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May 2014 Newsletter

by Jamie Scovel.

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Crestwood2014A Milestone Year for Polar Plunges!

The 2014 Law Enforcement Torch Run Polar Plunge, Presented by GEICO, proved once again to be the official event of winter!

A record 7,316 warm-hearted Plungers took to the icy waters at 20 locations throughout the state. Additionally, the Polar Plunge raised more than $2 million for the first time in our state’s history! See results for each Plunge location. A big “thank you” to everyone who supported the event and joined us in “Freezin’ for a Reason”!

Read about how two groups are expanding the Plunge’s reach in their communities

Mobile App Among Changes at 2014 Summer Games

2014Area12SG-RS-1160Now that all Spring Games have been completed, with about 10,000 athletes competing at the grass-roots level, it’s time to look forward to the 2014 Special Olympics Illinois Summer Games.

Athletes who received a gold medal at their Spring Games or District competition qualified for the Summer Games June 13-15 in Bloomington-Normal. Approximately 4,000 athletes from across the state are expected to converge for three days of exciting competition.

New this year will be a Summer Games mobile app to provide attendees a variety of up-to-date information about the Games. The 2014 Special Olympics Illinois Summer Games mobile app is expected to launch in the beginning of June. Read more about the mobile app and other changes at Summer Games.

News from SOILL President & CEO/Board Chair

Dave Breen

Dave Breen

By Dave Breen

Tribute to Champions is the name of the kickoff event to our Summer Games and I think it’s appropriately named. But, it goes above and beyond our champion athletes. The event will be a time to recognize our volunteers, coaches, organizations, community and especially the families.

This year, we focusing on a Family Engagement Initiative and are asking for involvement at all levels of the organization – from volunteering and coaching, to giving time and resources, to identifying  those who want to help guide the organization through the Family Action Network. Read More

Charity Bash Hits Home for Lake Zurich High School

Charity Bash LZHSEach year Lake Zurich High School hosts a Charity Bash that raises money for a non-profit organization. This year’s organization was Special Olympics Illinois. Not only is Lake Zurich High School a competing agency, it is involved in multiple ways throughout the entire year and one of Northeastern/Area 13’s biggest supporters.

Lake Zurich High School hosts the annual Spring Games each year and a handful of other events as needed. The students are involved with the SNAP program, which is an after-school group of peers and Special Olympics athletes who work together on various activities. The faculty and staff support the school’s efforts in any way possible including Assistant Principal Ryan Rubenstein, who leads the committee on Spring Games, and Varsity Girls Basketball Coach Christopher Bennett, who was the lead staff on Charity Bash, and coordinating volunteers for the Special Olympics Illinois Basketball competition. Read More

USA Games Just a Month Away

Members of Team Illinois are busy preparing for next month’s competition at the 2014 Special Olympics USA Games in New Jersey.

2014USATrainingCamp-ME1-1921Members of Team Illinois will meet in either Bloomington or Chicago, depending on their Illinois hometowns, to fly east on June 14. The delegation will be housed together at The College of New Jersey in Ewing, N.J. (a suburb of Trenton) and will enjoy a variety of activities in addition to their competition. Special events include Opening & Closing Ceremonies, Healthy Athletes Experience, Olympic Town, Hudson River Cruise and a Trenton Thunder (New York Yankees AA affiliate) game. They will return to Illinois on June 21 after their week of life-changing experiences. Get all the latest information about Team Illinois at the USA Games by signing up for the e-newsletter.

Leading up to the competition of their lives, Team Illinois gathered last month in Bloomington-Normal for a 3-day Training Camp where they met their fellow teammates and coaches and had the opportunity to train together in preparation for their trip to the USA Games. View photos from the Training Camp

Medical Volunteers Vital for Safety of Competition

2014 State Basketball Medical_JD_0372cThey are the Special Olympics volunteers at every competition that you may not even see and they’re fine with that because it means you haven’t needed them. They are the medical volunteers.

Whether their services are used or not, skilled medical volunteers are vital to ensuring the safety of our athletes at every Special Olympics event.

Greg Eberle, Chairman of the Medical Committee for State Basketball Tournament and Summer Games, said medical volunteers are “more than a glorified First Aid station.” Many of the medical volunteers at state-level events are athletic trainers (like Eberle), nurses or EMTs who are trained to identify certain conditions that need further aid like muscle strains and sprains, seizures and blood sugar issues.

“We are there as support staff to parents and coaches who know their athletes,” Eberle said. “We can help control the situation and ensure that no improper decisions are made,” adding that quick identification of the medical situation, treatment and follow-up for injuries of all athletes allow them to experience minimal downtime in competition. Read More

More Top News

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Main Tribute Park Photo

Families – Leave Your Mark in Tribute Park!

Special Olympics Tribute Park is a one-of-a-kind park designed and built by Special Olympics Illinois to recognize and honor the athletes, teams, families, volunteers, donors and all who make Special Olympics a reality.

FamilyStatueThe beautifully landscaped park features some stunning life-size bronze statues that pay tribute to the athletes and families of Special Olympics Illinois. There is also a specially designed black granite water wall, inscribed with the words “Flame of Hope” that highlights the driving force behind Special Olympics Illinois. The athlete oath beside the water wall reminds all who see it of the courage and inspiration that athletes of Special Olympics exemplify. Hundreds of brick pavers surround the bronze athlete statue and are reserved for Special Olympics athletes only. Additionally, there are three stone walls paying tribute to the Families, Volunteers and Donors who are so critical to the success of the Special Olympics movement.

Improvements are currently underway at Tribute Park to create accessible walkways throughout the whole park and in preparation for the flurry of visitors that will be in town and at the park in June for the Summer Games. This recommendation came from athlete Tony Hill of Belleville, who is also a Global Messenger and former board member. Tony uses a wheelchair and found it very difficult to get around the various parts of the park through the decorative gravel/stone. The new cement walkways will be done at the end of May and ready for visitors during Summer Games!

FamilyWallThanks to the generosity of many, we currently have 450 athlete brick pavers and 20 families on the Family Wall of Recognition. You too can be a part of Tribute Park! It’s a great way to honor and recognize our loved ones, someone who has inspired you or made a difference in your life and build a timeless treasure for Special Olympics Illinois while providing an ongoing way to honor special occasions and special people with a commemorative brick or place on the Wall of Recognition.

AthleteBricksOur goal is to reach 1,000 athlete bricks and 100 Family Bricks by the end of the 2014. With your support, we can meet this goal. Our hope is that selling engraved bricks will also generate funds to sustain the Park’s future expenses, and planned educational enhancements as well as support a scholarship fund for the development of the athlete and family experiences at a national and international level.

Commemorative Brick and Recognition Wall Options:

  • Athlete Brick – $100
  • Family/Volunteer/Donor Wall Bricks – $1,000; $2,500 or $5,000
  • Team Walk – $1,500

For more information on being a part of Tribute Park, visit our Tribute Park page or contact Karen Milligan at 1-800-394-0562.

Summer Games – June 13-15

Athletes who received a gold medal in the sports of aquatics, athletics, bocce, gymnastics, powerlifting or soccer have qualified for the Summer Games from June 13 to 15 at Illinois State University and Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington/Normal. Approximately 4,000 athletes from across the state are SOILL 2014 Mobile Appexpected to converge at ISU for three days of exciting competition, a thrilling Opening Ceremonies and of course the always memorable “Victory Dance” on Saturday evening at Hancock Stadium.

New this year will be a Summer Games mobile app to provide attendees a variety of up-to-date information about the Games. The 2014 Special Olympics Illinois Summer Games mobile app is expected to launch in the beginning of June. Read more about the Summer Games app.

Families are encouraged to attend to cheer their favorite teams on! Additionally, there will be fun in store for families including the always popular Tailgate Picnic sponsored by Alexander’s Steakhouse held on Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. View information about the 2014 Summer Games and see changes for Summer Games.

SPECIAL EVENTS:

Families Tailgate Picnic – 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Saturday, June 14. Tickets for the picnic will be available at Families Registration on Friday and Saturday. The Family Tailgate Picnic is sponsored by Alexander’s Steakhouse. Plan to have a dinner at Alexander’s Steakhouse while you are in town to thank them for 26 years of sponsoring the Families Tailgate Picnic!

Families Resource Sessions – More information will be included in the family mailing that will go out at the end of May. Also watch on this website for more information.

HOTELS FOR FAMILIES:

Several Bloomington/Normal hotels are offering special rates for Special Olympics Illinois Families for Summer Games. A limited number of rooms are available so you are encouraged to book your room as soon as possible if haven’t already done so. View Summer Games Hotel List.

TRIBUTE PARK:

While you are in town for Summer Games, make sure you stop by the Special Olympics Illinois Tribute Park at the State Headquarters – it’s the only one of its kind in the nation. The park is a tribute to all the people who make Special Olympics a reality. The park includes life-size bronze statues, a specially designed water wall, a Team Walk with educational tablets that showcase the scope of the program as well as personalized bricks and squares from many who want to have a permanent spot in this beautiful park. For more information, view our Tribute Park page.

Athlete Leadership Program

GM Beg

Introducing the 2014 Class of Global Messengers

Nick Lorenz with Global Messenger instructors Leona Brescher, Michele Evans and Karen Milligan

Nick Lorenz with Global Messenger instructors Leona Brescher, Michele Evans and Karen Milligan

A new record was set for Special Olympics Illinois hosting the training for the largest class of new Global Messengers. Twenty-three athletes from around the state participated in the two-day training that was held at Misericordia in Chicago March 22-23.

