Special Spectators is a children’s charity that began as a Self-Expression and Leadership Program project in 2002. Under the leadership of founder Blake Rockwell, the organization creates opportunities for seriously ill children to attend major college sporting events. Sometimes referred to as the little engine that could, Special Spectators weathered the 2008 economic crisis through a unique partnership major university athletic programs and alumni associations. In U.S. states that do not have major professional sports teams, college athletic teams are enormously popular.
Attendance at these college football games is higher than the National Football League. Children get to participate in a full day of events including meeting players and coaches, visiting the team’s facilities and even be on the sidelines during the game. This is often something that would not be possible for families struggling with the financial impact of children with serious and chronic illnesses.
The Gatorade, For the Love of Sports competition runs through September 3 – people can cast a new vote each day.