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SOILL: U.S. FY2020 Budget Proposal & S.O. Funding


UPDATE: 3/28/19: We express our gratitude to President Trump for re-authorizing funding for Special Olympics school-based programming. He joins a long history of over 50 years of United States Presidents and Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle in their support of Special Olympics and the work we do in communities throughout the country.

This is a non-partisan issue and we are proud of our work to create inclusion in 6,500 U.S. schools and among young people. This is a crucial time in our schools and our communities. Programs like Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools are transforming school climates to create a safer and more inclusive world.

We are so grateful for the outpouring of support from Special Olympics athletes, young people, and the community at large and encourage everyone to continue their support of our school-based programming until we have reached all 100,000 schools in the country.

Special Olympics is a nonpartisan organization that strongly supports policies, legislation, and practices that guarantee the rights, full participation, and integration of people with intellectual disabilities (ID).

It is important to note that the presentation of the President’s budget is just one part of the budget process – immediately after it is released, negotiations begin on Capitol Hill. Special Olympics has experienced the proposed elimination of our funding before and, thanks to the phenomenal support of our bipartisan Congressional champions, was able to successfully advocate for and ensure continued funding for critical Special Olympics programming in the U.S.

We see this as an opportunity to continue raising awareness among government officials and our communities about the important work that Special Olympics is doing.

Here in IL:

Here in Illinois, federal funding was critical to initially launching and then expanding our Unified Champion Schools program into 293 total schools (including Pre-Kindergarten, Elementary, Middle, High and College) statewide over the past 10 years. The Unified Champion Schools program has been extremely effective in transforming and improving school climates through its three components: Unified Sports programming, inclusive youth leadership, and whole school engagement activities.  This program has seen impressive success in Illinois and has become the fastest growing program/initiative offered. 

Over the next 3 years, we have lofty goals to reach more than 500 schools around the state, including schools within the Chicago Public Schools educational system and East St. Louis School District 189 through our urban development and expansion initiative. To do that will require more than $3 million in new funding, and we look to our federal and state government, corporate, foundation and individual partners to enable us to achieve these goals.



March Madness


SOILL Hoops It Up Last Weekend

Basketball Teams From Across the State Competed at Not One, but Two State Basketball Tournaments

It was all about the hoops this past weekend at the 2019 State Basketball Tournament hosted by Illinois State University and Illinois Wesleyan University. The tournament ran from Friday, March 15 to Sunday, March 17. Three locations, 1,650 athletes, and 520 coaches made up the 3-day event. The weekend was filled with hard work, determination, and some nail-biting games!

There was a total of 140 teams from around the State of Illinois. The teams were broken up under Junior Divisions, High School Divisions, Female Divisions and Senior Male Divisions, and Individual Skills.

After working hard on the court, athletes enjoyed dancing, laser tag, and the lighting of the torch on Saturday night. Everyone busted a move and athletes proudly showed off their medals and awards.

Over at the Peoria Civic Center, March Madness was underway. The March Madness Experience took over with fun, interactive games, exhibits and just a good time. Eight teams competed on Friday, March 15 and Saturday, March 16, for the IHSA Unified Basketball

3-time State Champions, Homewood-Flossmoor High School

Championship title. In Division 1- Homewood-Flossmoor beat Andrews in what was possibly the most exciting game of the weekend, with a final score of 60-57. David Dore, Special Education teacher and coach said this is a game to remember! “This team was comprised mostly of seniors who will graduate at the end of this year. We are losing nine players who helped start this program. To see them go out on top and play some of the best basketball I have seen from them is hard to put into words. Everyone on this team will leave HF with memories and friendships that will last a lifetime”. This makes Homewood-Flossmoor 3-time state champions! Limestone and Peotone came in third and fourth place, respectively. In Division 2- Vernon Hills beat Edwardsville, with Stevenson and LaSalle Peru coming in third and fourth place.

A big thank you to Homewood-Flossmoor High School Viking TV (VTV), who broadcasted the two IHSA Unified Basketball State Championships. VTV was on site with their students for the weekend and streamed the two championship games live, this past Saturday.  They were on the courts from tip-off through awards of both games, and it was great to see the athletes showcased.

Watch IHSA Unified Basketball State Championship Here

To view pictures from the 2019 State Basketball Tournament: Click Here 

View final scores of the 2019 State Basketball Tournament Here

Stay up to Date with All Things Abu Dhabi


Keep up with the Team in Abu Dhabi:

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Abu Dhabi Daily Show

In the Abu Dhabi Daily Show series, athlete leaders report on the events, people, and places at the 2019 World Games. The podcast series is hosted by several newly selected Sargent Shriver International Global Messengers, one of those being, our very own, Daniel Smrokowski.

View the Abu Dhabi Daily Show Here

View photos from the games:

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