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April 22, 2014 | North America: Ohio

We all have a purpose. We all have strengths...

By Morgan Allred

As student-athletes, we get thrust into a routine of practice and class. Sometimes, however, we get tossed out of our routine. Working with Special Olympics gets rid of the ordinary in the best way possible. Greeted by warm hugs and unforgettable faces is uplifting and rewarding. I've been part of this program for 2 years and it feels like I have grown up with these athletes. Each person I hugged and high-fived remembered me and couldn't wait to play volleyball. As athletes, we get recognized by athletic directors, coaches, our conference. But being recognized by these guys? Incomparable. Loving these kids is something that truly brings purpose to me. The faces I have come to know and love are truly heroic. Each year, this event makes me step back and gain perspective. These athletes never fail to reel my mind back into what is truly important - loving others and realizing that "we all have our purpose and we all have our strengths," and how we use these qualities is up to us.

About Morgan Allred: Morgan Allred is an Outside Hitter and Defensive Specialist for the University of Cincinnati Lady Bearcats and is currently in her sophomore year.

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