Eleven of the 18 Areas were represented, 7 of the 23 were from Chicago/Area 3. The new class of Global Messengers includes: Isabella Dunklau and Edith Reynolds (Area 1); Zinyra Ross and Mallory Taylor (Area 2); Colleen Altman, Emma Burkhalter, Jake Evey, Zola Freeman, Patrick McCarthy, Stephanie Padilla and Bill White (Area 3) ; Kaylee McLaughlin (Area 4); Michael McLaughlin (Area 5); Sandra Froman, Taylor Reidel and Drew White (Area 6); Jack Klawitter and Nicholas Lorenz (Area 7); Mike Odom and Andrew Robertson (Area 8); John “Craig” Dillaplain (Area 12); Breanna Bogucki (Area 13); and Nathan Warren (Area 16).

Another record was set with this training in that we had the youngest ever athlete/Global Messenger. Jack Klawitter from Tinley Park is 8 years old and formerly participated in the Young Athletes Program. Everyone did an exceptional job! We saw a great deal of enthusiasm and passion with this diverse group, not only in the athletes but with their families and mentors as well!

Some of the comments we received on the evaluations included:

  • “We loved the training – thank you so much for inviting Jack to be a part of it! He/we can hardly wait to do our first presentation!”
  • “I am ready to give speeches. I wish there was more time to just hangout and get to know the other athletes.”
  • “I would like to talk to people about becoming athletes and would like to convince people to volunteer their time and money.”
  • “I can’t thank you enough for the wonderful experience these 2 days have been. Nick and these athletes are so unbelievably brave. I am so proud of Nick, he had no fear to talk in front of everyone!”
  • “Thank you for a fantastic weekend! It was truly one of the best weekends of my life!”

For more information on how to get a Global Messenger out to speak to your civic group, business or other group, please contact Karen Milligan at 309-888-2013.

Athlete Input Council Meeting

DSC_0181Eighteen members of the Athlete Leadership Program participated in an Athlete Input Council meeting on March 8. The purpose of this meeting was for the athlete leaders to provide feedback on the proposed ALPs University as well as to vote on members for the ALPs Management team. Some of the outcomes from the group discussions on the ALPs University framework included:

  • Add a curriculum tracks for Health & Nutrition; Technology; Marketing – Social Media; Train the Trainer and Presentation Management
  • Develop a mentoring program for both Young Athletes and Global Messengers
  • Shadow staff and key volunteers at events
  • More leadership training
  • Would like to add cheerleading
DSC_0281

From left, Charles Dunn, Megan Graf, Daniel Smrokowski, Chris Hood, Tony Hill and Jim Morgan

The group voted to elect six members to the ALPs Management Team. We received nine nomination forms and each of the candidates presented their ideas to the group before the vote was taken. The group also voted that this group would serve a 2-year term. The candidates that were voted to the ALPs Management Team are: Chris Hood, Charles Dunn, Tony Hill, Jim Morgan, Megan Graf and Daniel Smrokowski.

The focus of this group will be to create further discussion and develop plans for these four focus areas:

  1. Further define the roles and responsibilities of the ALPs Management team for next two years.
  2. Develop ideas on how ALPs becomes the tool for making Special Olympics Illinois more “athlete centric.”
  3. Develop ALPs 3-year plan establishing tools and strategies for implementation.
  4. Create a marketing plan for ALPs.

The group is excited and very ambitious to take on new roles within Special Olympics and make it an even better organization. For more information on athlete involvement in the Athlete Leadership Programs, contact Karen Milligan at 309-888-2013.

Athlete Leaders Have Fun While Fundraising!

The Darling Ducklings are gearing up for their eighth year of selling duck adoptions for Special Olympics Illinois Windy City Ducky Derby. Duck DerbyaThis team of 41 athletes, from across Illinois, will strive to meet and exceed their ambitious goals for adoptions sold and funds raised.

Last year, the Ducklings aimed for 5,000 duck adoptions and they sold almost 6,500! This is amazing considering the schedules these athletes maintain, including everything from trainings, competitions, work, volunteering, vacations and family events! They still made time and worked tirelessly to sell adoptions for their team and in support of a program that benefits their fellow athletes. Many of their family members get into the spirit too.

Whether it is braving Summer heat and rainy downpours to sell ducks at events in their communities or transporting their athlete to multiple venues across counties or enlisting their employers and other businesses to allow their athletes opportunities to set up sales tables, families play a huge part in their Darling Ducklings’ success.

The race will be held in Chicago on Thursday, Aug. 7. Please stop in at their fundraising page and purchase an adoption under any team member.

Project UNIFY Contest Winners

Project UNIFY Illinois asked its participants to share their stories and visual images of Project UNIFY activities and the winners have been selected! Find out who won and read their essays and watch their videos.

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Big Blue Blowout Marking 15th Year

The Big Blue Blowout Coaches Training Weekend is celebrating its 15th year! This year’s dates are May 30-June 1.

This is an opportunity to obtain multiple sport certifications in one weekend. Housing and meals are provided to those staying more than one day. While there is a fee up-front, it is returned, in its entirety as long as you attend everything you sign up for!  Sign up for one course or stay the whole weekend and get up to six certifications and some great networking opportunities with other coaches from across the state.

Download a letter to coaches and the schedule and registration form. Please contact Carolyn Klocek at 309-888-2598 with any questions about this event. 

Coaches Education System

New Coach Training and Certification Requirements

The better the coach…The better the opportunities…The better the athlete! gymnastics coach

Coaches all across Illinois are attending great training opportunities to gain knowledge, skills and drills to improve the teams they coach.

Here at Special Olympics Illinois, we take trainings very seriously and want coaches to get the most of out of them. Not only do our coaches deserve to be well trained, our athletes deserve highly trained coaches so they can reach their goals or maximum potential!

Now more than ever, Special Olympics Illinois is striving to make it easier on coaches to gain the certifications they desire.

What the Process Was and Why Change Was Needed

The Coaches Application required 10 hours of practicum. In other words, working with athletes in the sport or course that was being offered at the training.

In the early stages, the Regional Managers of Sports Training would send the paperwork home with the coach and wait for it to be returned. The results of the paperwork being returned to the SOILL staff were a mere 25 percent. Obviously a change needed to be made.

The Regional Managers of Sports Training began having coaches finish the paperwork at the training with future dates of practice. This change has had impressive results as each year we are certifying 95-98 percent of coaches who attend the training. However, extra staff time is needed to follow up on 10-hour practicum and there is limited time to provide feedback to new coaches.

Special Olympics Illinois already knows coaches are working with athletes, so the 10-hour practicum is a hurdle and merely adding more paperwork.

Summary of Requirements

The first thing a coach must do is become a Class A volunteer and take the Protective Behaviors training.

This process can be done online or in person. Special Olympics Illinois offers trainings in person and requires all new coaches who wish to gain certification in a specific sport to attend an in-person training first.

Renewal of certificates can be completed in person, or through a Principles of Coaching Course. The new Coaches Application will not require the 10-hour practicum. These requirements will take effect immediately.

Online Courses

Two websites that provide training sessions and quizzes are ASEP and NFHS.

On ASEP, we suggest taking the Coaching Special Olympics Athletes which costs $16.95. On NFHS, we suggest taking Coaching Unified Sports which is free of cost and a mandatory training in Illinois for participation. Both websites have Sport Specific Courses that provide a platform of sport knowledge.

Parameters – Striving for Excellence

2013OSF-ME7257-webSpecial Olympics Illinois takes pride in our Coaches Education System and want to provide coaches with some parameters for excellence.

A new coach should try to become certified in each sport they coach within three years. It is recommended that assistant coaches work towards certification and have a mentor, usually the head coach. Coaches of all levels and experience should make every effort to become certified in the sport they coach.

When coaches are certified, they take liability away when an accident occurs. Negligence is never covered, but a coach’s certificate proves knowledge in the sport. This is another incentive to have certified coaches!

Special Olympics Illinois is always striving for excellence, and looks forward to seeing all of you at a training soon!

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Tennis Group Names Nancy Hoekstra Official of Year

Tennis 1Nancy Hoekstra has been a USTA Official for 12 years. She is a strong advocate for USTA officials’ involvement and training at all levels of Adaptive Tennis competition– local, state, national and world games. 

Nancy has been an active Special Olympics tennis volunteer for 25 years. She has served as teacher; coach; tournament director; Special Olympics Team USA Sport Manager of Tennis; World Games Tennis Official in Dublin, Ireland; North America Tennis Director; 2014 Special Olympics USA Games Technical Delegate and 2015 Special Olympics World Summer Games Tennis Assistant Technical Delegate. Read More

Summer Games Volunteers Needed

Special Olympics Illinois’ biggest event of the year is fast approaching and volunteers are an essential piece of the event’s success! The Summer Games will be held Friday, June 13 – Sunday, June 15, at Illinois State University and Kingsley Junior High School in Normal and Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington.

2012SG-MH9557-webVolunteer jobs include, but are not limited to scorers, timers, escorts, souvenir sales and awards presenters. As a volunteer, Special Olympics Illinois will provide a volunteer T-shirt to all volunteers and a meal for those volunteering all day.

There are five volunteer time-slots throughout the weekend. On Friday and Saturday, volunteers have the option of working a morning shift, an afternoon shift or all day. On Sunday, there is only a morning shift. You will need to register for each shift individually (ex: If you are volunteering all weekend you would register five times, each time for a specific venue).

Volunteer check-in for the event will be located on-site at ISU, IWU and Kingsley Junior High School. All volunteers need to bring a valid photo ID to present at check in. Parking is free in designated areas.

