by Kimberly Sampson

For the second straight year, the Young Athletes™ Festival marked the official start of the Special Olympics Michigan State Fall Games. And once again, several members from Team Mattel were among those who took time to volunteer at the event, which was held on Friday, September 25 at the Ann Arbor Marriott Ypsilanti at Eagle Crest.

Athletes ranging from ages two through seven participated in activities to spark growth, play, and a healthy lifestyle. Mattel's continued support and dedication helped make the State Fall State Games a special and exciting time for 64 of Special Olympics Michigan's littlest athletes.

Volunteer Debbi Koppin has been working with Mattel for 20 years. Koppin and co-worker Joanell Pond have been volunteering with Special Olympics for 14 years.

"You can never go wrong with a Special Olympics Event," said Koppin. "Mattel's a global company, and we have employees volunteer where they are and make it local. When you work for a toy company, it just goes together."

In 2005, Special Olympics was named one of Mattel's global Signature Partners and the company has continued to support various youth programs over the last 20 years including Young Athletes™ , Youth Activation and Get Into It® through The Mattel Children's Foundation in just over 100 countries. Nearly 3,000 Mattel employees volunteer with various Special Olympics programs every year. Today, Team Mattel is active in about 50 countries, making it the largest global corporate volunteer team for Special Olympics.