Show Your Respect by Getting Involved

By Jim Corrigan, Chairman of the Board of Directors, Special Olympics Illinois

It is very appropriate that my first column appears on Spread the Word to End the Word Day, March 5, 2014. Our R-Word, “Respect,” is what we give our Special Olympics athletes, which they have earned for their training, dedication, sportsmanship and the demands of participating in their sport.

The SOILL Board of Directors continuously asks the question “How can we improve the athlete’s experience?” By mentoring the CEO and his staff, fundraising and engaging our respective networks, and advocating on behalf of the athletes.

Jim Corrigan
Jim Corrigan

The message I would like to send in 2014 for Special Olympics Illinois is to GET INVOLVED! Just explore our website to see all the opportunities available for you to volunteer, donate, participate in promotions and sponsorships. The easiest way is  “Spread the Word” for others to get involved.

We are in Year 2 of a 3-year Strategic Plan, developed by the SOILL staff and board, that calls for us to increase the number of athletes participating from 21,000 to 24,000; to provide higher quality events and experiences for the athletes and their families; and to increase revenues from $10 million to $13 million annually.

To achieve these lofty goals and honor our athletes, we plan to enhance:

  • the engagement of athlete’s families and friends as our most important advocates
  • community support through engagement of local leaders in event participation and fundraising opportunities
  • statewide corporate sponsorships and  support that achieves fundraising and volunteer initiatives for their employees
  • the training and recognition of quality coaches and providing additional resources
  • the support of our Official Partners: Law Enforcement Torch Run, Knights of Columbus and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois.

I look forward to seeing you at our many statewide events and competitions featuring the greatest athletes, measured by their courage, talent and sportsmanship. Your life also will be transformed by what you witness.