For this tournament, we are utilizing an online volunteer system. NO forms will be mailed out to volunteers and all future communication will come via email. If you have difficulties registering, please contact Carolyn Klocek or Aubrey Deerwester.

To register go to: http://www.soill.org/event/summer-games/

Click on the button for the shift you’re interested in volunteering.  To volunteer for multiple shifts, you must click and register for each individual shift. After clicking the button, on the next screen, scroll to the bottom of the page and click on the button that says “Click Here to Register.” This will take you to a page where you will enter your e-mail address and first name. If you are new to the system, once you type in your e-mail address and first name, it will ask you to create a volunteer profile. This is where you will give us your contact information for future events. Once you are in our system, you won’t have to enter your information again – the system saves it. When you come back, it will remember you! When your profile is completed, you will be taken back to the Summer Games volunteer page where you can choose which time and role you would like to volunteer for. It’s that simple!

If you have any questions, please contact Carolyn Klocek at 309 -888-2598 or Aubrey Deerwester at 309-888-2551.

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Athlete Spotlight – Dino Bekteshi

MrsHelms-1

Dino Bekteshi of Bethany with his teacher, Mrs. Helms

Sidik (Dino) Bekteshi is an energetic 3-year-old from Bethany. Although Dino has only been in the Young Athletes Program a short time, he has already shown vast improvement. His favorite activity is throwing or anything that involves playing with any type of sports balls.

“He is corporative and determined,” says Mrs. Helms, Dino’s teacher. “He very much wants to do well and earn his sticker rewards. Since joining the program, I see Dino smiling a lot more. I’m excited in his progress he has had so far.”

When Dino isn’t practicing with the Young Athletes Program, he enjoys reading books, piecing together puzzles and, of course, playing outside. He also loves hanging out with his older sisters, Mia and Albina.

Dino’s mother, Shannon Curry-Bekteshi, says “This Smiling Dino is my first year seeing all of the children in the program. It has been an amazing experience for them. We are very happy to be a part of this school and program.”

We’re so excited to have such a great Young Athlete and family involved with the program and can’t wait to see what is in store for them!

Summer Games

Summer is upon us which means the Special Olympics Illinois State Summer Games is only weeks away!

Shelby RunningYoung Athletes from around the state enjoyed running, jumping, kicking, socializing and so much more during the 2013 Summer Games and we want you to be able to be a part of this year’s exciting events. We have 150 spots reserved for Young Athletes of all ages for the Statewide Culminating Event on Friday, June 13. Spots are filled on a first-come, first-serve basis and we have already begun filling spots due to the fun and excitement of last year’s event!

If you are interested in attending, please complete a registration form and return it to the Special Olympics office. Traditional Young Athletes 6 & 7 years of age, with a valid medical application, also have the opportunity to choose between two transitional exhibitions. The 50-meter race and tennis ball throw in athletics or individual soccer skills will both be held on Saturday, June 14. Spots are reserved for only the first 25 traditional Young Athletes with a valid Medical Application can register for only one – athletics or soccer skills.

As always, there will be a pizza party, Opening Ceremonies, Olympic town, dance and so much other fun to join in!

Culminating Event Season Underway

Young Athletes staff members Jen Marcello, Missy Darling and Bailey Brenner are staying busy with this year’s culminating event season. They are traveling all over Illinois to more than 100 Culminating Events, to assist Young Athletes across the state celebrate their running, kicking, throwing, catching, jumping and balancing skills with friends and family alike. Culminating Event Season

Danville area Young Athletes were excited to host their culminating event at the David Palmer Arena for the first time this year. The rain wasn’t going to stop them this year from showing off their skills for family, friends and community members. All the Young Athletes did an incredible job and we look forward to hosting at the David Palmer Arena again next year.

Also, Prairiewood Elementary School showed off their pride and skills at their culminating event with the help of community volunteers. Congratulations to all of the programs for all their hard work throughout the year and good luck to all our Young Athletes!

Chicago Fire host Special Olympics Illinois Day

On May 18, the Chicago Fire are inviting friends and family of Special Olympics athletes to purchase discounted tickets to their game. Tickets will be sold at $25 and part of the proceeds will come back to Special Olympics Illinois.

In addition, the half time entertainment will be our Unified soccer teams playing a short scrimmage.

The Chicago Fire and Village of Bridgeview have gone out of their way to work with Special Olympics and make their events affordable and fun. We hope that you will come out and support the Special Olympics Athletes and the Chicago Fire. Download a Chicago Fire flyer.

Kohl’s Museum Proudly presents Everyone at Play

Kohl’s Children’s Museum in Glenview invites all families to participate in their Everyone at Play from 9:30-11:30 a.m. Sunday, June 8.

The museum was specifically designed to be inclusive for all children and adults regardless of ability. The museum’s 17 exhibits and 2 acres of outdoor explorations are designed for play with a purpose and encourage linguistic, cognitive, motor, and social skills for children ages birth through 8.

The museum works collaboratively with community organizations to invite families with children with special needs to the museum to explore the exhibits while closed to the general public. This provides opportunities for calm, creative and collaborative play.

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Area 2

Tee Up at Midwest Golf Celebrity Pro-Am

The 2014 Midwest Golf Celebrity Pro-Am will be held on Monday, June 17, at The Royal Fox Country Club in St. Charles.

Registration begins at 9 a.m. and there will be a shotgun start with lunch at 10:30 a.m. Dinner and an auction will take place from 5-7 p.m. The format for this year’s event will match professional athletes and other celebrities with amateur foursomes in a Scramble Format Tournament.

We encourage you to be part of this event and join the network of corporations and individuals who contribute to the success of thousands of Special Olympics athletes in the Chicagoland area. Sponsors and individual golfers are still needed. Sponsor packages are available for purchase online or by filling out a form in the brochure.

For more information, contact Sandy Hutchins at 630-377-7250 or download a brochure and registration form.

Area 2 & 16

5K Foam Fest

FoamFestLogoThe 5k Foam Fest has teamed up with Special Olympics Illinois to bring fun, foam and muddy running to the Chicagoland area. A portion of all the proceeds from the event will benefit Special Olympics Illinois athletes.

This event will take place Saturday, June 7, at Fox Valley Off Road, located at 1952 N. 35th Road, Ottawa, IL 61350. All participants will run, walk and crawl their way through the 5K (roughly 3.1 miles) of mud pits and fun, foamy obstacles! The 5K event is open to anyone ages 10 and older.

To register and sign up for the foamy fun, visit the 5K Foam Fest site.  There will be plenty of fun and games for the little ones, too!

If you’re interested in volunteering for the event you can sign up online. For more information, contact Cheryl DePaepe at 815-220-8128.

Dirty Dash

DirtyDashRound House Racing has teamed up with Special Olympics Illinois to support their cause for the Dirty Dash on June 28, at Fox Valley Off Road located at 1952 N. 35th Road, Ottawa, IL 61350.

All participants will make their way through a course of muddy fun! This race that puts all other races to shame. The Dirty Dash is a mud run obstacle course where a military boot camp meets your inner 5-year-old’s fantasy and subsequently converts boy to man and then man to swine. You’ll need endurance to trudge up mountains of sludge, courage to overcome uncompromising obstacles, a complete lack of shame to wallow in pits of mud and a smile to show through at the end!

To register and sign up for the muddy fun, visit the Dirty Dash site.  There will be plenty of fun and games for the little ones, too! If you’re interested in volunteering you can sign up online.

For more information, contact Sandy Hutchins at 630-377-7250.

Area 3

Are You Kidding Me?

Known for “Chicago’s Finest Ribs” and superior hospitality, Gale Street Inn is celebrating with an evening of fun to benefit Special Olympics Illinois on May 20 from 6:30-9 p.m.

Join Steve Cochran, Nick Digilio and Patti Vasquez from WGN 720AM at “Are You Kidding Me?” Enjoy dinner and beverages and an evening of laughter at Gale Street Inn, 4914 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago. Tickets cost $50 each, all of which goes to Special Olympics Illinois.

Thanks to George Karzas, owner of Gale Street Inn, for his generous support! For more information, contact Kathy McLaughlin at 773-278-2178.

Area 6

Country Youth Classic Golf Tournament

Registration is live for the Country Youth Classic Golf Tournament which is one of the most prestigious junior golf events in the State of Illinois.

The tournament has a special needs division and invites the athletes of Special Olympics Illinois to participate.  Please be aware that all expenses related to the Country Youth Classic are the responsibility of the participant. All golfers must register by June 17.

The Tournament will be held from June 23-25 at golf courses in Bloomington-Normal. The Special Needs division welcomes individual golfers and Unified partners to participate in 3-, 6- or 9-hole play.

For more information, visit www.countryyouthclassic.com.

Pontiac Township High School Students Raise $1,500

2014ProjectUNIFYPontiac-ME2119Students at Pontiac Township High School, which is a Project UNIFY school, held their second annual Run for Respect April 12 that involved a 5K run around Pontiac as well as a Virtual Run for people who couldn’t participate in the Pontiac event. Run for Respect involved runners in all 50 states and each continent, including Antarctica!

On May 7, PTHS Project UNIFY students presented Special Olympics Illinois President & CEO Dave Breen and Board Member Jim Bednar with a check for $1,500!

Read article about Run for Respect in the Pontiac Daily Leader

Central Catholic High School Hosts Young Athletes Event

2014Unit5YACCHS-ME2249Seniors at Central Catholic High School in Bloomington spent their last day in school volunteering for a Young Culminating Event for students from cross-town Unit 5 School District.

