Organizational Updates Stories

Agency Return To Play Information


 

Starting on July 6th, Special Olympics Illinois Agencies and Athletes have the opportunity to begin organized activities. Click to read more!


Valid Med App Time Frame Extending to 3 Years


 

Special Olympics Illinois has extended the time frame for a valid Application for Participation from two to three years…


2019 Annual Report


 

Click here to read more about Special Olympics Illinois’ performance in 2019 as an organization.


Justin Dunning to Receive 2020 Illinois Outstanding Young Persons Award


 

Justin Dunning of Special Olympics Illinois- Region J has been selected as one of ten honorees for the Illinois Jaycees Outstanding Young Persons awards program.

The Outstanding Young Persons (TOYP) program annually recognizes young people throughout Illinois who excel in their chosen fields, endeavors, and show a great commitment to their respective communities.

“This award is particularly special to me; nevertheless it speaks volumes about the people around me. I pride myself in finding great people to surround me, ones that will always be willing to step in and lend a hand,” said Justin.

Like Justin, the Jaycees are dedicated to making an impact in communities. As an award honoree, Justin will join an elite group of men and women. The Illinois TOYP program started over 50 years ago and has continued to recognize perspicuous men and women across Illinois.

“In very early conversations with Justin, it was clear he had a passion and desire for serving individuals with special needs. His love for sport and dedication to that sport were early indicators he would be very successful in our organization,” said Dave Breen, President, and CEO, Special Olympics Illinois. “Justin has shown a true talent for bringing teams together to better serve the Special Olympics athletes in Region J and the State of Illinois.”

Justin is being recognized in the category of Humanitarian and/or voluntary leadership. His work at Special Olympics Illinois has made him an excellent nominee for the Illinois Outstanding Young Persons Award.

Justin has been a part of the Special Olympics Illinois family for seven years. His devotion and passion during those seven years have helped spread the mission of the organization not only to his local community but also statewide. 

 “This award is just a combination of all our efforts leading to an impact in the community. I am truly blessed and honored,” said Justin.

More information can be found at http://www.iljaycees.org/toyp-2020/


Special Olympics Illinois Opens Chicago Headquarters


 

CHICAGO, January 9, 2020 – Special Olympics Illinois, the only Illinois entity accredited by Special Olympics Inc., is opening a Chicago headquarters in the West Loop as the Chicago-born non-profit expands programming to ensure people with intellectual disabilities an ever-expanding opportunity for growth.


The Chicago office for Special Olympics Illinois (SOILL) will bring the organization closer to a growing constituency in the city as it expands and introduces new programs. Roughly, 53,000 people in Chicago live with intellectual disabilities. Currently, Special Olympics Illinois serves about 6,000 athletes, ages 8 and older of all ethnicities.


“We are moving into the West Loop to expand our work in Chicago. We want Chicagoans to know Special Olympics is much more than a track meet. We are a leader in health services for people with intellectual disabilities and we enhance life skills to build confidence,” said David Breen, president of Special Olympics Illinois. “And with our key partners, many of whom are in the city, we can work together to bridge inclusion hurdles, so our athletes have equal opportunities to prosper as contributing adults.”


Already in Chicago, Special Olympics Unified School programming is offered at 19 Chicago Public Schools. Unified Champion Schools (UCS) is an all ages, education-based program supported through the Federal Department of Education. At Unified Champion Schools, students with and without intellectual disabilities work together to develop, skills and opportunities to build change and help their schools develop true cultures of inclusiveness.


Later this month, SOILL will host a professional development seminar for schools that have implemented Unified programming and for those interested in learning more. It is the first of several informational meetings planned for the year. Significant expansion plans throughout CPS are on tap for 2020 adding to the expanding list of 280+ UCS schools throughout Illinois.


Ahead of the move into Chicago, SOILL hired an outreach director to work with Chicago Public Schools to expand programming for students with intellectual disabilities. Also, SOILL hired a government relations specialist to expand development and partnership opportunities for the Chicago region.


The West Loop office will provide SOILL additional opportunities to help corporate sponsors to work on solutions for workplace diversity and inclusion issues. “Inclusion creates career opportunities for our athletes, and we are at a time when companies are looking to us for help on implementing their goals for a more inclusive workforce,” Breen said.


“Furthermore, given the area’s continued business and residential growth, our new office will help us better connect with the city’s young professionals looking to spend time with our inspiring athletes and growing our mission.”


SOILL will host an invitation-only Open House on January 15 in its new space, 820 W. Jackson Blvd. The Chicago office will complement Special Olympics Illinois’ existing state headquarters in Normal, Ill.