Search Results: “application for participation” — Page 2

Chicago Fire Soccer Club, SOILL Partner to Create Unified Sports Soccer Team

by Jamie Scovel.

Special Olympics Illinois has an exciting announcement to make!  We are again partnering with the Chicago Fire Soccer Club to create a Chicago Fire Unified Soccer All Star team. This team will practice monthly at Chicago Fire training facilities and will travel with the Chicago Fire Soccer team as well as host another team here in Chicago.  The following games have been selected for participation by the Chicago Fire Unified All StarUnified Soccer Chicago Fire Logo Team:

  • Saturday, July 16, 2016 – Dallas TX vs. FC Dallas
  • Sunday, August 14, 2016 – Bridgeview, IL vs Orlando City SC

The team will be comprised of 4-5 Special Olympics Illinois Athletes, 4-5 Unified Partners and 3 Coaches. We are looking for individuals interested in serving as the coaches for this team.  We are also looking for nominations of Special Olympics Illinois Athletes and Unified Partners to participate on the team.  A school may nominate more than one set of students to participate on the team.

The clinic and tryouts for athletes and partners will be at The PrivateBank Fire Pitch on Saturday, February 20, 2016 from 4-6pm.

Coaches Applications are due to Jennifer Marcello by February 5, 2016 and we will be conducting interviews February 9, 2016 from 3-7pm at Toyota Park in Bridgeview to fill the coaching slots. Download nomination forms below.

Supporting Documents

 

Endowed Fund a Gift to Future of Special Olympics Illinois

by Jamie Scovel.

In recent years, Special Olympics Illinois has seen an increase in the establishment of endowed funds. An endowed fund is created when a donor or the Board of Directors specify that a gift is to be invested and only the income earned on that gift may be spent for a specific purpose.

The ILSO Foundation currently oversees five endowed funds, one which was just received in December. These funds will continue to grow and will be used to enhance the families program, improve the athlete experience and promote and support volunteer activities for Special Olympics Illinois.

  • Margaret “Muffet” Flott Families Fund – Upon the passing of
    Muffet Flott and her brother Bill

    Muffet Flott and her brother Bill

    dedicated volunteer Margaret “Muffet” Flott, the family established this fund to help other Special Olympics Illinois families. Muffet became involved with Special Olympics Illinois in 1977. Sister of Special Olympics athlete Bill, Muffet was a devoted coach who believed that Special Olympics was an event for the entire family. The Flott Family established this fund to support families attending USA and World Games as well as additional family initiatives. This fund aims to give family members hope, optimism, stronger family connections and a social network with others who understand their concerns and joys.

  • Mike & Sara Kuhlin Fund – Mike and Sara Kuhlin established this fund dedicated to promote and support volunteer activities within Special Olympics Illinois. Mike & Sara were long-time supporters and had a desire to fund volunteer activities. It is a planned gift, however Mike has supported annual operating and provided to the corpus of the volunteer fund. Mike is also a member of the Foundation Board.
  • Breen Legacy Athlete Fund – The Breen Legacy Athlete Fund was established in 2014 in honor of SOILL President & CEO Dave Breen and as a memorial to his deceased parents, Robert and Anita Breen. This initiative was started by the Special Olympics Illinois Board of Directors and Foundation Board to pay tribute to the organization’s commitment to the athletes of Special Olympics Illinois. The purpose of this fund is to foster athlete experiences and opportunities through sport, leadership and recognition.  Special Olympics Illinois athletes who have demonstrated excellence in sportsmanship, courage, leadership and teamwork and show financial need are eligible. Download the Breen Legacy Athlete Fund application.
  • Dan & Anne Doheny Athlete Experience Fund – A recent gift was received from Dan and Anne Doheny who established this fund dedicated to athlete experience. Dan and Anne Doheny are long-time supporters of Special Olympics Illinois. Dan is a former Board Chair and current Chairman of the Foundation Board. The Athlete Experience Fund will allow for further participation of athletes for World and USA Games, plus national sports opportunities by providing funds for additional training and educational opportunities. The fund would further provide innovative and creative concepts to improve athlete experience and provide sustainable resources to reach more athletes.
  • Malo-Stine-Parsons Fund in Memory of Martha Stine – This new
    Marcy and Jerry Parsons with Dave Breen