This was the second year that CCHS hosted the Young Athletes and was a continuation of the school’s involvement last year when the 2013 Senior Class named Special Olympics Illinois as their charity for the year. More than 300 Young Athletes attended events in two shifts during the day, where 90 CCHS seniors volunteered in all capacities.

Read article about CCHS’ Young Athletes event  in the Bloomington Pantagraph

Areas 6 & 13

Picture11 (3)Special Olympics Illinois athletes were invited to take part in a halftime demonstration during the Chicago Bulls game on March 13.  Fans cheered on great play between the SEASPAR Spartans team, located in the southwest suburbs of Chicago, and the SOAR Chiefs from Bloomington. The opportunity to scrimmage on the same court as the Chicago Bulls was a highlight for the Special Olympics players and coaches and, judging by the audience response, they also had a great time.

A special thanks goes out to the Chicago Bulls for inviting our teams to play and helping to make this special night happen for our athletes. It will be a game to remember for many.

Area 7

Special Olympics Day with the Chicago Fire

Join Special Olympics Illinois at 2 p.m. Sunday, May 18, for an afternoon with the Chicago Fire.

Tickets for this game are discounted to $25 (originally $40) and a portion of the proceeds will benefit Special Olympics Illinois.

The Chicago Fire will take on the Sporting Kansas City at Toyota Park, located at 7000 S. Harlem Ave. in Bridgeview. The halftime entertainment will be the Special Olympics Illinois Unified Soccer teams playing a short scrimmage.

Tickets can be purchased online at the discounted rate. Larger groups looking to sit together should contact Chicago Fire representative Brad Bauer at 708-496-6761.

Special Olympics Project UNIFY is an all ages education based program that is supported through the Federal Department of Education. There are many moving parts to Project UNIFY, though they all share one driving force: the goal of activating young people and giving them the tools, skills, dispositions, and opportunities to build change and to motivate their schools to have true cultures of inclusiveness.

For more information, please contact Jen Marcello at 630-942-5612.

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Annual Dunkin’ Donuts Cop on Rooftop Set for May 30

For the 12th year in a row, Illinois police officers will stake out Dunkin’ Donuts rooftops to benefit Special Olympics Illinois. Cop-on-Top-Featured-Picture2On Friday, May 30, beginning at 5 a.m. through early afternoon, hundreds of police officers from throughout the state are scheduled to cover more than 170 Dunkin’ Donuts rooftops to heighten awareness and raise money for the Law Enforcement Torch Run to benefit Special Olympics Illinois.  Be sure to stop by and support local efforts in your area!

 

Plunge Results

 

The stakes for this year’s rooftop stakeout are high…donations will need to top last year’s total of more than $315,000 raised at 150 Dunkin’ Donuts locations. In return for the police officers doing time at their stores, Dunkin’ Donuts will donate $15,000 to the Torch Run fund.

In addition, everyone who visits a Cop on a Rooftop store that day and makes a donation to the Torch Run will receive a free donut.  Individuals who donate at least $10 will receive a Law Enforcement Torch Run travel mug (while supplies last) and a coupon for a free medium coffee.  Other items, such as Torch Run T-shirts and hats, will be sold for various donation amounts, and other activities may vary by Dunkin’ Donuts location.

Eat at Chili’s this June & Support Special Olympics Illinois

Eat at any Illinois Chili’s restaurant during the month of June and 15 percent of your Dine In or To Go order (before taxes) will be donated to Special Olympics Illinois!

Simply present this voucher to your server during the month of June and you’ve supported the athletes of Special Olympics!  Please help us spread the word on this great promotion – forward the voucher to your friends, family and co-workers!

Click here to find the Illinois Chili’s location nearest you.

A Night with St. Louis Cardinals

Special Olympics Illinois and Missouri have partnered with St. Louis Cardinals Care for the 2nd Annual Special Olympics Night at Busch Stadium on Wednesday, May 21.

Cardinals Care has invited 400 Special Olympics athletes to come out and enjoy the game at no cost! In addition, the St. Louis Cardinals are offering a special ticket price for all Special Olympics fans, friends, and supporters. Tickets are in the Right Field Pavilion and are only $15 with $5 of each ticket being donated to Special Olympics. Purchase your tickets here.

This offer is only available through Wednesday, May 14.  So gather a group and join us as the Cardinals take on the Arizona Diamond Backs.

Law Enforcement from Illinois and Missouri will be partnering for the first-ever Law Enforcement Torch Run Tip-A-Cop event at the Flying Saucer at 900 Spruce Street in downtown St. Louis. The event will take place in conjunction with Special Olympics Night at Busch Stadium on Wednesday, May 21.

Officers will be trading in their handcuffs for aprons from 4-8   p.m. May 21  to help raise funds and awareness for Special Olympics.  Officers will be serving the public in exchange for “tips” to benefit the athletes of Illinois and Missouri. View a flier for the event.

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Windy City Rubber Ducky Derby

Join Special Olympics Illinois for its annual signature Windy City Rubber Ducky Derby event now in its 9th year! On Aug. 7, watch 60,000 ducks splash into the Chicago River from the Columbus Drive Bridge in downtown Chicago and cheer them on as they race towards the finish line!

Duck Derbya

Sales teams are forming now, so grab your friends, family members and colleagues and join in the fun! Duck adoptions are $5 per duck, 6 for $25 or 24 for $100. The more ducks you adopt the greater your odds of winning a 2014 Chevy Equinox or an all-inclusive Apple Vacation!

Race Day kicks off at 10 a.m. at 400 North Michigan Avenue (The Wrigley Building) with entertainment for the whole family. Spectators can have their picture taken with Splash, our rubber ducky mascot.

All proceeds benefit 21,500 athletes and 18,500 Young Athletes of Special Olympics Illinois and allow these athletes to compete in year-round sports and training competitions through the state.

To learn more about forming a team, adopting ducks and further event details, click here.

Color in Motion

On Sunday, June 22, get moving for a great cause! Chicago’s Color in Motion 5K takes your typical race and kicks it up a few notches – and hues. As you trek around the city blocks of Lincoln Park you’ll be bombarded by explosions of vibrant color. Don’t worry, it’s safe (and loads of fun).

Color in Motion 3If you’re not interested in 3.1 miles of running or walking, please consider helping with the prismatic parade. We’ll need helping hands along the course to throw color at the runners, hand out water and so much more. Registration is open for both runners and volunteers!

Color in Motion is sponsored by KISSFM and, for the first time, USG Corporation! Special Olympics Illinois is proud to be the Color in Motion Charity Partner for the second year in a row. Color outside the lines with SOILL and help us earn some green for our more than 21,000 athletes.

For more information on signing up as a runner or volunteer, or for race event details, please click here.

P&G May Mother’s Day Promotions

Help support Special Olympics with this year’s P&GbrandSAVER® and Thank you, Mom promotion! Check this past Sunday’s newspaper for your P&GbrandSAVER® coupon books.

This promotion is based on coupon redemption: Special Olympics will receive 2 cents for every coupon redeemed at checkout. There is no limit to the donation from P&G, so the more coupons redeemed, the higher the gift to Special Olympics!

The coupons expire and the promotion ends June 30. To find a local newspaper carrying the P&GbrandSAVER® coupon book, please click here.

Sponsor Spotlight – Mattel

Mattel OnlyWho hasn’t heard of Mattel? The world’s largest toy maker has brands including Barbie, Hot Wheels, Matchbox, Fisher-Price and American Girl which are familiar to children and adults of any generation. With worldwide headquarters located in El Segundo, California, Mattel employs 30,000 in 40 countries and is one of Fortune Magazine’s “100 Best Companies to Work For.”

What people may not know is the generous support Mattel shares with Special Olympics Illinois. For more than ten years, the Mattel Foundation has shared funds to support the Special Olympics Illinois Spring Games hosted in Chicago by Area 3. In recent years, Mattel contributions have also supported the Special Olympics Illinois Summer Games.

MattelVols2014-05-07 08.38.07Mattel employees have shared hundreds of volunteer hours to support Special Olympics Illinois athletes. Employees of American Girl, one of the Mattel brands, have volunteered for 10 years at the Special Olympics Chicago Spring Games.

Kathy McLaughlin, SOILL Director of Development, offers high praise for the efforts of Mattel volunteers. “The men and women from American Girl are among the best volunteers we work with at Spring Games! They are incredibly enthusiastic in their work with the athletes and are so sincere and encouraging with each person.  American Girl volunteers are the first ones to arrive and last ones to go home. We are so grateful for their involvement.”

Special Olympics Day with the Chicago Fire

Join Special Olympics Illinois at 2 p.m. Sunday, May 18, for an afternoon with the Chicago Fire.

Tickets for this game are discounted to $25 (originally $40) and a portion of the proceeds will benefit Special Olympics Illinois. The Chicago Fire will take on the Sporting Kansas City at Toyota Park, located at 7000 S. Harlem Ave. in Bridgeview.

The halftime entertainment will be the Special Olympics Illinois Unified Soccer teams playing a short scrimmage. Tickets can be purchased online at the discounted rate. Larger groups looking to sit together should contact Chicago Fire representative Brad Bauer at 708-496-6761. Special Olympics Project UNIFY is an all ages education based program that is supported through the Federal Department of Education.

There are many moving parts to Project UNIFY, though they all share one driving force: the goal of activating young people and giving them the tools, skills, dispositions, and opportunities to build change and to motivate their schools to have true cultures of inclusiveness.

