Students from the ROC Nijmegen are offered object-lessons at the INVICTUS GAMES DÜSSELDORF 2023 presented by Boeing. Eventually, they can put theory into practice.
The students of the ROC Nijmegen give participants at the Invictus Games a hand throughout the whole week. Their current school year of 28 persons aged 18 to 24 travelled to the INVICTUS GAMES DÜSSELDORF 2023 presented by Boeing.
Among them is Aaliyah, who has many interests. In her school in the Netherlands, they are learning the theory of sport and how to deal with people with disabilities. “We can practise it, but what it’s actually like, what the real challenges are for a person with a disability when practising their sport – we only see that here,” she explains.
The volunteers also feel the power, the energy, the spirit of the Invictus Games only on site in the Rhine metropolis. “It is very touching to hear and understand how they got into their situation,” says Aaliyah.
Here in Düsseldorf, the budding integration assistants are dealing with adults. This is also a new experience. The focus at the school is on children who are provided athletic support due to a mental disorder such as ADHD.
“We know their needs and help them cope better with everyday school life. The children are more exuberant, the parents are happy and the teachers also appreciate it very much,” says Nujin, a 21-year-old classmate.
Some students of the ROC Nijmegen simply help during the competitions by throwing the balls back onto the field. Apart from that, they pester the participants with their questions, which is obviously a great pleasure for both sides.
One of Aaliyah’s and Nujin’s favourite stories is the experience with the US competitor Kevin Greene. To thank him, he gave the students a great treat. “He threw his towel in the air and said that whoever catches it would get his signed jersey,” says Nujin while Aaliyah excitedly completes.
As an additional gift, the lower leg amputee Invictus participant also signed his blue and white shoe with “I AM INVICTUS”. Proud as can be, packed with sports gear and inspired by a unique experience, the students went back to their youth hostel that evening.
“It’s so wonderful to see how grateful people are that we care about them and their history,” mentions Nujin. “The things they give back to us, this incredible warmth and sense of community is indescribable.”
Their teacher Jaapjan knows these feelings. He has already been to the Invictus Games 2022 in The Hague. “The open-hearted vibe of the Invictus Games is unique,” Jaapjan says, “unlike in The Hague, it’s very easy to strike up a conversation with people here.” Even the most introverted student thaws out and comes out of his or her shell. It’s clear that an educator “likes that a lot”.
He also sees how his disciples show stamina and endurance during the long days. People appreciate their work so much, “then I say to myself, let’s go and move on!” expresses Nujin.
No one will be able to take away the impressions and experiences from the students of the ROC Nijmegen. They have also provided a souvenir to touch: pins. And behind every souvenir given away, exchanged or collected, there is a unique story.
Written by: Ann-Christin Mack
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