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“Top It Up” hopes to generate support for sports programs and opportunities for the athletes

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Winnipeg teacher Melissa Diamond has contributed to Special Olympics as a volunteer and coach for 13 years, and hopes folks “Top It Up” at wine stores to support future programs.

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Melissa Diamond is a teacher in Seven Oaks School Division and Special Olympics Head Coach of The North End Seals and Team Manitoba. In 2014 she became a Team Manitoba coach for Special Olympics and took a year off 2019 to be a part of Team Canada.

“Special Olympics is so fantastic. I coach swimming locally, as well as being the provincial team coach and I coached the national team in 2019. I’ve been involved with Special Olympics at all levels,” says Diamond, and she’s looking forward to the resumption of the live events and having a role to play in World games.

Special Olympics relies heavily on volunteers like Melissa, to run the programs and funds are always needed to send coaches and athletes to local, provincial, national and international competitions. With ongoing fundraising efforts, costs to coaches and athletes are minimal to nothing and donated funds provide subsidies for training programs.

Sports programs through Special Olympics provide opportunities to tear down barriers to success, to enjoy respect, to travel, and gain experiences just like any other athletes. Sport is a catalyst to bigger and greater things. It creates opportunities not only in physical health and wellness but opportunities for social and emotional development. Special Olympics provides these types of opportunities for individuals living with an intellectual disability. With the Covid-19 pandemic harshly affecting safe participation in sports programs, Special Olympics Manitoba has had to suspend all sports and recreation programming.

Normally, Special Olympics hosts The Winnipeg Wine Festival in May. Due to government health order restrictions, things are definitely not business as usual this year. Special Olympics had no choice but to postpone The 2020 Winnipeg Wine Festival but knew it was a winning theme.

This year, Special Olympics has had to think outside the box and they have designed a new fundraiser called Top It Up. On their behalf, private wine stores in Winnipeg are asking customers to “Top Up” their purchase to donate to Special Olympics.

By supporting a fundraiser, such as Top it Up, you are helping the many athletes in our communities around the province, have access to programs and training opportunities. Special Olympics Manitoba needs public support so that when it is safe to return to play, there will be programs available for the athletes to return to.

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For Melissa Diamond, it has been a 13-year journey of coaching.

She started coaching in Special Olympics as a university practicum, an 8-hour course requirement that spawned her teaching career. “Special Olympics coaching has made me a better coach, a better teacher and a better person.”

Melissa brought the Special Olympics in the Schools program to her own school. It allows special athletes and non-special athletes to do activities together.

The program offers the opportunity for kids who aren’t used to being inclusive get on board with volunteer coaching. It opens their eyes so they can see special olympics and non-special olympics athletes in a whole new light and realize that they are athletes. Just like any other athletes who work hard to improve and work even harder to win. Special Olympics is not just for kids. There are kids, of course, there are also adults. Young adults and people of all different ages.

Melissa Diamond of Winnipeg celebrates each and every participant in Special Olympics and credits the program for making her “a better coach, a better teacher and a better person.”

Parents of one such athlete had this to say when asked about their experience with Special Olympics Manitoba:

“Three years ago my son and I walked into a gym to meet our coach and the rest of the Special Olympics “Team Edge” for his first skiing ‘dry land’ practice. This was the best decision we have ever made! This program has completely changed his life, the way Special Olympics has for so many others. Like others, this organization has missed many crucial fundraisers such as the Winnipeg Wine Festival, that help keep these amazing programs going. That’s why we were part of planning a fundraiser to help these athletes be a part of this program for years to come.”

Coach Melissa has made many incredible memories herself so far. Such as going as part of Team Canada to The Special Olympics and watching the world’s best athletes perform.

“The relationships between athletes who consider me family is wonderful. They’re my friends and they are some amazing people. This year they miss their sports. We need funds to make that happen when COVID restrictions are lifted. They want to win and they want to win fairly. They want to win because it’s hard not because it’s easy. I wouldn’t trade any of that experience for anything.” said Diamond.

Please consider adding a $1 to one of your bottles or even $12 to your case you are ordering. Each and every dollar will make a difference in the lives of so many incredible athletes that have been a part of Special Olympics. Top It Up will run from Dec 1 to Dec 31st, 2020.

Here is a list of the stores involved:

  • Jones & Company Wine Merchants
  • Calabria Market & Wine Store
  • De Nardi Wine Store (La Boutique Del Vino) & De Nardi Grocery Store
  • De Lucas Grocery on McGillvary Blvd (but not the wine store on Portage Ave.)
  • Element Wine & Spirits at the Forks
  • G.J. Andrews Food & Wine Shoppe
  • The Winehouse
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Thank you for choosing TheJ.Ca as your source for Canadian Jewish News.

We do news differently!

Our positioning as a Zionist News Media platform sets us apart from the rest. While other Canadian Jewish media are advocating increasingly biased progressive political and social agendas, TheJ.Ca is providing more and more readers with a welcome alternative and an ideological home.

We revealed the incursion of anti-Israel progressive elements such as IfNotNow into our communities. We have exposed the distorted hateful agenda of the “progressive” left political radicals who brought Linda Sarsour to our cities, and we were first to report on many disturbing incidents of Nazi-based hate towards Jews across Canada.

But we can’t do it alone. We need your HELP!

Our ability to thrive and grow in 2020 and beyond depends on the generosity of committed readers and supporters like you.

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