For more information, please contact Jen Marcello at 630-942-5612.

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July 2013 Newsletter

by Jamie Scovel.

Athletes&Families Coaches Volunteers YoungAthletes AreaNews TorchRun Give

Donate

 

Lives Transformed Around Every Corner at Summer Games

Joshua Groenewold of District 54 celebrates as he crosses the finish line in the 4x100-meter relay race.

Joshua Groenewold celebrates as he crosses the finish line in the 4×100-meter relay race.

Summer Games was a life-changing event for nearly 4,000 athletes and the families, coaches and volunteers who cheered them on. Around every corner there were stories of how Special Olympics has transformed lives – from Reem Abdelmeguid who autographed T-shirts with her winning 45th anniversary design to Breanna Bogucki who sang her new single in front of thousands at the Victory Dance; from retired Quincy University coach Jack Mackenzie who now coaches a Special Olympics soccer team to “Rocket Man” Jordan VanKooten who visualizes rockets on his shoes that power his walk race and Rachel McGrew who went the distance on the track in memory of her father. Also at Summer Games, we honored our Outstanding Award winners at the Summer Games Reception. View photos and video from Summer Games and check results.

Gearing Up for Windy City Rubber Ducky Derby

Ela Stoklosa hams it up with Splash the Duck

Ela Stoklosa hams it up with Splash the Duck

Now that the Summer Games are over, our athletes are “training” for the 8th Annual  Windy City Rubber Ducky Derby on Aug. 8 in downtown Chicago. The Darling Ducklings, a group of Global Messengers, have been busy selling “adoptions” to raise money for a cause near and dear to their hearts – Special Olympics Illinois. And athlete Ela Stoklosa sweetens the deal by delivering duck-shaped cookies to those who donate to her duck sales effort.  There are over 100 duck sales teams this year – both corporate and independent teams.

The Windy City Rubber Ducky Derby kicks off at 10 a.m. Aug. 8 at 400 N. Michigan Ave. (The Wrigley Building) with the Family Festival. Splashdown for the Duck Derby is at 1 p.m. off the Columbus Street Bridge. To adopt a duck, visit http://www.duckrace.com/chicago.

 

News from President & CEO

By Dave Breen, President & CEO

Dave Breen

In a recent USA Today article, Boston doctor Brian Skotko used the phrase “life coach for all of us” in describing his sister with Down syndrome. Those of us fortunate enough to be involved with Special Olympics have already learned many lessons from our “life coaches.”

For many individuals in our program – from individuals with Down Syndrome, those on the Autism Spectrum or those with a variety of other issues that provide them the opportunity to participate in Special Olympics – they are often seen only for their disability. But it is their abilities that are truly incredible! Read More

Share Your Special Olympics Story With Us

Giving it EverythingWe know Special Olympics has transformed your life or the lives of your loved ones. Now we want to hear the story of that transformation directly from those involved. Truly, no one can capture the excitement and joy of your tales quite like you!

Special Olympics Illinois is holding a story-sharing contest through Aug. 30, with winners to be determined by a small committee who know and love Special Olympics as much as you do.  If your story is chosen, you could receive a number of exciting prizes and be featured in multiple Special Olympics Illinois promotional pieces throughout 2014. Your involvement in Special Olympics has inspired us; now it is your chance to connect with and inspire thousands more across the state. Click here to learn more about the contest and to submit your story today. This is open to athletes, coaches, volunteers, family, friends and fans.

Benefit Lunch at Texas Roadhouse on July 26

TXRH-LogoTexas Roadhouse restaurants will be teaming up with local law enforcement officers on Friday, July 26, for a Benefit Lunch to support Special Olympics Illinois. Local officers will serve a “free” lunch of a limited menu from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.  This exclusive lunch at all 11 Texas Roadhouse locations in Illinois includes a pulled pork sandwich, corn, freshly baked bread with honey-cinnamon butter and a non-alcoholic beverage. Read More

Outdoor Sports Festival Date Change

The date of the Outdoor Sports Festival in Decatur has been changed to Sept. 14-15. Dates published in the 2013 Facts & Forms/Policies & Procedures late last year were incorrect. The Outdoor Sports Festival includes competition in softball, golf and Unified golf.

 

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Michele Panozzo Named Athlete of the Year

Michele Panozzo, left, receives her award with Dave Breen and Ashley Cain

Michele Panozzo, left, receives her award with Dave Breen and Ashley Cain

Michele Panozzo, 33, of Rockford was named 2013 Special Olympics Illinois Outstanding Athlete of the Year. She was honored at a reception held on June 14 before the Special Olympics Illinois Summer Games Opening Ceremonies at Illinois State University in Normal.

The Outstanding Athlete Award recognizes a Special Olympics Illinois athlete whose achievements, dedication and commitment to their team and themselves exemplifies the purpose of Special Olympics.

Michele started in Special Olympics in 1988 when she was 8 years old.  She has been on her current team, the Rockford Red Hots, for 20 years. Michele has competed in a variety of sports during a quarter-century including athletics (track & field), basketball, bowling, softball and bocce. Read More

Devines Named Family of the Year

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Bill, Nikki, Madison and CJ Devine receive their award with Attorney General Lisa Madigan

Bill, Nikki, Madison and CJ Devine of Tinley Park have been named 2013 Special Olympics Illinois Outstanding Family of the Year. They were honored at a reception held on June 14 before the Special Olympics Illinois Summer Games Opening Ceremonies at Illinois State University in Normal.

The Outstanding Family Award recognizes a family with a Special Olympics athlete that has made unique and lasting contributions not only benefiting their athletes but also every aspect of the Special Olympics Illinois program.

In 2006, Bill and Nikki Devine’s son CJ was born with Down syndrome.  CJ participates in the Special Olympics Young Athletes Program and is one of the most amazing Young Athletes that you will ever meet. Their daughter, Madison, is a peer buddy with CJ during Young Athletes events, encouraging him and the other athletes, rewarding them for a job well done. Read More

High School Basketball Team Receives State Championship Rings

When the Homewood-Flossmoor High School Vikings “three-peated” by winning their high school division at the Special Olympics Illinois State Basketball Tournament in March, they secured a spot in the record books at their school.

Homewood-Flossmoor HS ringsOn May 21, they received another sort of recognition that was also a first for the school district – all 11 members of the Special Olympics team and its three coaches were presented with State Championship rings before the last school board meeting of the year. Seven team volunteers also received pendants.

Each student was individually called forward by their name and jersey number and presented with their ring. Afterwards, the school board held a reception complete with cupcakes. “The school board was very enthusiastic for our players,” said David Dore, Homewood-Flossmoor Special Education teacher and Special Olympics coach. Read More

Project UNIFY

“At that start of this school year I was given a wonderful opportunity to become a member on the Youth Activation Committee for Project Unify Illinois.  Before this year, I had never volunteered for the Special Olympics nor had I heard of Project UNIFY. I had only helped some of the athletes at my school with their studies, so this was a completely new experience for me.

Project UNIFY1I remember my first day at the YAC boot camp. It was freezing cold, and we were going to be outside volunteering for the Unified Soccer Tournament. I wasn’t sure what to expect at first.  However, I had a great time. It was awesome to see the athletes and Partners working together. Throughout the year, I’ve learned more than I possibly could have ever imagined. To start I learned what it means to be part of a team.

I was a peer partner to Bailey Keiser, and while we weren’t on a Unified sports team together, she and I were a team. We bounced ideas off of each other and we worked together. Not only did I realize what true teamwork and cooperation was, I learned that the old adage ‘you can do anything you set your mind to’ is true. I want to help people. I always have and always will want to.

I am so thankful to Project UNIFY for giving me that opportunity. It was an amazing year and I so look forward to next year!”

By Madeline Hermann, Normal Community West High School student

Project UNIFY2

Madeline Hermann, left, and Bailey Keiser work on a computer project

Special Olympics Project UNIFY is an education-based project  that uses the sports and education programs of Special Olympics to activate young people to promote school communities where all young people are agents of change – fostering respect, dignity and advocacy for people with intellectual disabilities. Special Olympics believes that through sports young people can make a difference in friendships, schools and communities.

Project UNIFY is youth driven, with a Youth Activation Committee (YAC) made up of young people representing middle schools, high schools and colleges nationwide.  Members of the committee work together over the course of the year to develop strategies promoting school communities where all young people are agents of change.  During their time on the committee, YAC members provide leadership to Special Olympics and Project UNIFY by participating in Special Olympics events, providing advice and counsel on strategies to reach other youths, engaging in and promoting Special Olympics activities in their home environments, communicating and networking via Web connectivity with other youth, and reviewing Project UNIFY materials for innovation and viability.

Are you interested in your school becoming a Project UNIFY School?  Do you have a student that you feel would be perfect for the Youth Activation Committee?  Please  contact Jennifer Marcello at 630-200-7693 with any questions related to Project UNIFY.

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Stacey Metheney Named Coach of the Year

Stacey Metheney works with a Young Athletes

Stacey Metheney works with a Young Athletes

Stacey Metheney of Belleville has been named 2013 Special Olympics Illinois Outstanding Coach of the Year. She was honored at a reception held on June 14 before the Special Olympics Illinois Summer Games Opening Ceremonies at Illinois State University in Normal. Two of her athletes, Tony Hill and Jim Morgan, accepted the award for Metheney.

The Outstanding Coach Award recognizes the coach who best demonstrates the true ideals of coaching profession, who leads by example and expects athletes to set and strive to reach goals. As a coach of Special Olympics Illinois athletes, he or she must demonstrate both technical skills and personal commitment to the physical, social and psychological well-being of the athletes.

