Greetings LETR officers,
We hope this letter finds you well. Amidst the challenging times we are going through, Special Olympics New Mexico and our Law Enforcement Torch Run program remains resilient and hopeful for better times to come. Our Special Olympics athletes and their families are our top priority and we are doing all that we can to ensure their health and wellness is being preserved during this outbreak.
Cancellation of the Special Olympics New Mexico 2020 State Summer Games
Recently, Special Olympics New Mexico announced that “after careful consideration, we have made additional decisions regarding the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) on our organization and community.” In abiding to guidelines from the CDC, the State of New Mexico, and Special Olympics, Inc. (SOI), Special Olympics New Mexico will adhere to the following guidelines through May 31:
- Cancellation of all sports training (practices).
- Cancellation of all competitions including area qualifying competitions and State Summer Games.
The Impact on Special Olympics Athletes
For many of our athletes, Special Olympics is either their main source or only source of health, fitness, and social and emotional wellness. Because of the Special Olympics sports training and competition program, they not only benefit from the joy of sport, but from the spirit of competition, and gain dignity from their own personal achievements. Because of Special Olympics Health wellness and education initiatives, athletes can receive free screenings and services that can be more difficult for them to come by outside of Special Olympics. The Unified Champion Schools opportunities foster a level of peer-to-peer, youth connection and inclusion that is unmatched in other educational settings.
How your LETR Agency and local businesses can help
Through Torch Run fundraising, we can continue to ensure that Special Olympics sports training, competition, along with health and educational initiatives, will remain intact for all athletes and their families when times are tough and all other areas are uncertain. As we navigate through the health and community guidelines set by health organizations, our local governments, and Special Olympics to combat the spread of the coronavirus, we ask that you first focus on keeping your health and safety a priority, and second remain hopeful in our fundraising efforts to ensure our Flame of Hope never loses it light for our athletes. At this time we request the cancellation of all agency fundraising activities that involve mass gatherings of more than 10 people, and we encourage you to consider hosting Online Agency Fundraising Campaigns, partnering with local businesses deemed essential by the state of NM, and others who can raise funds using our Torch Icon campaigns. And if you see our athletes either online or out and about, please check in with them. What constitutes as social distancing to us in reality can lead to social isolation for our athletes. We want to keep in constant contact with them as much as possible. We know that despite government mandates leading to temporary business closures and suspended events such as our own State Summer Games, that you as first responders join other frontline leaders in serving our communities. That is why we say thank you. Thank you for living the LETR Oath, which concludes with:
“I will protect, defend, and befriend all those who seek the joy of Special Olympics sport, and I will always be a Guardian of Flame Of Hope.”