SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – The South Plainfield Special Athletes (SPSA) will be holding a character breakfast fundraiser on Saturday, May 20. Proceeds from the event will fund events and equipment for the community’s special athletes.

Taking place at the South Plainfield Senior Center from 9 to 12 a.m., the event will feature breakfast, craft stations, tattoos, and face painting along with a meet and greet and photo opportunities with some ‘famous’ friends, including Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Daisy, Goofy, Woody and Buzz Lightyear to name a few. Tickets are  $10 per person (in advance only) with the cost covering all scheduled activities.

To help make the event a success, SPSA is also seeking support in the form of goods with baked goods, breakfast items (eggs, sausage, bacon, etc.), juices and water needed. Monetary support is also needed. The names of all sponsors who contribute items and/or a minimum $10 donation will be included on an event placemat, which will be set and replaced at each seat throughout the breakfast.

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SPSA, which is coached by Brittany Lillis and Heather Hearne Pascale – both special education teachers for South Plainfield Schools, is comprised of special needs individuals ages 8 to adult. Participants take part in track and field events throughout the spring and attend practices Mondays and Wednesdays at South Plainfield’s Jost Field.

“The motto of the South Plainfield Special Athletes is ‘Training for Life.’ Our goal as coaches is to help our members not only become better athletes but, more importantly, better people and one way to do that is to involve them in fundraisers that give back to the community,” Lillis told TAPinto South Plainfield last year. “We hope these life lessons stick with them, on and off the track.”

Proceeds from the character breakfast will benefit the non-profit organization and its students. “This event will help our athletes earn funds to purchase new uniforms and equipment for the upcoming season as well as provide an opportunity for the athletes to socialize with members of the local community and spread awareness of differing abilities to children and adults alike,” said Michelle Both, whose 14-year-old son Kyle has Down syndrome.

On May 6, SPSA members will take part in a regional meet at Carteret High School followed by a state competition June 9-11 at the College of New Jersey. During these events, SPSA members will take part in such events as shot put, javelin throw, long jump, 100/50-meter run/walk (depending on one’s ability) and relay races.

“Through SPSA, children with special needs are provided the opportunity to compete at their level and not be judged on what they can and cannot do,” said Both, adding that the character breakfast is a great way to show support for SPSA athletes and the organization.

“It is nice for people to see how similar kids and adults with special needs are to ‘typical’ kids,” she said. “They just may do things a little differently.

The South Plainfield Special Athletes Character Breakfast will be held Saturday, May 20 from 9 to 12 a.m. at the South Plainfield Senior Center. Tickets are $10 per person in advance only at this time.

To purchase tickets, to make a donation, or to be a sponsor, contact Michele Both at (908) 531-5100 or via email at micheleboth@hotmail.com, Checks, payable to ‘South Plainfield Special Athletes,’ can be sent to Both at 133 Oakmanor Parkway, South Plainfield, NJ 07080. Businesses looking to be sponsors must send donations and business cards in by May 5.

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