Fan, friend, volunteer, fundraiser, supporter and coach are all just a few words that can be used to describe Metheney.  For more than 19 years, she has dedicated her life to helping individuals with intellectual disabilities.

It is the passion, strength and courage that she brings with her involvement that has made a world of difference to so many athletes over the years.  Metheney is more than just a coach.  She is a friend, a confidant and supporter to every athlete she coaches.  She not only coaches them in sports, but also in life.  It is by her example and strength that the athletes are able to overcome some of their most trying moments. Read More

Retired Quincy University Soccer Coach Back in the Game

Seth Coons, a player with the Transitions of Adams County Stars & Stripes team, couldn’t believe his eyes when he showed up to his first soccer practice earlier this year.

Coach Jack Mackenzie gives instructions during practice in Quincy. (Herald-Whig Photo by Steve Bohnstedt)

Coach Jack Mackenzie gives instructions during practice in Quincy.

A longtime fan of Quincy University soccer, Coons walked on to the field and saw longtime Hawks coach Jack Mackenzie getting ready to run practice. Now retired, Mackenzie had agreed to coach the team this year.

“I was just nervous,” Coons, 37, said. “He’s a good guy. He is working very hard for us.”

The experience of coaching the team is like nothing else Mackenzie has experienced in a coaching career that spans more than 40 years and includes nine national championships.

“I’m getting more out of it than I’m putting into it,” Mackenzie said. “I’m a real rookie here with Special Olympics. I’m at Peg 1 at the bottom,” he said. Read More

Easing Young Athletes’ Transition to Traditional Program

There are Young Athletes who are turning 8 years old statewide this year and will be looking to continue their Special Olympics careers in traditional programs.  Our Young Athletes staff (Jen Marcello, Manager of the Young Athletes Program; Jacquelin Kogut, Northern Coordinator; and Bailey Brenner, Central/Southern Coordinator) needs your help as a coach to ensure these athletes are staying in Special Olympics as long as they want.  Young Athletes staff is working with individual families to assist them with placing their Young Athlete in a traditional program.

For those who are unfamiliar with the Young Athletes Program, it is an innovative sports play program designed for 2- to 7-year-olds, with and without intellectual disabilities, to learn the fundamental sports skills prior to participation in Special Olympics at age 8.

The transition from Young Athletes to the traditional Special Olympics program is vital to the success of the organization, as both athletes and volunteers are needed.  It is important that those athletes who began training as Young Athletes continue to increase their confidence, physical abilities and learn valuable life lessons from competing as an individual or as part of a team in a traditional program setting.

The transition from the Young Athletes program to the traditional Special Olympics program begins at age 6.  When an athlete turns 6 years old, he or she may begin training in any official sport. Currently, traditional Young Athletes have the opportunity to participate in exhibitions at the following state competitions:

  • Outdoor Sports Festival in Decatur (mid-September) – Individual Softball Skills and Individual Golf Skills
  • Winter Games in Galena (late January) – 50-Meter and 100-Meter Snowshoe races
  • State Basketball in Normal (mid-March) – Individual Basketball Skills
  • Summer Games in Normal (mid-June) – 50-Meter Run and Tennis Ball Throw or Soccer Individual Skills

With the transition beginning at the age of 6 for these Young Athletes, they will need a program to train with.  Young Athletes staff is working with each family to find out what they are interested in, where they are located and how best we can serve them, but the Young Athletes staff will need help from you. Young Athletes staff may call upon you to help locate the best program for each Young Athlete in your area.  The objective is to have an agency ready for each willing Young Athlete to smoothly transition into once they turn 8.

The Young Athletes staff looks forward to working with you so we can successfully transition these athletes into Special Olympics and continue the growth and development of this amazing organization.

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Dave Hayes Named Outstanding Volunteer of the Year

SOA-63-Volunteer-web

Dave Hayes, left, receives his award with Dave Breen and Ashley Cain

Dave Hayes of Seattle, Wash., and formerly of Bloomington, Normal and Springfield has been named 2013 Special Olympics Illinois Outstanding Volunteer of the Year. He was honored at a reception held on June 14 before the Special Olympics Illinois Summer Games Opening Ceremonies at Illinois State University in Normal.

The Outstanding Volunteer Award recognizes an individual who through their voluntary efforts improve the quality of the Special Olympics Illinois Program to benefit all aspects of the organization.

Hayes has been a longtime volunteer for Special Olympics Illinois and currently serves as Athletics Venue Director at Summer Games. Read More

Goodwill Northern Illinois Named Organization of the Year

SOA-61-OrganizationGoodwill Northern Illinois has been named 2013 Special Olympics Illinois Outstanding Organization of the Year. Sam Schmits, President of Goodwill Industries of Northern Illinois & Wisconsin Stateline, and Courtney Gieger, Mission Services Director,  accepted the award at a reception held on June 14 before the Special Olympics Illinois Summer Games Opening Ceremonies at Illinois State University in Normal.

The Outstanding Organization Award recognizes a club, business or organization whose efforts have significantly improved the Special Olympics Illinois athletes’ experiences either locally or statewide.

For the past 29 years, the office of Special Olympics Illinois Northwestern/Area 1 has been housed with Goodwill Northern Illinois. The partnership between Goodwill Northern Illinois and Special Olympics Illinois has been crucial to the success of the organization.  Goodwill has provided the facility, along with the reception, copy, phone and fax machines. Read More

Golf & Ice Cream Bring Athletes & Buddies Together

Everyone has stories to tell. For the past two years, Mike Chmielewski of West Dundee has organized what he calls “the Buddy’s Outing.” Composed of 24 buddies and 24 athletes, the outing is an opportunity for Special Olympics athletes to golf with a buddy and share their stories with them. The outing was at Bartlett Hills Golf Club on May 9 from 1 to 4 p.m. They played nine holes of golf and enjoyed ice cream afterwards.

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From left, Pat Prom, Francisco Vela, Ben Brizzolara and Mike Chmielewski at Buddy’s Outing.

“We have a lot of rules. The rules are: we don’t have any rules,” said Chmielewski. “It’s not about raising the money. It’s not about playing golf. It’s the interaction with the athletes. Most of the buddies really haven’t had the opportunity to interact with people with special needs. I just said “Listen to them, listen to their stories, talk to them. Don’t treat them any differently. They don’t want to be treated any different. You’re their buddy for the couple hours that we play golf.’ ”

In the two years the Buddy’s Outing has occurred, they’ve raised more than $4,000.

“Our goal initially was to help send an athlete, family, coach to the 2014 National Games,” said Chmielewski. He will be donating the money raised to Special Olympics to use as needed. Read More

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Devines Named Family of the Year

SOA-70-Family-web

Bill, Nikki, Madison and CJ Devine receive their award with Attorney General Lisa Madigan

Bill, Nikki, Madison and CJ Devine of Tinley Park have been named 2013 Special Olympics Illinois Outstanding Family of the Year. They were honored at a reception held on June 14 before the Special Olympics Illinois Summer Games Opening Ceremonies at Illinois State University in Normal.

The Outstanding Family Award recognizes a family with a Special Olympics athlete that has made unique and lasting contributions not only benefiting their athletes but also every aspect of the Special Olympics Illinois program.

In 2006, Bill and Nikki Devine’s son CJ was born with Down syndrome.  CJ participates in the Special Olympics Young Athletes Program and is one of the most amazing Young Athletes that you will ever meet. Their daughter, Madison, is a peer buddy with CJ during Young Athletes events, encouraging him and the other athletes, rewarding them for a job well done. Read More

 

Mark Your Calendars for TRYathlon

TRYathlon2Mark your calendars for 10 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 29, for the 3rd Annual Young Athletes TRYathlon. This event offers a fun and engaging way to help support our 12,000 Young Athletes ages 2-7 in the state of Illinois.  Similar to the athletes we support, this event requires high energy, bravery and is a lot of fun! This exciting event will take place at DuPage County Forest Preserve-Danada (3S580 Naperville Rd., Wheaton, IL 60189) and will consist of a 1-mile run, 3.5-mile bike ride and an obstacle course containing 12 stations including tunnels, inflatable slides and hurdles.

Participants can register as an individual or as a family. The registration fee is $35 for an individual and $100 for a family of four. Register online now.

Outdoor Sports Festival

Outdoor Sports FestivalSummer Games has come to a close which means the Special Olympics Illinois Outdoor Sports Festival is up next! For the fourth year in a row, Young Athletes aged 6 and 7 will be invited to participate and showcase their talent in Decatur!  For the first time, Young Athletes will have the opportunity to participate in Golf Individual Skills in addition to Softball Individual Skills (base running, throwing, fielding and hitting).

Last year, more than 600 Special Olympics Illinois traditional athletes took to the softball fields and golf course arena in Decatur.

If you are interested in having your Young Athlete attend, please complete a registration form and return it to the Special Olympics office before Tuesday, Aug. 13.

Coordinators of the Month – Liesz & Luzwick at District 54

Lisa D 54-web

Lisa Liesz with Young Athlete Dominick LaPrairie

Lisa Liesz and David Luzwick, two District 54 staff members, are great supporters of Special Olympics Illinois. Liesz and Luzwick serve as the Special Olympics Athletic Directors for District 54, the original Young Athletes site. They travel to 14 schools within the district to train more than 1,200 Young Athletes. Liesz and Luzwick recently attended the 2013 State Summer Games with two Young Athletes from District 54 participating in the statewide Culminating Event and exhibitions events for Individual Soccer Skills and Athletics.