    Marcy and Jerry Parsons with Dave Breen

    fund was created as a result of a gift from Robert Perkins of Perkins Investment Management and was given in memory of Marcy Parsons’ mother, Martha Stine.  Marcy and Jerry Parsons are long-time Special Olympics Illinois volunteers. The money will go to the Foundation as an unrestricted gift and we have a 5-year commitment of $10,000 per year.

Through the growth of these endowed funds, Special Olympics Illinois will continue to support in perpetuity the athletes, families and volunteers who see firsthand the transformations that can be made through participating in this program.

If you would like to learn more about endowed funds to support Special Olympics Illinois, please contact Shon Morris or Dave Breen.

May 2014 Newsletter

by Jamie Scovel.

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Crestwood2014A Milestone Year for Polar Plunges!

The 2014 Law Enforcement Torch Run Polar Plunge, Presented by GEICO, proved once again to be the official event of winter!

A record 7,316 warm-hearted Plungers took to the icy waters at 20 locations throughout the state. Additionally, the Polar Plunge raised more than $2 million for the first time in our state’s history! See results for each Plunge location. A big “thank you” to everyone who supported the event and joined us in “Freezin’ for a Reason”!

Read about how two groups are expanding the Plunge’s reach in their communities

Mobile App Among Changes at 2014 Summer Games

2014Area12SG-RS-1160Now that all Spring Games have been completed, with about 10,000 athletes competing at the grass-roots level, it’s time to look forward to the 2014 Special Olympics Illinois Summer Games.

Athletes who received a gold medal at their Spring Games or District competition qualified for the Summer Games June 13-15 in Bloomington-Normal. Approximately 4,000 athletes from across the state are expected to converge for three days of exciting competition.

New this year will be a Summer Games mobile app to provide attendees a variety of up-to-date information about the Games. The 2014 Special Olympics Illinois Summer Games mobile app is expected to launch in the beginning of June. Read more about the mobile app and other changes at Summer Games.

News from SOILL President & CEO/Board Chair

Dave Breen

Dave Breen

By Dave Breen

Tribute to Champions is the name of the kickoff event to our Summer Games and I think it’s appropriately named. But, it goes above and beyond our champion athletes. The event will be a time to recognize our volunteers, coaches, organizations, community and especially the families.

This year, we focusing on a Family Engagement Initiative and are asking for involvement at all levels of the organization – from volunteering and coaching, to giving time and resources, to identifying  those who want to help guide the organization through the Family Action Network. Read More

Charity Bash Hits Home for Lake Zurich High School

Charity Bash LZHSEach year Lake Zurich High School hosts a Charity Bash that raises money for a non-profit organization. This year’s organization was Special Olympics Illinois. Not only is Lake Zurich High School a competing agency, it is involved in multiple ways throughout the entire year and one of Northeastern/Area 13’s biggest supporters.

Lake Zurich High School hosts the annual Spring Games each year and a handful of other events as needed. The students are involved with the SNAP program, which is an after-school group of peers and Special Olympics athletes who work together on various activities. The faculty and staff support the school’s efforts in any way possible including Assistant Principal Ryan Rubenstein, who leads the committee on Spring Games, and Varsity Girls Basketball Coach Christopher Bennett, who was the lead staff on Charity Bash, and coordinating volunteers for the Special Olympics Illinois Basketball competition. Read More

USA Games Just a Month Away

Members of Team Illinois are busy preparing for next month’s competition at the 2014 Special Olympics USA Games in New Jersey.

