On June 15, 2014, WeLoveU volunteers began their journey at 3 AM to celebrate the commencement of the Special Olympics and share love with more than 3,500 athletes from every state. The members were granted special tickets to the Opening Ceremony at the Prudential Center in Newark, where they assembled colorful cards on the stands for all the athletes to see, spelling out the message “We Love U.”
WeLoveU volunteers also responded to the staff shortage at the bowling and tennis events by gathering balls, guiding athletes, cheering them on throughout their games, and inspiring hope and goodwill for their efforts. The bright smiles and kind words from the athletes were etched into the hearts of the volunteers who were moved by the cheers.
New Jersey became home to more than 80,000 spectators, athletes, coaches and family members during the 2014 Special Olympics USA National Games. The athletes competed in 14 Olympic-style sports at Mercer County Park with the support of 1,000 coaches and 8,000 volunteers. The games were created to empower and encourage those living with intellectual disabilities and to garner support from people throughout the world for showing great “human spirit.”