Spreading the Word

Special Olympics, Ending the R-word, Getting Involved

Get Involved

I’ve been writing to you all about Special Olympics and its affiliates for about 3 months now and I hope you have all found a new interest in this wonderful cause. There are many things you can do to get involved or donate and here are some ways!

Volunteer as a Coach or Official: To volunteer as a coach or official, you have to become certified in your specific sport. There are courses you can take to become certified. There is a 3 step process for becoming a certified Special Olympics official. Part 1 is an introduction to officiating Special Olympics and any rules or equipment that come with each event or sport. Part 2 focuses on competition venue and games management. Part 3 requires you to officiate 5 Special Olympic sport competitions under the supervision of a certified Special Olympics official.

*Those who have a National Governing Body (NGB) officials’ certification or and International Sport Federations (ISF) certification only have to complete parts 1 and 3 to become certified.

Volunteer with Healthy AthletesMore than 90,000 healthcare professionals and students worldwide volunteer at Special Olympics events every year. Each volunteer even receive free training about the specific health needs of people with intellectual disabilities. If you are in the health care field, I strongly suggest that you find time to volunteer for this great cause!

Volunteer at a Day-of Games: There are thousands of Special Olympics competitions around the country and the world! Volunteering for a day games is easy, click here to find a Special Olympics near you. Day of games are my favorite. If you read my previous blog you know what a great time we had at the FSU Special Olympics this year! There are so many opportunities at day of games. You can work at track and get a giant hug as athletes cross the finish line, you can work at awards and see the smiles on the athletes faces as you place a medal  around their neck or you can work at Olympic Town and do arts and crafts with the athletes who aren’t competing at that time. There is something for everyone!

Raise money for Special Olympics: The success of Special Olympics and their athletes relies heavily on donations from family, friends, businesses and YOU! You don’t have to give a lot, you don’t even have to give out of your own pocket. You can join a team, hold a fundraiser or sponsor an athlete. I’m a college student, working two jobs so I don’t have a lot of money to give to organizations or charities (although I wish I could) so back in February I participated in the Polar Plunge. I fundraised on Facebook, I asked friends and family for donations and I had a donation jar at work. All together I raised $350. Read about my experience here.

I hope you all take a few minutes to look into volunteering and sign up for an event. I promise you, it will be one of the greatest days of your life!


Volunteers after the FSU School Day games!

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Thank You, Mom

Maria Shriver was a special guest on the Today Show this morning and talked about Expressing Motherhood, the documentary style play performed by mothers who get up on stage and share their stories.

One of the mothers said Expressing Motherhood is so great because it lets other moms out there know that they are not alone and that there is someone out there who is going through the same thing.

“It’s comforting to know that they are out there to share their stories and to help us,” said one woman who became involved in the cast after seeing a performance.

Maria Shriver has recently teamed up with the company P&G to help promote their campaign, Thank You, Mom. Maria’s mother, Eunice founded Special Olympics in the 1960’s. Her sister, Rosemary, had an intellectual disability and she  began to notice that people like Rosemary were treated differently than the other kids.

Eunice started Camp Shriver in her own backyard in 1962 and Special Olympics not long after. She realized that struggle that moms of children with disabilities went through and wanted to help. Eunice’s vision was to create a place where people with intellectual disabilities were not treated differently and she saw sports as the perfect opportunity.

Sports are something that everyone can enjoy and Special Olympics strives to make this inclusion a reality.

P&G’s Thank You, Mom campaign is dedicated to Maria and Eunice. In an effort to support Moms like Eunice, P&G made a video called “The Gift My Mother Gave Me” and for every share that the video gets on Facebook, P&G will donate $1 to Special Olympics.

Check out this inspirational video about a dedicated mom who helped support all moms in her fight for inclusion.

“The gift my mother gave me was he gift of possibility.”

                                                                                                        -Maria Shriver

To share this video and help support Special Olympics, visit P&G’s Thank You, Mom Facebook page.

Check out the Special Olympics blog post here.

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URI Hosts 6th Annual Autism Awareness Day

This past Saturday, April 20th, the University of Rhode Island hosted their 6th Annual Autism Awareness Day during a double header against Temple University.

