Saint Viator students were out in number late last month, to cheer on the adult team from St. Coletta’s of Wisconsin, who live in group homes in the Northwest suburbs, at the Special Olympics’ Area Spring Games.
The day of track and field events drew hundreds of special athletes, representing high schools and organizations across the Northwest suburbs, to compete at Prospect High School.
Saint Viator students not only cheered on the St. Coletta athletes, they helped warm them up for their events, walked them to their appropriate race area and stayed throughout the day to support the team.
“We had 20 Saint Viator students working that day, but 40 volunteered. We ended up having to turn some away,” said Fr. Charles Bolser, CSV, who established a connection between Saint Viator and St. Coletta’s last year.
St. Coletta’s of Wisconsin was founded in 1904, and it continues to be inspired by the Franciscan mission of compassion, dignity, and respect, in serving adults with developmental disabilities.
Its main residential facility is located in Jefferson, WI, but St. Coletta’s now serves adults in the Northwest suburbs, who live in 10 homes in the area and attend programs at a resource center in Rolling Meadows.
Fr. Bolser quietly continues his devotion to these adults with disabilities, saying Mass one night a week at their Rolling Meadows center. Since becoming chaplain at Saint Viator, Fr. Bolser has worked to find ways to involve Saint Viator students with this unique group of people.
It started one year ago, with the girls’ soccer team making a financial donation to St. Coletta’s Center, before attending a Mass with local residents. Last December, a group made up of Saint Viator football players, wrestlers and powerlifters attended a Christmas party with adults from St. Coletta’s before heading out to go Christmas caroling.
“It’s really inspiring to see the Saint Viator kids helping these adults, one-on-one,” Fr. Bolser added. “Both groups benefit from this kind of interaction.”