United Future Leaders Host Christmas Party for Special Olympics Athletes

United Future Leaders (UFL) will host Special Olympics athletes and accompanying family members at a Dec. 8 Christmas party at the United Spirit Arena.

Written by Cory Chandler

United Future Leaders (UFL) will host Special Olympics athletes and accompanying family members at a Dec. 8 Christmas party at the United Spirit Arena.

Prior to the party, a breakfast honoring UFL graduates will begin at 8:30 a.m. Fifty-seven UFL participants have been meeting weekly since September with staff members from the Texas Tech University Center for Prevention and Resiliency.

Graduates will have an opportunity to enter the arena floor as if they were Texas Tech basketball players, with their names announced overhead and former Lady Raiders Basketball Coach Marsha Sharp waiting to greet them.

The Special Olympics party begins at 10:30 a.m., with Santa and Mrs. Claus expected to make an appearance by 11:30 a.m. UFL students will interact with Special Olympians through six stations featuring activities such as dribbling and bowling.

The party is the final of three service lessons taught to UFL students this semester.

UFL promotes values such as civility, ethics and leadership for fifth- and sixth-grade students. The program was founded in March through a $1 million gift by United Supermarkets to the Center for Prevention and Resiliency, housed in the College of Human Sciences and co-directed by Sharp and Kitty Harris-Wilkes.

"When we founded United Future Leaders with United Supermarkets, we did so with the goal of equipping kids with the values necessary to successfully navigate middle school while making a positive mark on their communities," said Linda Hoover, dean of the College of Human Sciences. "This service project with Special Olympics athletes is exactly the type of outreach we envisioned."

The breakfast and the service project are underwritten by the Lubbock Chamber of Commerce Leadership Class of 2008.

Contact: Gloria Gonzales, research associate, Center for Prevention and Resiliency, Texas Tech University, (806) 742-2891 ext. 262, or gloria.gonzales@ttu.edu.