When Babson Athletics was seeking a community service partner three years ago, little did anyone know the impact it would have, especially for one Babson student-athlete and her family.
Babson teamed up with Special Olympics Massachusetts, and now plays host to hundreds of athletes for community basketball games and a regional basketball tournament on two Sundays in the winter. The event has been so successful that, in January, Babson received the 2018–2019 Community Service Award in the Special Olympics category by the National Association of Division III Athletic Administrators.
As rewarding as these events are for the Babson student-athletes, coaches, and staff, there’s one young woman in particular whose relationship with Special Olympics hits close to home.
Women’s volleyball player Kristin Carosotto ’20—a recent graduate whose family resides in East Greenwich, R.I.—grew up with Special Olympics. Her brother, Matthew, was born with Down syndrome.
“Special Olympics has the most accepting, most kind, most hard-working, giving people and community I have ever experienced,” Kristin said. “It’s an amazing organization that is so meaningful to so many people, and I feel it doesn’t get enough attention or funding. These kids need the littlest amount to have the greatest happiness.”
“These kids need the littlest amount to have the greatest happiness.”
Kristin Carosotto ’20, women’s volleyball player
It’s truly a family affair for the Carosottos, as Kristin’s mother is a special education teacher and two-time national champion volleyball coach for both East Greenwich High School’s unified team and the Special Olympics Rhode Island team. Kristin played on the unified basketball team in high school while her father and older brother are members of separate unified adult teams.
“With Special Olympics, you don’t focus on the achievement,” Kristin said, “you focus on the process you went through to give a kid with intellectual or physical disabilities an opportunity to shine and feel like they’re a normal athlete.”
That is the experience Babson Athletics tries to create when student-athletes, coaches, and staff volunteer as announcers, fans, referees, scorekeepers, and timekeepers. Members of Babson Public Safety and the Wellesley Police Department hand out medals after the games, and an athletes’ village offers various activities and games.
“Having Special Olympics at Babson was really interesting because my worlds collided,” Kristin said. “I always talk to my teammates about Special Olympics, and they get it; they understand what I’m saying, but you don’t really feel the joy and happiness in your heart of a Special Olympics event until you go and experience it.”
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