David-web

David Luzwick with Young Athlete Dominick LaPrairie

In addition to coaching Young Athletes, Liesz and Luzwick also coach traditional Special Olympics athletes in 13 sports, plus coordinating six recognized Project Unify schools.

Jacquelin Kogut, Northern Region Young Athletes Coordinator, states “It is truly a pleasure to work with both David and Lisa. Their passion and dedication to their athletes, schools and Special Olympics Illinois is amazing.”  Special Olympics Illinois Young Athletes is very appreciative of the work from these coordinators and thank them for all they do for their athletes!

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Areas 2, 3, 5, 13, 16 & 18

Pumpkin Pedal to Benefit Many Northern Areas

Special Olympics Illinois Areas 2, 3, 5, 13, 16 & 18 will be joining forces to host the Pumpkin Pedal Bike Tour fundraiser on Oct. 6.

There will be trail rides of 10, 20 and 28 miles and road rides of 40 and 65 miles. All rides will begin and end at Leroy Oakes Forest Preserve on Dean Street just west of Randall Road in St. Charles. Entry forms are due Sept. 27 to receive your Pumpkin Pedal T-shirt on the day of the ride.

Registration will begin at 7:30 a.m. and riders may start anytime from 7:45-10 a.m. Bike helmets are required. This event will take place rain or shine. A post ride meal will be served from 10 a.m.-3 p.m.

For more information, call 224-234-8635, or email Sandy Hutchins or Dan Conley. Download a registration form here.

Area 3

Spring Games a Success

GE Photo 4-webSpecial Olympics Illinois Chicago/Area 3 welcomed more than 3,300 athletes to the 45th Annual Spring Games.

Opening Ceremonies were held at historic Soldier Field on May 7 and guests heard dignitaries from the Chicago Park District, Chicago Public School, Special Children’s Charities and Special Olympics Illinois cheer athletes from almost every Chicago neighborhood.

Competitions included wheelchair races, assisted races, softball and tennis ball throw, shot put, running long jump and standing long jump.  Athletes competed from May 8-10 at Eckersall Stadium.

Support was shared from many to fund the Area 3 Spring Games and included Mattel, BlueCross Blue Shield Association, GE, Goldman Sachs, the Knights of Columbus and the Law Enforcement Torch Run.  And of course, hundreds of volunteers shared their time and talents to make the week a success for everyone.

Gale Street Inn Hosts Fundraiser

In celebration of its 50th anniversary, Gale Street Inn hosted a fundraiser and shared proceeds with Chicago/Area 3.

Kevin Matthews 2Located at 4914 N. Milwaukee in the Jefferson Park neighborhood of Chicago, Gale Street Inn has been serving customers for 50 years.  As a way to thank customers and the community for 50 years of business, owner George Karzas has partnered with 12 local non-profits.  Each month of 2013, Gale Street Inn is hosting charity events.

On May 21, Gale Street Inn hosted a “Night with Radio Legend Kevin Matthews” and donated all proceeds to Special Olympics Illinois.  The evening included a delicious buffet and beverages, in addition to a Question and Answer hour with Kevin Matthews that had guests laughing loudly.

Throughout the month of May, which Gale Street Inn designated as Special Olympics Illinois month, guests to the restaurant enjoyed the opportunity to share a donation and spin a wheel making them eligible to win a variety of prizes also shared by Gale Street Inn.

It was a great evening with lots of laughter and delicious food and many new friendships were experienced.

The Laugh Factory Opened Doors for Contest        

The Laugh Factory recognized as the “#1 Comedy Club in the Country” recently hosted The Funniest Chicago Media Person contest.

Harry Teinowitz, former ESPN radio sports announcer and friend of Chicago/Area 3, participated at the event which was held on June 10.  The Laugh Factory, located at 3175 Broadway, Chicago, welcomed more than 10 local radio, television and newspaper staff to the contest.  Each contestant selected a non-profit to receive a donation if they were determined to be the funniest Chicago media person.

Although Harry Teinowitz didn’t win the contest, the show was a great success and entertained a sold out audience throughout the evening.

Area 4

Go Over the Edge to Support Special Olympics

Over the Edge -TomThompson5268Are you a fan enough to go Over the Edge for Special Olympics Illinois and Special Olympics Iowa?

Be one of the few to rappel off a 131-foot building – the Hotel Blackhawk in downtown Davenport!  Join us on Wednesday, Oct. 30,and go Over the Edge!

Register online today. View Over the Edge brochure.

Area 6

Business Before Hours

Special Olympics Illinois hosted the McLean County Chamber of Commerce Business Before Hours at it’s State Headquarters in Tribute Park in Normal from 7-8:30 a.m. June 26.

BBHThe event was made possible by corporate sponsors Nicor Gas and Commerce Bank who helped cover the hosting fees and other expenses such as food and tent rental for the event.

Business Before Hours are monthly get-togethers that are open to all McLean County Chamber members and offer opportunities to network, connect and socialize with local community businesses and organizations.

Approximately 125 guests attended the event in Tribute Park and got to learn more about Special Olympics Illinois, its events and its athletes.

State Farm Student-Athlete Recognition Banquet Honors Special Olympics Athletes

Drew White with State Farm Sponsorship Coordinator John Althoff

Drew White with State Farm Sponsorship Coordinator John Althoff

Drew White of SOAR and Katy Peifer from Olympia School District were honored as the Male and Female Special Olympics Athletes of the Year at the 6th annual State Farm Student-Athlete Recognition Banquet held at the Holiday Inn & Suites on June 20.

Drew, who attends Normal West and competes with SOAR, has competed for more than six years in athletics, aquatics, softball, bowling, basketball, tennis and volleyball. He is also involved with the Penguin Project and works at Advocate BroMenn in the cafeteria. Drew is very active and loves to dance, play sports and encourage his teammates.

Katy Pifer with State Farm Sponsorship Coordinator John Althoff.

Katy Pifer with State Farm Sponsorship Coordinator John Althoff.

Katy is a graduating senior from Olympia High School. She has participated in basketball, athletics, T-ball and bowling for seven years through SOAR. She always encourages and helps her teammates and helped recruit athletes to be a part of Olympia Special Olympics when they began their program two years ago.

Josiah Copass from SOAR and Nathan Hawley from Olympia were nominees for Male Special Olympics Athlete of the Year. Bailey Keiser from Tri-Valley Special Olympics and Rachel McGrew from Tri-Valley were nominees for Female Special Olympics Athlete of the Year. Special Olympics coach Glenda Walsh from Tri-Valley was a nominee for Coach of the Year for a female sport.

Illinois Wesleyan University Women’s Basketball Coach Mia Smith and Special Olympics Illinois Global Messenger Kirsten Boswell delivered keynote addresses.

Area 7

Construction Team Picnic A Huge Success

A Special Olympics athlete plays bags at the Construction Team Picnic.

The 14th Annual Construction Team Picnic was held June 1 at Allstate’s Northbrook Campus. This year’s picnic was another success for SOILL South Cook-Will/Area 7. More than 300 athletes, coaches and families were treated to fun, food and a DJ for dancing. Everyone in attendance also received a T-shirt and goodie bag.

Each year a small committee from local construction companies puts this event together. This year, 27 sponsor companies donated more than $14,750 for Area 7 athletes. Thanks to the continued efforts of Jon DeMaine, Corrine Rossi, Maureen Lucenti and Mike Schutten, Area 7 is able to host this summer kick-off picnic every year. Mark your calendars for next year – Saturday, June 7, 2014.

Area 16

5K Foam Fest a Muddy, Soapy Run

More than 6,500 individuals participated in the 5K Foam Fest June 1-2 at Off Road Racing in Ottawa.  The 5K Foam Fest offered participants the chance to get dirty and clean off while supporting Special Olympics Illinois. The fun, foamy and muddy run was like running a 5K through a car wash!

Special Olympics Illinois received $27,302  from proceeds of the 5K Foam Fest. View photos from 5K Foam Fest.

Annual Auction to Benefit Area 16

SOILL Starved Rock/Area 16 will host its 11th Annual Auction on Thursday, Aug. 1, at Celebrations 150 in Utica from 6-9 p.m.  The theme of this year’s event is Viva Las Vegas and will feature a variety of live and silent auction items available for bid. Presenting sponsors are Miller Group Charitable Trust and WOLF 96.5.

Reservations are $30 per person and can be made online at area16auction.eventbrite.com or by calling Cheryl De Paepe at 815-220-8128.

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Joe Peña Named Lifetime Service Award Winner

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Joe Pena receives his award with Attorney General Lisa Madigan and Tom Reasoner

Ignacio “Joe” Peña of Channahon has been named winner of the 2013 Special Olympics Illinois Lifetime Service Award. He was honored at a reception held on June 14 before the Special Olympics Illinois Summer Games Opening Ceremonies at Illinois State University in Normal.

The Special Olympics Illinois Lifetime Service award is given to an outstanding individual who encompasses the spirit of Special Olympics Illinois and has shown their dedication to the organization and to serving its mission and goals. Awards are given based on nominee’s interest in and support of the abilities and accomplishments of SO ILL athletes as demonstrated through significant contributions. The individual also needs to have at least 20 years of service with Special Olympics Illinois. Read More

Drake Taylor Posthumously Receives LETR Hero Award

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Beverly and Randy Taylor accept son Drake’s award from Officer Nik Jones

Drake Taylor of Dunlap has posthumously received the 2013 Special Olympics Illinois/Law Enforcement Torch Run Hero Award. Drake’s parents, Beverly and Randy Taylor, accepted the award at a reception held on June 14 before the Special Olympics Illinois Summer Games Opening Ceremonies at Illinois State University in Normal.