2014USATrainingCamp-ME1-1921Members of Team Illinois will meet in either Bloomington or Chicago, depending on their Illinois hometowns, to fly east on June 14. The delegation will be housed together at The College of New Jersey in Ewing, N.J. (a suburb of Trenton) and will enjoy a variety of activities in addition to their competition. Special events include Opening & Closing Ceremonies, Healthy Athletes Experience, Olympic Town, Hudson River Cruise and a Trenton Thunder (New York Yankees AA affiliate) game. They will return to Illinois on June 21 after their week of life-changing experiences. Get all the latest information about Team Illinois at the USA Games by signing up for the e-newsletter.

Leading up to the competition of their lives, Team Illinois gathered last month in Bloomington-Normal for a 3-day Training Camp where they met their fellow teammates and coaches and had the opportunity to train together in preparation for their trip to the USA Games. View photos from the Training Camp

Medical Volunteers Vital for Safety of Competition

2014 State Basketball Medical_JD_0372cThey are the Special Olympics volunteers at every competition that you may not even see and they’re fine with that because it means you haven’t needed them. They are the medical volunteers.

Whether their services are used or not, skilled medical volunteers are vital to ensuring the safety of our athletes at every Special Olympics event.

Greg Eberle, Chairman of the Medical Committee for State Basketball Tournament and Summer Games, said medical volunteers are “more than a glorified First Aid station.” Many of the medical volunteers at state-level events are athletic trainers (like Eberle), nurses or EMTs who are trained to identify certain conditions that need further aid like muscle strains and sprains, seizures and blood sugar issues.

“We are there as support staff to parents and coaches who know their athletes,” Eberle said. “We can help control the situation and ensure that no improper decisions are made,” adding that quick identification of the medical situation, treatment and follow-up for injuries of all athletes allow them to experience minimal downtime in competition. Read More

More Top News

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Main Tribute Park Photo

Families – Leave Your Mark in Tribute Park!

Special Olympics Tribute Park is a one-of-a-kind park designed and built by Special Olympics Illinois to recognize and honor the athletes, teams, families, volunteers, donors and all who make Special Olympics a reality.

FamilyStatueThe beautifully landscaped park features some stunning life-size bronze statues that pay tribute to the athletes and families of Special Olympics Illinois. There is also a specially designed black granite water wall, inscribed with the words “Flame of Hope” that highlights the driving force behind Special Olympics Illinois. The athlete oath beside the water wall reminds all who see it of the courage and inspiration that athletes of Special Olympics exemplify. Hundreds of brick pavers surround the bronze athlete statue and are reserved for Special Olympics athletes only. Additionally, there are three stone walls paying tribute to the Families, Volunteers and Donors who are so critical to the success of the Special Olympics movement.

Improvements are currently underway at Tribute Park to create accessible walkways throughout the whole park and in preparation for the flurry of visitors that will be in town and at the park in June for the Summer Games. This recommendation came from athlete Tony Hill of Belleville, who is also a Global Messenger and former board member. Tony uses a wheelchair and found it very difficult to get around the various parts of the park through the decorative gravel/stone. The new cement walkways will be done at the end of May and ready for visitors during Summer Games!

FamilyWallThanks to the generosity of many, we currently have 450 athlete brick pavers and 20 families on the Family Wall of Recognition. You too can be a part of Tribute Park! It’s a great way to honor and recognize our loved ones, someone who has inspired you or made a difference in your life and build a timeless treasure for Special Olympics Illinois while providing an ongoing way to honor special occasions and special people with a commemorative brick or place on the Wall of Recognition.

AthleteBricksOur goal is to reach 1,000 athlete bricks and 100 Family Bricks by the end of the 2014. With your support, we can meet this goal. Our hope is that selling engraved bricks will also generate funds to sustain the Park’s future expenses, and planned educational enhancements as well as support a scholarship fund for the development of the athlete and family experiences at a national and international level.

