learn more, vist our website at www.SpecialSpectators.org

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