Area News – June 2016
Aurora School Named Outstanding Organization of the Year
Marmion Academy of Aurora has been named the 2016 Special Olympics Illinois’ Outstanding Organization of the Year Award. Marmion Academy accepted the award at a reception June 10 before the Special Olympics Illinois Summer Games Opening Ceremony at Illinois State University in Illinois.
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.
Marmion Academy is one of the first event host locations for Special Olympics Illinois Far West Suburban Area 2. Marmion hosted the Area track and field meet from 1974-1976, and also hosted the first aquatics meets. After a short break in participation, teacher Bill Johnson began having students volunteer with Special Olympics. Read More
Record Attendance at Chicago Spring Games
SOILL Chicago/Area 3’s 2016 Spring Games broke attendance records with more than 3,700 athletes registered for the competition! A majority of the athletes come from the Chicago Public Schools.
We welcomed Smyser School, Reinberg Elementary and Amundson High School, all first-time attendees to the Games. St. Mary’s of Providence brought first-time athlete Courtney Lake to the Games this year. She competed in the 400-meter walk race, softball throw and the 4×100-meter walk relay. She received a gold medal in the 400-meter walk race and went on to compete in the 2016 Summer Games in Bloomington-Normal!
We received lots of positive feedback on the schedule – expanded to five days to accommodate the growth of participation. The temperature may have been cool a few of the days, but we didn’t have to cancel any day due to the weather not cooperating. Our volunteer groups once again showed commitment to our athletes by returning for another year. Special Smiles did dental screenings for more than 200 athletes. Jewel once again stepped up and donated 10 pallets of water for the week. It was truly a fantastic experience for athletes, volunteers and families.
Special Olympics Illinois Selected For Green Ribbon Project
Special Olympics Illinois was recently selected to be among the featured Green Ribbon charities involved with three summer art festivals.
Amdur Productions will produce more than 20 art festivals at locations throughout Chicago and the suburbs during the spring and summer. Selected artwork at the festivals will have a green ribbon displayed with the Special Olympics Illinois logo designating that 10 percent of the purchase price will be donated by the artist to Special Olympics Illinois.
Amdur Productions selected three art festivals, including the Promenade of Art in Arlington Heights earlier in June, for Special Olympics Illinois participation. Please plan to enjoy the upcoming art festivals and look for the green Special Olympics Illinois ribbon!
- Aug. 6-7 – Art at the Glen, Glenview
- Aug. 20-21 – Fine Art Festival, Oakbrook Center
Special Olympics Illinois is excited to partner with artists and Amdur Productions with this new opportunity.
Another Sunday Funday
Talk about fun!!
Sunday Funday/Battle of the Breweries Dodgeball Tournament was held at the Goose Island Barrel House in Chicago on May 22. As the premier event of Chicago Craft Beer Week, Goose Island hosted this great event which welcomed 1,000 guests.
The weather was great for hundreds of guests to view an exhilarating dodgeball tournament. Guests also enjoyed delicious food and beverage offered by a variety of local breweries and food trucks. Four Special Olympics Illinois athletes joined Kathy McLaughlin to accept a donation of $20,000 presented by Ken Stout, General Manager of Goose Island. McLaughlin thanked Stout for the generous contribution and passed the microphone to the athletes who each shared their Special Olympics participation with the audience.
“The entire afternoon was so fun,” said McLaughlin. “The dodgeball tournament was extremely competitive and everyone was having a great time. Our group enjoyed a variety of food served at the food trucks and found a comfortable picnic table to enjoy lunch in the sunshine.”
Goose Island Sunday Funday was exciting and memorable and Special Olympics Illinois is thrilled to be the recipient of this generous donation.
University of Chicago WAA Does It Again!
Special Olympics Illinois Chicago/Area 3, is thrilled to work with students from the University of Chicago. The Women’s Athletic Association (WAA) at the University of Chicago raised $5,100! Funds were shared with two Area 3 agencies to support and/or expand their participation with Special Olympics Illinois.
Under the leadership of student Emily Hunt, the WAA hosted a fundraiser in January which featured a fun basketball competition and exciting raffle. Funds raised were donated to two agencies, both located in the vicinity of the University of Chicago campus.
Ada S. McKinley Vocation Services received $3,400 to support their growing Special Olympics Illinois participation. At the check presentation, McKinley Coach Tim Rubens announced the donation would be used in part to strengthen their tennis program. The day after the donation was presented, Hunt contacted Kathy McLaughlin, Special Olympics Illinois Director of Development, and shared that University of Chicago had 20 tennis racquets, tennis balls and pop-up practice nets to donate to the McKinley athletes. This unexpected equipment donation allows the McKinley team to look further on their wish list and acquire sports equipment and uniforms to support their participation in basketball, softball, golf and Spring Games.