This year, URI’s Run the Bases for Autism sponsored Joey’s Fund as part of the Doug Flutie Jr. Foundation for Autism. Joey’s Fund is set up in memory of Josephine Grace Gay, a 7 year old who was tragically killed in the Sandy Hook shootings earlier this year. Joey was autistic and severely apraxic, meaning she could not speak. But, according to friends, family and people who knew her – that didn’t matter. Joey touched the lives of so many people. She was a warm hearted girl with a wonderful sense of humor and loved playing with her sisters.

This year, URI supported Joey’s Fund. Admission to the game was free and kids could participate in a number of games and activities before and during the game. There was a bouncy house, face painting, wiffleball, kickball and so much more. After the game, kids had the chance to run the bases with the URI baseball players. There were raffles and silent auctions that all helped raise money for Joey’s Fund.

Video Credit: RhodeIslandRams

It looked like such a fun day for everyone involved and I’m sure Joey would have loved it!

On another good note – the URI Rams defeated Temple University 3-1.

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Red Sox Stand Up for Autism

MLB Autism

Today was a great day to watch baseball. It’s April 15th, meaning every player in the MLB wore the number 42 to honor Jackie Robinson who made his major league debut on April 15, 1947 and forever broke the color barrier. It was also announced today that former Red Sox pitcher, Tim Wakefield, was named honorary chairman of the Red Sox Foundation.

These weren’t the only exciting things taking place at Fenway this afternoon. While Wakefield was spending time with Jerry and Don he mentioned that the Red Sox Foundation and the Jimmy Fund were focusing more on Autism this year.

On April 2nd, Fenway Park was lit up blue for Autism Awareness day. In addition to shining blue, the Red Sox are hosting Autism Awareness Day on April 28th.

The April 28th game at Fenway against the Houston Astros will raise money for Autism  by donating a portion of each ticket sold to Autism Speaks.

So, if you’re looking to go to a Red Sox game this year, go to Autism Day on Sunday April 28th! See a great game and support a great cause! Game starts at 1:35 p.m.

Spread the Word!

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Freezin’ for a Reason

Last Saturday, when I woke up I checked my Twitter feed by habit. As usual, because it was 8 AM on a Saturday morning, my feed was full of complaints and moans such as:

“I don’t want to get out of bed.”

“I just want to sleep all day.”

“My bed is so warm, I don’t want to move.”

Well folks, while everyone was tweeting about how warm their bed  was – I was putting on a bathing suit to get ready to jump into the ocean. Yes, you heard me right. The Atlantic Ocean on February 23rd in Massachusetts.

No, I’m not crazy, (Well, maybe a little!) But, the real reason why I jumped into the ocean was to raise money for Special Olympics Massachusetts.

I have been involved with the Special Olympics for years. I volunteered at the school day games in high school and now as a college junior, I am the event director for the school day games in Metro-West Massachusetts. I always wanted to partake in the Polar Plunge but it never worked out. So, this year I made a commitment to myself and to Special Olympics athletes across Massachusetts that I would raise as much money as I could, put on a bathing suit in the middle of February and dive into the ocean.Polar Plunge 2013

After hounding friends and family on Facebook and the customers at work, I raised nearly $350 in just a couple of weeks.

Every time someone donated to me they said, “This is a great thing your doing, but why are you jumping into the ocean?” And every time, I replied back, “Why not?”

But let me tell you, it was amazing! Once I got there and saw everyone dressed in ridiculous costumes and got over the initial winter chill, I actually started to warm up. I took pictures with people, talked to them about how much they had raised and most importantly, their tactic for jumping in.

After we all changed into our “plunging clothes”  we all stood together and waited for the “Ready, Set, Plunge!” Suddenly, it was a mad rush to the water and in just a few seconds I diving head first into the ocean.

After everyone dried off and changed into warm clothes there was food, music and awards for best costume, top fundraiser and most spirited plunger.

The whole day was one big celebration for the fact that all together, plungers and chickens had raised almost $300,000 for Special Olympics.

It was definitely worth the PLUNGE!

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