Yooralla staff and clients from the Benalla Community Hub and residential services participated in the Law Enforcement Torch Run (LETR) in Benalla last week as part of the Victoria Police tour across the country to raise awareness and funds for the Special Olympics.
The LETR is a worldwide movement in which police officers and Special Olympic athletes run the 'Flame of Hope' to the opening ceremony of local Special Olympic competitions.
The goal of the LETR is to underpin various Special Olympics Australia programs and initiatives in Victoria with a focus on equality, physical and mental health, sports participation and social inclusion.
Graeme Brennan, Service Leader at the Yooralla Benalla Community Hub, said the 12 clients, who were supported by Yooralla staff to attend, really enjoyed participating in one of the biggest community events in Benalla and all walked away smiling.
“It was a really great opportunity to be asked to participate in such a significant event that is occurring across the country; and to witness that joy and excitement on the faces of the participants involved was well worth the organisation that went into it,” he said.
A Yooralla client, Jenny (pictured right), said the event was a lot of fun.
“It was really good to be a part of, as I had never done anything like that before with the police force. I used to do Special Olympics and it was great to be involved,” she said.
The Special Olympics is different from the Paralympics. The latter is open to all elite athletes with any disability, whether it is intellectual, or physical. The Special Olympics is for people with intellectual disability.
Another Yooralla client, Fiona, was invited to take part in the lighting of a cauldron – the culmination of the two-hour event.
“It was good, I had lots of fun! I was excited to light the cauldron, I would like to do something like that again,” she said.
The aim of the one-week police tour is to promote the importance of inclusion and acceptance of people with an intellectual disability across regional Victoria.
After Benalla, the tour will head to Wangaratta, Beechworth, Wodonga, Rutherglen, Yarrawonga and Cobram.