THANK YOU THANK YOU! We have raised over $5,000 for our athletes through GlobalGiving and now have more than 10,000 children and adults participating around the state! Our work is never done though, 100,000 more could benefit from our year-round programs with your support!
As always, our Fall Games were a huge hit! Below are a few highlights from around the state:
On July 14th & 15th Special Olympics Oregon held Summer State Games in Newberg. The Summer State Games are the state championship competitions in the sports of athletics (track & field), bocce, golf, and softball for Special Olympics athletes in Oregon. All participants have trained in their hometowns for eight weeks prior to the Summer Games and have qualified to compete at the Summer Games at a regional level competition.
Thanks to many generous donations and sponsors, there were over 1,500 participants at this years Summer State Games!
On Saturday, April 21st over 100 youth with an without intellectual disabilities from 10 different schools attended a student-led Youth Rally at Hillsboro High School to raise awareness about inclusion and to promote the R-Word Campaign.
The rally was organized and produced by 16 year-old Hillsboro High School student Jori Halpern as part of her senior project, along with the help of Special Olympics Oregon staff. Last year Halpern attended the Youth Rally at Grant High School that Special Olympics Oregon hosted and was so inspired by the event that she decided to organize one at her own school. By hosting the rally, Halpern’s goal was to break down barriers between students with and without disabilities in order to create a more accepting society.
During the first half of the rally students had the opportunity to participate in various activity booths that promoted inclusion, acceptance, respect and sports. Some the activities included creating your own R-Word shirt, signing the R-Word pledge, making friendship bracelets, and a basketball shoot-out that was hosted by Hillsboro Unified basketball youth participants.
The second portion of the event brought everyone together for an assembly styled rally. Since the weather was almost 75 degrees, they decided to have it at their outdoor commons area instead of in the gym. Guest speakers took the stage to share their stories and entertain the crowd. Twin brothers Joseph and Jonathan Jackson told their story about one of them being born with down syndrome and the other without and their involvement in participating in Special Olympics basketball together. Next, Forest Grove High School students Chris Sullivan and Skylar Sharp shared their experience about traveling to the 2012 Special Olympics World Games in Athens, Greece and representing Project UNIFY at the Global Youth Activation Summit. A Hillsboro Unified partner and athlete then spoke about their involvement in Unified sports and the impact that it’s had in their lives. The rally ended with an exciting performance by local musical artist Cam Lasley, who performed four songs and got the crowd up on their feet and dancing!
Project UNIFY is a national project, funded by the U.S. Department of Education. Its goal is to activate young people around the country in an effort to develop school communities where all young people are agents of change - fostering respect, dignity, and advocacy for people with intellectual disabilities by utilizing the programs and initiatives of Special Olympics. Project UNIFY is for students, teachers and educators who believe that: - There should be more opportunities for young people of all ages and ability levels to make friends and work together for change. - Students with intellectual disabilities should become part of the core fabric of the education community and be perceived as assets in their school and community. - Students without intellectual disabilities can and should increase their knowledge, skills and comfort in forming positive social relationships with students with intellectual disabilities and come together to address societal issues. - Policymakers and education leaders should develop policies and support quality practices that encourage positive school climates with safe and nurturing learning environments for all students. Project UNIFY initiatives include a host of core activities, both on the national and the grass-roots level. Local projects that meet Project UNIFY objectives are supported through grants for local Special Oympics Oregon Programs.
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