4th annual Garnet Valley Invitational held

Glenn Mills, Pa. (WTXF) The 4th annual Garnet Valley Invitational is-- nominally-- about a morning's worth of track and field events. But for the participants, it is about so much more. 

"Pure joy,” is how event co-organizer Robyn Wozniak describes it.  “This is the best day out there-- everyone is so proud of themselves.  They're proud of their friends.  Everyone is cheering each other on.  It's just the best day.

300 special needs kids representing middle and high schools from 11 Delaware county districts, prepare all year for their moment in the sun.

"I was excited!” Julia McKay told us.  “I couldn't sleep!”

 There are running races. And softball throws. And soccer ball dribbling.  But the actual events hardly matter. This is about competing and showing kids with physical and intellectual challenges, that there is a place for them in their community.

Tiara Womack says, of competing against her friends, “It's fun.  Easy, not hard!"

Matthew Mongkholrat agrees.  “It's very fun.  Exercise!"

Like most track and field meets, this one ends with a medal ceremony. Not just to honor the winners, but to recognize those who overcame hurdles just to be here.

Chris Amabile’s son Andrew is on the autism spectrum.

“You realize that there are other people in your shoes as well,”  he says.  “And have the same challenges that you have."

His wife Betty watches their son and smiles.  “It brings tears to my eyes when I see how happy this makes him, to be a part of it and to feel a sense of accomplishment."




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