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!

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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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Donate to Autism Research

In my last post I told you 7 facts about Autism. Fact #3 told us that having a child or family member with Autism can cost up to an extra $60,000 a year. Because of this high cost and today’s economy, many families are unable to afford the necessary therapy and treatment that can improve social skills and functionality of a person with Autism.

Take a look at some of these organizations and pick one to donate to. Help give a child with Autism the chance to overcome their challenges and have fun!

  • The American Autism Association is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing low-income children with Autism and their families access to recreational programs such as summer and after school programs, speech therapy and even scholarships to Autistic schools – all for FREE (with help of your donations, of course!) The American Autism Association also creates programs specifically designed for individual children so they can get the right service that will best benefit them.
  • Autism Speaks was founded in 2005. The organization has grown immensely over the years and is dedicated funding research into the causes, prevention, treatments and a cure for autism. They also work to increase awareness of autism spectrum disorders and advocate for the needs of individuals with autism and their families. Even if you can’t afford to donate money right now, you can always donate your time! Visit their website to find ways to volunteer!
  • The Children’s Institute is a state-approved private school in New Jersey with programs specifically designed to help children and young adults with Autism reach their full potential. TCI accepts all ages, from pre-school to the TCI Center for Independence for people over 21 years old.  Tuition is free for families and every little donation helps!
  • The Autism Society is dedicated to improving the lives of those with Autism and their families. They focus on increasing public awareness, they advocate for appropriate lifetime services for individuals with Autism and provide families with the most up-to-date information regarding treatment, education and research. Find a way to donate today!

Now that you have some information about each leading Autism Awareness organization. Please help them help those who can’t afford treatment or the right education for themselves or their children. Donate doesn’t always mean you have to give money – volunteering is a rewarding experience for everyone involved.

The easiest way to help it to SPREAD THE WORD about Autism Awareness!

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Special Olympics, Ending the R-word, Getting Involved

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