When adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) compete in the Special Olympics, they can develop social and emotional soft skills.

Gabriel Homes resident playing softball.

Many residents at Gabriel Homes compete in sports all year...

... from powerlifting to bowling to softball.

Rich, a resident at Gabriel Homes, is a slugger who wrapped up his spring softball season with the Fairfax Cougars. Meeting with the team on Saturday mornings at Eakin Park, Rich plays first base and hits sixth in the batting order. 

“I’ve liked the Mets since I was a boy, and baseball is my favorite sport to watch and play. Batting and fielding are always fun for me, even in hot weather.”
Gabriel Homes resident playing softball.
Rich
Gabriel Homes Resident

Marc Egan met Rich at the Special Olympics when Marc was 12. Marc’s brother David competed in many sports with Rich. Growing up as an IDD advocate and now as a Special Olympics coach, Marc has built a lifelong friendship with Rich by seeing Nats games together and spending time with each other’s families.

Rich and I have been mentors to each other all my life. We’ve grown closer together because of the camaraderie at games and memories of traveling to different tournaments. On long car rides, we’ve bonded over our admiration for baseball.

Gabriel Homes residents playing softball.

But as the saying goes, there is no “I” in “team.”

Like Rich, teammates like Austin and Matt have competed in the Special Olympics for years. Austin calls every tournament a blast and hopes more people come out to play, and Matt is thankful for chances to play since he didn’t compete as a kid. 

“Playing in the Special Olympics is a dream come true,” Matt says. “You get to do something fun with people with IDD, and there’s so much support from the community to play in whatever sport you want.”

If you’re curious about what residents do during the week,

... see what a day in the life is like at Gabriel Homes.

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