Support Special Olympics Athletes in Oregon

 
$6,926
$8,074
Raised
Remaining

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:

  • The Washington County Spiking Tigers earned the gold medal in Division B at the recent 2012 Special Olympics Oregon Fall Regional Games volleyball tournament in Corvallis.  With a reputation for enthusiastic support of teammates and opponent alike (you could definitely hear the loudest cheers at their matches), the Tigers were also presented with the sportsmanship award.
  • Special Olympics Oregon Washington County Timbers FC teammates J. Simmons and Irene Song catch a breath and some shelter during the 2012 Special Olympics Oregon Fall Regional Games soccer tournament in Corvallis.  25 teams from Oregon and SW Washington braved the elements to compete in the all day event.
  • The Special Olympics Oregon Yamhill Wildcats Unified Sports® volleyball teammates share a moment between matches at the recent 2012 SOOR Fall Regional Games volleyball competition in Corvallis.  In their first ever tournament, the Wildcats earned the silver medal in the Unified Division.

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!

 

In every community there are those who go above and beyond their call of duty to support those in need and provide people with an opportunity to reach new heights.
For the past 30 years, since Chief Richard LaMunyonFounder of the Law Enforcement Torch Run (LETR) and the five other officers who joined him in carrying the first torch into the Summer Games in Witchita, Kansas, Law Enforcement officers have been the Guardians of the Flame for Special Olympics. But for those not involved withLETR, what does that mean?
“As police officers, our job is to protect and serve, as Guardians of the Flame we protect the athletes. Not only do we give but we also receive more than we give.” Carl Dabadie, from the Baton Rouge Police Department said.
LETR has developed into more than an annual run for Special OlympicSummer Games. For the many involved with LETR it represents honor, respect and pride.  LETR is the largest grassroots partnership that Special Olympics has. With more than 85,000 law enforcement individuals around the world, they have raised more than $42 million dollars for Special Olympics athletes this year and have raised over $400 million since the Torch Run’s inception.
But why do almost 100,000 officers around the world jump into frigid bodies of water in February, put on aprons and collect tips at local restaurants or even pull 150-ton trains?
“We do these things to help make sure Special Olympics athletes around the world have the opportunity to participate in sporting events that not only show them how to win at that sport but how to win at life.”  Ann Rakosi, Communication Supervisor for Coos County Sheriff’s Office, Oregon said. “This is the best feel good thing I have ever done.”

Almost 1000 Law Enforcement officers gathered to attend this year’s LETR International Conference in Calgary, Canada. “Seeing everyone that is united for a common goal really lends some credibility to your mission.” Police Officer Mark Wiesemann, of the Lee’s Summit, Missouri Police Department said. “This is a major support system and we are doing things here that will allow us to grow our program (LETR) throughout the world.”

This year’s LETR International Conference highlighted LETR programs around the globe, showcased how much money was raised for local programs, honored law enforcement heroes and heard first hand from athletes why Special Olympics has enriched their lives for them and their family.  
“To know there are people supporting us and inspiring us, it is truly remarkable. We, the athletes, are always fighting to know there are people supporting us and trying to integrate us into what they do. I want to thank LETR from the bottom of my heart for all they do for us”Mathew Williams, Special Olympics British Columbia athlete and Sargent Shriver Global Messenger said.
“Just come to one event. First 15 minutes you are there, it will change your life and there is no going back” Rakosi says. “I have been doing this for 6 years and I will do this as long as I can push my walker around when I am 100.”

Project UNIFY

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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Organization

Project Leader

Arthur Steinhorn

Project Leader
Portland, OR United States

Where is this project located?

Map of Support Special Olympics Athletes in Oregon