Come out and support a local athlete next week when the New York Special Olympics will once again return to the Hudson Valley.

Dutchess, Orange and Ulster Counties have been gearing up for months in anticipation of the NY Special Olympic Games, the same can be said for our volunteers but the athletes, well that's been years in the making.

According to the Southwest Dutchess Daily Voice one such athlete is Jonathan Peterson, a student at the Anderson Center for Autism in Staatsburg. The 20 year old will be making his Olympic debut on the 18th as his skates at the McCann Ice Arena in Poughkeepsie.

Jonathan has been enrolled at the Anderson center for five years and has Anna LaFerriere, the recreation program director to thank for introducing him to his love of skating. LaFerriere tells SWDV that Jonathan developed his talents as an ice skater through their therapeutic ice skating program. Saying Jonathan was a natural, that he loved the challenge and the picked up the sport very quickly.


In the article Jonathan's mother, Karlamarie Peterson, explains how she never thought in a million years that she would be witnessing her son skate at the Special Olympics. She credits her son's coach Laurie May for helping him come so far.

"She understands the ups and downs," Peterson said. "He has good days and bad days- frustration and victories are part of the process. She was willing to work with him one to one."

Peterson says since her son started ice skating, Jonathan's balance, coordination, speech, motor skills and socialization skills have all improved. You can join Jonathan in support this Saturday, February 18th at the McCann Ice Arena in Poughkeepsie between 12pm and 2pm. Best of luck to Jonathan and all our Hudson Valley Athletes as they compete over the two days of events.