Senior helps coordinate Special Olympics

Kaci Parker
Staff Writer

Senior Kefentse Budd has found his calling in one of the most selfless ways possible: volunteering. It all started when he was exposed through a recreational field work class which required him to complete seven volunteer hours a week. He took it upon himself to make a trip to the Community Service office and from there was assigned to work the Special Olympics.
“Working with Kefentse is delightful,” said Director of Community Service Diane Hotaling. “He has the tools to plan an event and recruit volunteers. It is also refreshing because not many men put their hands to work.”
Budd has been an active participant in Community Service since the fall where he was a participant in Marlin Buddies. This program allowed him the opportunity to reach out to the mentally disabled community.
“I was always interested and enjoyed helping people because I had friends who had siblings who were intellectually disabled,” said Budd.
“Kefentse put his education to work and bloomed,” said Hotaling. “He was happy to make them happy.
Once he made connections within the special needs community, everything seemed to fall in place. Budd was appointed to help organize the Special Olympics, which were held on Saturday, Feb.23.
“I was in charge of finding volunteers, getting the supplies [T-shirts, wristbands, etc.], promoting the event and educating the public,” said Budd.
While people surrounding Budd began to notice a change in him, the Special Olympics was the trigger that brought his love for volunteering to the surface and motivated him to educate the campus about a population that tends to be overlooked.
“As a freshman it was like pulling teeth to get Kefentse Budd to talk,” said Associate Professor of Recreation and Leisure, John Braley. “But now he has come out of his shell and matured.”
This year the Special Olympics Basketball Tournament ran very smoothly and there was a great presence of volunteers, with a total of 129 volunteers; 85 of whom were our students. This year, they added a parade, true to the Olympic style, that included a torch walk and recitation of the symbolic Special Olympics pledge, which brought everyone together.
“Students rise to the occasion, they don’t let us down,” said Hotaling. “They made them feel welcome and a part of our campus.”
After the conclusion of the basketball tournament, it became clear that Budd was making connections beyond Wesleyan, and the service he provided meant more than words could describe.
“I fell in love with helping the volunteers and managing them throughout the event,” said Budd. “I hope that they become more comfortable and are more aware that the people with these disabilities are not different; they enjoy life as much as us.”
Budd has given much to this program, from organizing the Special Olympics to applying the skills from his internship to future projects he hopes to dedicate his time to.
“[Budd] is a true volunteer; he is choosing to do it on his own without credit,” said Braley. “The course is over and he is still doing it while working 37 hours a week for his internship and still finds the time to further his passion.”
Even though Budd will soon be graduating, his continued effort to make a difference will forever drive him to challenge himself. Currently, he is working with the Director of Norfolk to bring a young athletes program to campus.
“I never had something I started and it means a lot to me that I get to help people,” said Budd.
“[Budd’s] dedication can be portrayed through his classroom connection because he is doing all the right things,” said Hotaling. “He will leave a legacy.”