Children with disabilities recently gathered at BYU’s Clarence F. Robison Track and Field Complex to participate in varying track and field events.
This tradition is called Hope for Kids and has been an annual event for many years. Participants within the community get excited for the event months in advance. The kids know they will be participating in many events they wouldn’t normally be able to.
Track and field athlete Sean Adams expressed his love for the event.
“No matter what you have going on in your life, you look at these kids and just get a huge smile on your face,” Adams said. “Then you look at what they are doing and recognize they just have a giant smile on their face.”
The track and field team comes together to help these kids with the events. The athletes look forward to this event every year and recognize how meaningful the activities are for the children.
“It’s awesome to see that no matter what situation they have in life, these kids know that life is meant to be filled with the upmost joy,” Adams said.
At the Oct. 14 event, the children ran around the track, trying to participate in every event as many times as possible. Many of the events made for the kids were changed in some way to make it possible for them to succeed.
The 100-meter dash was run exactly like it would be run collegiately. The instructor of the event had blocks lined up at the starting line for the kids, with the gun ready to start the race and the athletes there to help teach the correct mechanics. After the kids walked up to the starting line, they realized they were running like the collegiate athletes. Many of the BYU athletes demonstrated how the race should be run, and it was then that the children’s faces just lit up with excitement knowing they got to try and replicate the athlete.
BYU cross country runner Monica Houston believes that the kids love to be active.
“This was a chance for the BYU athletes to educate kids on how important it is to stay active and form a love or passion for something,” Houston said. “All these kids seemed extremely passionate about competing at Hope for Kids.”
Kaylee Packham, a BYU track and field athlete, felt a sense of pride and satisfaction after the event.
“It makes the kids happy,” Packham said. “I enjoy seeing all the kids happy doing something that I love.”