Rob and Alex are best buds, and this summer the duo will compete in the 2022 Special Olympics U.S. Games in Orlando.
Both are Baptist Children’s Homes of North Carolina residents at the Alverta Bolick Home in Asheville. They also are teammates on the Buncombe County Special Olympic soccer team.
“You have to try out to be on the team,” Rob noted. “But if you try out and don’t make the team, you can still come and practice anyway.”
“We warm up first thing at practice,” Alex chimed in. “We do stretches and drills and then we scrimmage. I like when we scrimmage.”
All five Bolick Home residents participate at county Special Olympic events throughout the year. Rob is a “Global Messenger.” He has been trained in public speaking and serves as an ambassador for Special Olympics. Rob recruits potential athletes, volunteers and sponsors through public presentations.
Both men enjoy playing soccer. They know how to pass the ball, and each knows the position he plays and what is expected in the game.
Rob is proud of his defense: “I try to stay between the player with the ball and the goal.”
“I’m the one who gets the ball and scores — sometimes,” Alex added.
Rob was the first resident to live at Alverta Bolick Home after it opened in 2006. He recalled how it was hard to leave his childhood home in nearby Weaverville, but he visits with his mother often. He is light hearted, often joking around with the other residents. Now 52, Rob says he has always valued the friendships he has with the other men.
“I love living here. It is comfortable,” he said. “My favorite people live her. Alex lives here. We hangout, play games, and have a good time together.”
Rob is more somber as he reflects on his dad’s passing in 2019. Alex quickly lifts his spirits saying, “Your dad was so funny and was a good guy.” Rob smiled and agreed.
Alex came to Bolick Home in 2009 after his mom died from cancer. He was 18 years old. Today, the 30-year-old lets everyone know that Rob is his best friend. “I like hanging out with Rob. He shares happiness with everyone.,” Alex said.
Opportunities for growth
Baptist Children’s Homes of North Carolina’s ministry for special needs adults is designed to serve men and women with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
BCH offers a safe living environment with a Christian atmosphere which includes opportunities for spiritual enrichment, preparation of nutritious meals, transportation, enhancement of daily independent living and social skills.
“We like going to church on Sunday, we just walk over,” Alex noted. “It’s right there.” He pointed to Calvary Baptist Church where the men attend Bible study and worship on Sundays.
“I think God is great,” Rob said. “I look forward to the day when I go to heaven and meet Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.”
The men stay busy during the week attending classes at the community college and doing other off-site activities. But for now, Rob and Alex only have one thing on their minds — the Special Olympics U.S Games.
“There is a private jet that will fly us to Florida,” Alex said. “I really want to do my best. It would be great to win a gold medal and go to the Special Olympics World Games.”
Alverta Bolick Home is one of nine homes serving individuals with intellectual and development disabilities in six communities across North Carolina. The long-term care homes help meet the unique needs through gender-specific group homes. The goal is for residents to reach their highest level of independence.
To learn more, visit www.bchfamily.org/idd.