The WAA also presented a $1,700 check to the Hyde Park Academy which participates in Spring Games and basketball skills in Area 3. Hyde Park Academy Coach Tina Hansen said it was “a dream come true” to receive the donation. Hansen added “we will be able to purchase our own equipment instead of borrowing from others. I am thankful that the University of Chicago students thought of our team and appreciate all that they do.”
McLaughlin said that this is the second year the WAA has shared donations to Area 3 teams.
Effingham Radio Group Named Outstanding Media of the Year
The Cromwell Radio Group of Effingham has been named the 2016 Special Olympics Illinois’ Outstanding Media of the Year Award. The Cromwell Radio Group will receive the award at a reception June 10 before the Special Olympics Illinois Summer Games Opening Ceremony 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.
Cromwell Radio Group includes 104.3 The Party, 92.1 The Axe and 101.3 WMCI and has been a supporter of Special Olympics Illinois for several years. Within the past five years, the group has become a $3,000 Polar Plunge media sponsor and has a team of 104.3 DJs, staff and listeners come out to participate in the Plunge each year. This year, they raised almost $5,000 for Special Olympics Illinois. Read More
Read the latest news on East Central/Area 9 in the June newsletter.
Belleville Man Named Outstanding Athlete of the Year
Charles Dunn of Belleville has been named the 2016 Special Olympics Illinois’ Outstanding Athlete of the Year Award. He was honored at a reception June 10 before the Special Olympics Illinois Summer Games Opening Ceremony 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.
Charles has been involved with Special Olympics over the past 10 years. He competes in basketball, bocce, bowling, golf, softball, snowshoeing and track and field through the Southern Illinois Grasshoppers. He also volunteers and serves on committees for Special Olympics to make competitions and fundraisers a success.
Charles has been a crucial part of Special Olympics and is known throughout the community as a diplomat for the organization. Through his contributions, he has helped raise more than $75,000 benefiting Special Olympics Illinois Southwestern Area 12. He brings energy, enthusiasm and dedication to competing and volunteering. Read More
Edwardsville Woman Named Outstanding Coach of the Year
Jennifer Hitt of Edwardsville has been named the 2016 Special Olympics Illinois’ Outstanding Coach of the Year Award. She will be honored at a reception June 10 before the Special Olympics Illinois Summer Games Opening Ceremony at Illinois State University in Normal.
The Outstanding Coach Award recognizes the coach who best demonstrates the true ideals of the 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.
Hitt has been involved with Special Olympics Illinois as a coach and instrumental member of the gymnastics program for more than 16 years. In addition to her career as a coach, Jennifer has been a volunteer, certified training school clinician, a key event management volunteer and a Team Illinois and Team USA coach. Read More
Harrisburg Residents Receive Lifetime Service Award
Doug and Stacy Cottom of Harrisburg will receive the 2016 Special Olympics Illinois’ Outstanding Lifetime Service Award. They will be honored at a reception June 10 before the Special Olympics Illinois Summer Games Opening Ceremony at Illinois State University in Normal.
The Outstanding 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.
The Cottoms have welcomed Special Olympics into their bowling facility, Ross Cottom Lanes, for more than 25 years. They have allowed Special Olympics a place to compete for bowling competitions. Read More
Starved Rock/Area 16 Going Caribbean for Annual Auction
SOILL Starved Rock/Area 16 will host the 14th Annual Silent & Live Auction to benefit Area 16 athletes on Aug. 4 at Celebrations 150 in Utica.
The fundraiser will have a theme of “Caribbean Night” and will feature a buffet dinner and live and silent auctions. Doors open at 5:30 p.m., with dinner at 6 p.m., followed by a live and silent auction. Cost to attend is $30 per person. Register online or contact Allison Nichols at 815-220-8128.
Former Sherman Chief Named Outstanding Volunteer of the Year
Eric Smith of Sherman has received the 2016 Special Olympics Illinois’ Outstanding Volunteer of the Year Award. He was honored at a reception on June 10 before the Special Olympics Illinois Summer Games Opening Ceremony 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.
Former Chief of Sherman Police Department Smith has been a Special Olympics volunteer for 11 years. He has been an invaluable asset to not only the athletes of Special Olympics Illinois, but Special Olympics athletes around the globe. He has given generous amounts of time to the organization while serving his community through his law enforcement responsibilities. Read More
Hoffman Estates Residents Named Outstanding Family of the Year
The Jones family of Hoffman Estates has been named the 2016 Special Olympics Illinois’ Outstanding Family of the Year Award. The family will be honored at a reception June 10 before the Special Olympics Illinois Summer Games Opening Ceremony 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.
Mike and Paula’s daughter, Ashley, is the reason the Jones family became involved with Special Olympics. Ashley first started competing with Special Olympics Illinois as soon as she was old enough to train and compete. Ashley became a top priority within her family. Her parents worked to support her needs and helped as coaches, chaperones and volunteers to help the team. Read More