WCU-OC Student Volunteers Support Healthy Athletes at SoCal Special Olympics

Volunteers from West Coast University helped share their knowledge and skill this November by providing health screenings and education at the 2023 Special Olympics Southern California Fall Games in Fountain Valley. 

Approximately 30 WCU-Orange County students and faculty from the bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) and bachelor of science in dental hygiene (BSDH) programs attended the event, supporting Special Olympics participants and their families in the Healthy Athletes tent. West Coast University was a proud sponsor of the Fall Games, which drew hundreds of athletes from around California to compete in golf, soccer, softball, tennis, and volleyball.

“Sports has a long history of breaking down barriers, and the Southern California Special Olympics are a beautiful example of inclusion through competition,” WCU vice president of university relations Renee Schweitzer shared. “It made me proud to witness the true engagement and compassion that our students demonstrated in their health stations.”

At the Special Smiles health station, dental hygiene students provided athletes with proper brushing and flossing techniques.

“My experience has been great,” BSDH student Isabella T. said. “I love getting to talk to people and getting a better understanding of their oral hygiene routine.”

“It’s extremely important for us to stay diverse and introduce new products and new techniques to everyone,” BSDH student Alyssa D. said. “A lot of people don’t have access to dentists or toothbrushes, and they don’t have the proper knowledge on how to brush their teeth either. It’s important for us in the dental hygiene field to get out there, volunteer, and spread our knowledge.” 

Nursing students staffed the Health Promotion station where they shared helpful tips on nutrition and sun safety, advised athletes on the risks of smoking, and checked blood pressure, height, and weight. 

“I wish I had these kinds of resources when I was an athlete,” BSN student and former tennis player Arabella V. said. “I think taking care of their health will bring out the best performance for these athletes when they go out to their games.” 

“It’s important to me to be able to use the knowledge that I gain in the classroom,” BSN student Gabriel R. said. “It’s one thing to study for a test, but it’s another thing to be able to come out here and take someone’s blood pressure. It’s important to us as students to be able to transfer that knowledge into the real world.” 

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