Commemorative Brick and Recognition Wall Options:

  • Athlete Brick – $100
  • Family/Volunteer/Donor Wall Bricks – $1,000; $2,500 or $5,000
  • Team Walk – $1,500

For more information on being a part of Tribute Park, visit our Tribute Park page or contact Karen Milligan at 1-800-394-0562.

Summer Games – June 13-15

Athletes who received a gold medal in the sports of aquatics, athletics, bocce, gymnastics, powerlifting or soccer have qualified for the Summer Games from June 13 to 15 at Illinois State University and Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington/Normal. Approximately 4,000 athletes from across the state are SOILL 2014 Mobile Appexpected to converge at ISU for three days of exciting competition, a thrilling Opening Ceremonies and of course the always memorable “Victory Dance” on Saturday evening at Hancock Stadium.

New this year will be a Summer Games mobile app to provide attendees a variety of up-to-date information about the Games. The 2014 Special Olympics Illinois Summer Games mobile app is expected to launch in the beginning of June. Read more about the Summer Games app.

Families are encouraged to attend to cheer their favorite teams on! Additionally, there will be fun in store for families including the always popular Tailgate Picnic sponsored by Alexander’s Steakhouse held on Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. View information about the 2014 Summer Games and see changes for Summer Games.

SPECIAL EVENTS:

Families Tailgate Picnic – 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Saturday, June 14. Tickets for the picnic will be available at Families Registration on Friday and Saturday. The Family Tailgate Picnic is sponsored by Alexander’s Steakhouse. Plan to have a dinner at Alexander’s Steakhouse while you are in town to thank them for 26 years of sponsoring the Families Tailgate Picnic!

Families Resource Sessions – More information will be included in the family mailing that will go out at the end of May. Also watch on this website for more information.

HOTELS FOR FAMILIES:

Several Bloomington/Normal hotels are offering special rates for Special Olympics Illinois Families for Summer Games. A limited number of rooms are available so you are encouraged to book your room as soon as possible if haven’t already done so. View Summer Games Hotel List.

TRIBUTE PARK:

While you are in town for Summer Games, make sure you stop by the Special Olympics Illinois Tribute Park at the State Headquarters – it’s the only one of its kind in the nation. The park is a tribute to all the people who make Special Olympics a reality. The park includes life-size bronze statues, a specially designed water wall, a Team Walk with educational tablets that showcase the scope of the program as well as personalized bricks and squares from many who want to have a permanent spot in this beautiful park. For more information, view our Tribute Park page.

Athlete Leadership Program

GM Beg

Introducing the 2014 Class of Global Messengers

Nick Lorenz with Global Messenger instructors Leona Brescher, Michele Evans and Karen Milligan

Nick Lorenz with Global Messenger instructors Leona Brescher, Michele Evans and Karen Milligan

A new record was set for Special Olympics Illinois hosting the training for the largest class of new Global Messengers. Twenty-three athletes from around the state participated in the two-day training that was held at Misericordia in Chicago March 22-23.

Eleven of the 18 Areas were represented, 7 of the 23 were from Chicago/Area 3. The new class of Global Messengers includes: Isabella Dunklau and Edith Reynolds (Area 1); Zinyra Ross and Mallory Taylor (Area 2); Colleen Altman, Emma Burkhalter, Jake Evey, Zola Freeman, Patrick McCarthy, Stephanie Padilla and Bill White (Area 3) ; Kaylee McLaughlin (Area 4); Michael McLaughlin (Area 5); Sandra Froman, Taylor Reidel and Drew White (Area 6); Jack Klawitter and Nicholas Lorenz (Area 7); Mike Odom and Andrew Robertson (Area 8); John “Craig” Dillaplain (Area 12); Breanna Bogucki (Area 13); and Nathan Warren (Area 16).