The Law Enforcement Torch Run Hero Award recognizes an individual involved in Special Olympics Illinois who has demonstrated courage, noble qualities and has been a model for others. This award exemplifies what a hero is, in the eyes of a Law Enforcement officer. Read More

Devines Named Family of the Year

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Bill, Nikki, Madison and CJ Devine receive their award with Attorney General Lisa Madigan

Bill, Nikki, Madison and CJ Devine of Tinley Park have been named 2013 Special Olympics Illinois Outstanding Family of the Year. They were honored at a reception held on June 14 before the Special Olympics Illinois Summer Games Opening Ceremonies at Illinois State University in Normal.

The Outstanding Family Award recognizes a family with a Special Olympics athlete that has made unique and lasting contributions not only benefiting their athletes but also every aspect of the Special Olympics Illinois program.

Bill Devine is an officer with the Tinley Park Police Department and has been involved with Special Olympics and the Illinois Law Enforcement Torch Run (LETR) for 16 years.  Bill is a Leg Leader for the Torch Run and sits on the State Torch Run Committee helping to put on the many statewide Torch Run events. Read More

Texas Roadhouse Torch Run Benefit Lunch Set for July 26

TXRH-LogoTexas Roadhouse restaurants will be teaming up with local law enforcement officers on Friday, July 26, for a Benefit Lunch to support Special Olympics Illinois.

Local officers will serve a “free” lunch of a limited menu from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.  This exclusive lunch includes a pulled pork sandwich, corn, freshly baked bread with honey-cinnamon butter and a non-alcoholic beverage.

TXRH_EPeoriaDiners are simply asked to leave a donation at their table for their meal, with 100 percent of the proceeds benefiting Special Olympics Illinois!  This Texas Roadhouse Benefit Lunch is part of the Law Enforcement Torch Run, which is the largest year-round fundraising vehicle benefiting Special Olympics Illinois.

All 11 Texas Roadhouse locations in Illinois will be participating, which includes: Bradley, Champaign, Decatur, East Peoria, Joliet, Naperville, Quincy, Rockford, Shiloh (O’Fallon), Springfield and Tinley Park.  Be sure to stop by the location nearest you to enjoy a great meal for a great cause!

Flame of Hope Travels the State During Annual Torch Run

From the various legs and routes throughout the state to the Final Leg and Opening Ceremonies, the Flame of Hope again burned brightly this year!

FL2013-webApproximately 100 law enforcement personnel participated in this year’s Final Leg, which is the culmination of all Torch Run Legs from across Illinois.  This 2.5 mile run ended at the Special Olympics Illinois VIP Reception, where Torch Runners received a standing ovation for their efforts.  State Torch Run Director Eric Smith and Assistant Torch Run Director Tom Reasoner presented Special Olympics Illinois with a check for the estimated 2013 year-end fundraising total of this statewide effort – for the first time, $3 million is expected to be raised by the Illinois Law Enforcement Torch Run!

After the reception, this group carried the torch into a packed Hancock Stadium, where the Flame of Hope was passed to Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan from Chris Soderlund of the Crestwood Police Department (last year’s top Torch Run fundraising department).  The flame, which was then presented from athlete-to-athlete, ultimately ignited the cauldron to officially open Summer Games.

To all law enforcement in Illinois, thank you for giving your time to raise awareness for Special Olympics Illinois athletes and their accomplishments! 

Pull a Plane at O’Hare Airport this September!

The 5th annual Law Enforcement Torch Run® Plane Pull at O’Hare International Airport is set for Saturday, Sept. 21.  Teams of 20 will test their muscle and play tug-of-war with a UPS Airbus A300 weighing more than 99 tons!

2012PlanePull-DT7234-webLaw enforcement officers and fire departments, along with private companies, high schools, colleges, fraternal groups and teams of family and friends are all welcome to try pulling the plane in record time to win valuable prizes and official bragging rights!  View this Team Captain Guide for more information on getting your group started.

Each team is required to raise $1,000 to participate (that’s only $50 per team member for a group of 20).  Each participant will receive an official Plane Pull T-shirt, with all event proceeds benefiting the athletes of Special Olympics Illinois.

Interested in pulling for Special Olympics Illinois?  Visit www.illinoisplanepull.com for additional information or to register your team.

Dunkin’ Donuts Cop on Rooftop Event a Huge Success

Police officers throughout Illinois staked out Dunkin’ Donuts rooftops on May 31 to heighten awareness and raise donations for the Law Enforcement Torch Run® to benefit Special Olympics Illinois.

Peoria-Pekin PD-webIt was a record-breaking year for the Cop on Rooftop event, with officers participating at 150 locations in Illinois and raising more than $310,000 – a first in both the number of locations and money raised!  The Bloomington Police Department was once again the top fundraising department, collecting more than $9,300 during their event the week of the State Summer Games.

Everyone who visited a participating Dunkin’ Donuts store and made a donation to the Torch Run received a free donut.  Individuals who donated at least $10 also received an Illinois Law Enforcement Torch Run travel mug and coupon for free coffee.

2013 marked the 11th anniversary of this great partnership between Dunkin’ Donuts and the Illinois Law Enforcement Torch Run.  The Cop on Rooftop event has been a great success since its inception, raising more than $1.6 million for the athletes of Special Olympics Illinois!

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Interior Investments Receives Chairman’s Award

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Representatives of Interior Investments receive their award with Ashley Cain and Dave Breen

Interior Investments of Lincolnshire has received 2013 Special Olympics Illinois’ Chairman’s Award. Interior Investments’ owner Mike Greenberg accepted the award at a reception held on June 14 before the Special Olympics Illinois Summer Games Opening Ceremonies at Illinois State University in Normal.

The Special Olympics Illinois Chairman’s Award recognizes an outstanding donor or sponsor who has contributed significantly to Special Olympics Illinois through in-kind, volunteer and/or monetary support.

Interior Investments is an office furniture distributor that offers design and support services.  What began as a whimsical “what if?” has evolved into a major industry event – planned, managed and hosted by Interior Investments.  The Annual Office Chair Hockey Tournament is held each year in the beautiful Grand Ballroom at Navy Pier in Chicago.  This one-of-a-kind event sells out every year. Read More

Glenwood High School Name Facility of the Year

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Representatives of Glenwood High School receive their award with Ashley Cain and Dave Breen

Glenwood High School has been named 2013 Special Olympics Illinois Outstanding Facility of the Year. Dave Murphy, Director of Facilities and Grounds for Ball-Chatham School District #5, accepted the award on behalf of the school at a reception held on June 14 before the Special Olympics Illinois Summer Games Opening Ceremonies at Illinois State University in Normal.

The Outstanding Facility Award recognizes a facility that offers benefits to the local Area program and/or state program in order to help promote the quality of competition provided for the Special Olympics Illinois athletes.

Glenwood High School has generously hosted the Special Olympics Illinois Sangamon/Area 17 Spring Games at their beautiful facility for several years at no expense to Special Olympics Illinois.  Athletic Director Dan Rourke and Director of Buildings and Grounds Jim Lovelace provide everything needed for the games from access to the facility to athletic equipment to scores of volunteers. Read More

Chicago Sun-Times Media Group Named Media of the Year

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Jim Kirk receives The Chicago Sun-Times Group award, with Ashley Cain and Dave Breen

The Chicago Sun-Times Media Group has been named 2013 Special Olympics Illinois Outstanding Media of the Year. Jim Kirk, Editor-in-Chief, accepted the award at a reception held on June 14 before the Special Olympics Illinois Summer Games Opening Ceremonies at Illinois State University in Normal.

The Outstanding Media Award recognizes an individual or organization that has helped communicate and/or promote Special Olympics Illinois and the achievements of its athletes, coaches and volunteers locally, Area-or statewide through news features and/or other presentations.

The Chicago Sun-Times has been a supporter of Special Olympics Illinois for many years. It has been the print sponsor for the Windy City Rubber Ducky Derby – an event that raises hundreds of thousands of dollars for Special Olympics Illinois – since the event was established in 2006. Each year, the Sun-Times has run a series of color ads to promote the Ducky Derby in the Chicago  Sun-Times, as well as in the Sun-Times Media Group publications that cover surrounding suburbs (Naperville Sun, Joliet Herald-News, Southtown Star, Pioneer Press and Lake County News-Sun). The Sun-Times has also given exposure to the Ducky Derby on its website and encouraged employees to get involved by adopting ducks for Special Olympics Illinois. Read More

Include Special Olympics Illinois in Your Estate Plans

I wish I could do more …

We often hear that phrase from fans of Special Olympics Illinois. Whether they are parents or grandparents of a Special Olympics athlete—or   people who simply want to help others—the feeling is the same.  And so is the answer!

Your signature can provide the Special Olympics experience to adults and children with intellectual disabilities for many years to come.

How?  By including Special Olympics Illinois in your estate plans.

It’s easy to make Special Olympics Illinois the beneficiary of a life insurance policy or Individual Retirement Account.

You could also make an outright bequest in your will, designating a specific dollar amount or a percentage of your estate in support of our mission to create a better life for people with intellectual disabilities.

If you have a trust, you can make arrangements now so that whatever funds remain in the trust will go to Special Olympics Illinois as part of your estate.

You can do more – you can leave a legacy that will change the world.

Don’t just wish you could do it.  Do it now!

It’s as easy as signing your name.

For more information, please contact Sheila Devine at 630-942-5616.

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