Love in the AirThe love found in the hearts of caring Lowcountry residents generously flows and opens many doors of possibilities! Fellow islanders with special needs and disabilities can experience social and uplifting activities that provide heartwarming encounters for the participants AND volunteers from numerous nonprofit organizations. Special Olympics and Recreation, Programs for Exceptional People, and Pockets Full of Sunshine are a few of our area's inspiring and admirable operations.  

Special Olympics and Recreation, SOAR

Recreation is more than an energetic outing; it’s an anticipated experience of accomplishing a goal, participating in a grand event, and feeling worthy of cheer and encouragement from fans! Soar makes exceptional recreation achievable for disabled and special needs residents and is best known for planning and managing the Special Olympics. Equestrian, basSpecial Olympicsketball, cheerleading, and track and field are a few of their organized events, with bocce ball and swimming on the horizon at the Island Recreation Center. SOAR partners with similar agencies and families to offer additional sports and recreation after school and during the summer.  

A Hilton Head Island High School senior who recently volunteered at Special Olympics shared, “It feels really rewarding being able to contribute to their happiness.” This uplifting nonprofit group unites all ages of participants and volunteers and promotes healthy and active island living while sharing smiles.  

Programs for Exceptional People, PEP

If success in life is measured by happiness, PEP members will rank at the top! Since 1995, PEP’s goal has been to enhance the lives of adult community members with special needs by enriching their unique abilities. Interactive training by staff and volunteers teaches life skills in arts & crafts, cooking, computers, literacy, finance, music, sign language, and more. PEP uses engaging activities to help equip participants in personal safety, assisted employment, and in some cases, independent living. The Island Recreation Center’s Adaptive Recreation Director and PEP work together to offer beneficial exercise. Physical fitness is also enjoyed in outdoor activities such as walking and gardening. A higher quality of life is possible thanks to PEP's heartfelt support and encouragement in the Lowcountry.  

Pockets Full of Sunshine (PFS)

Pocklets of SunshineAdults with disabilities in Hilton Head and Bluffton are known as rays of sunshine to the tender-hearted leadership team and volunteers at PFS. Since 2015 the group has given purpose to many Rays after high school graduation through meaningful involvement and an increased social calendar! 

The 60-plus members work together to enhance life skills at craft and social time, creating products that sell in the Sunshine Shop. PFS encourages giving back through beneficial and sustainable services such as beach sweeps and recycling plastic and oysters. Appropriate activities teach self-worth with an appreciation for each Ray’s unique contributions, thus promoting a true sense of belonging to the Lowcountry community.          

Additional information:

SOAR: Local Life Magazine Building, 800 Main Street, Hilton Head Island, (843)422-5747

PEP: Covenant Presbyterian Church of the Lowcountry 39 Sheridan Park Circle, Suite 2, Bluffton, SC, (843)681-8413

PFS: 29 Pine Island Road, Hilton Head Island, (423)760-2103

 Contributed by Janice Magnin

Posted by Christina Galbreath-Gonzalez on


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