Throughout the month of July, Jewel-Osco’s “Change for Champions” will celebrate Special Olympics athlete, Carie, of Tinley Park, Illinois. Carie represents the more than 21,000 athletes who compete through programming at Special Olympics Illinois.

Carie is also employed at Jewel-Osco. She has worked there since 1994, currently serving as a service clerk.  She is known for her outstanding customer service, kindly greeting all of her customers. Her favorite customers are the young children who visit the store. Carie can often be seen giving them a big smile and a friendly hello, ensuring they leave with a smile on their faces. She is also always willing to help parents during their shopping trip, whether she is in-store or working in the parking lot.

Carie currently participates in swimming as a Special Olympics Illinois athlete, where she recently competed at the 2022 Summer Games in Bloomington-Normal. She is a multisport athlete, having also tried her hand at volleyball, basketball, bowling, athletics, powerlifting, tennis, snowshoe, downhill skiing, and golf.  Since she began competing at age 19, her efforts have earned her more than 100 medals.

a group of people posing for a photo

Off the field, she has held a seat on the Special Olympics Board of Directors and participated in the Illinois Law Enforcement Torch Run (LETR). She was also in the Global Messenger Program, and has represented Special Olympics Illinois in media interviews on both TV and radio. Other highlights of her Special Olympics Illinois career have included riding in a Jewel-Osco truck as it headed to the annual Truck Convoy in Tinley Park for the Illinois LETR, as well as being part of the coin toss before a Chicago Bears game, where she served as a co-captain.

While in the breakroom, you can often hear Carie discussing two of her favorite things – her sports teams or her family. Carie is an avid fan of the Chicago Bears, White Sox, and Blackhawks. She is also very proud of her family, including her nieces and nephews.

a group of people standing in a room

In 2021, Jewel-Osco relaunched its annual register fundraising campaign through the “Making Change” donation program called “Change for Champions” to support the athletes of Special Olympics Illinois like Carie. The promotion runs July 1-31 at the 188 Jewel-Osco locations, where customers will be encouraged to make a donation during checkout.

Danielle Whitehead, Carie’s manager says she is excited that Carie was chosen as this year’s ambassador. “I’ve worked with Carie for about a year now,” she said. “She is a great employee. Anything you ask, she’ll do it above and beyond. Carie is a real team player.”

Carie's local store, fellow employees, and members of the Special Olympics Illinois staff threw a surprise party to announce her selection as this year’s ambassador.

Watch a video of her reaction.

To participate, find a Jewel-Osco location near you here.