Another record was set with this training in that we had the youngest ever athlete/Global Messenger. Jack Klawitter from Tinley Park is 8 years old and formerly participated in the Young Athletes Program. Everyone did an exceptional job! We saw a great deal of enthusiasm and passion with this diverse group, not only in the athletes but with their families and mentors as well!

Some of the comments we received on the evaluations included:

  • “We loved the training – thank you so much for inviting Jack to be a part of it! He/we can hardly wait to do our first presentation!”
  • “I am ready to give speeches. I wish there was more time to just hangout and get to know the other athletes.”
  • “I would like to talk to people about becoming athletes and would like to convince people to volunteer their time and money.”
  • “I can’t thank you enough for the wonderful experience these 2 days have been. Nick and these athletes are so unbelievably brave. I am so proud of Nick, he had no fear to talk in front of everyone!”
  • “Thank you for a fantastic weekend! It was truly one of the best weekends of my life!”

For more information on how to get a Global Messenger out to speak to your civic group, business or other group, please contact Karen Milligan at 309-888-2013.

Athlete Input Council Meeting

DSC_0181Eighteen members of the Athlete Leadership Program participated in an Athlete Input Council meeting on March 8. The purpose of this meeting was for the athlete leaders to provide feedback on the proposed ALPs University as well as to vote on members for the ALPs Management team. Some of the outcomes from the group discussions on the ALPs University framework included:

  • Add a curriculum tracks for Health & Nutrition; Technology; Marketing – Social Media; Train the Trainer and Presentation Management
  • Develop a mentoring program for both Young Athletes and Global Messengers
  • Shadow staff and key volunteers at events
  • More leadership training
  • Would like to add cheerleading
DSC_0281

From left, Charles Dunn, Megan Graf, Daniel Smrokowski, Chris Hood, Tony Hill and Jim Morgan

The group voted to elect six members to the ALPs Management Team. We received nine nomination forms and each of the candidates presented their ideas to the group before the vote was taken. The group also voted that this group would serve a 2-year term. The candidates that were voted to the ALPs Management Team are: Chris Hood, Charles Dunn, Tony Hill, Jim Morgan, Megan Graf and Daniel Smrokowski.

The focus of this group will be to create further discussion and develop plans for these four focus areas:

  1. Further define the roles and responsibilities of the ALPs Management team for next two years.
  2. Develop ideas on how ALPs becomes the tool for making Special Olympics Illinois more “athlete centric.”
  3. Develop ALPs 3-year plan establishing tools and strategies for implementation.
  4. Create a marketing plan for ALPs.

The group is excited and very ambitious to take on new roles within Special Olympics and make it an even better organization. For more information on athlete involvement in the Athlete Leadership Programs, contact Karen Milligan at 309-888-2013.

Athlete Leaders Have Fun While Fundraising!

The Darling Ducklings are gearing up for their eighth year of selling duck adoptions for Special Olympics Illinois Windy City Ducky Derby. Duck DerbyaThis team of 41 athletes, from across Illinois, will strive to meet and exceed their ambitious goals for adoptions sold and funds raised.

Last year, the Ducklings aimed for 5,000 duck adoptions and they sold almost 6,500! This is amazing considering the schedules these athletes maintain, including everything from trainings, competitions, work, volunteering, vacations and family events! They still made time and worked tirelessly to sell adoptions for their team and in support of a program that benefits their fellow athletes. Many of their family members get into the spirit too.

Whether it is braving Summer heat and rainy downpours to sell ducks at events in their communities or transporting their athlete to multiple venues across counties or enlisting their employers and other businesses to allow their athletes opportunities to set up sales tables, families play a huge part in their Darling Ducklings’ success.

The race will be held in Chicago on Thursday, Aug. 7. Please stop in at their fundraising page and purchase an adoption under any team member.

Project UNIFY Contest Winners

Project UNIFY Illinois asked its participants to share their stories and visual images of Project UNIFY activities and the winners have been selected! Find out who won and read their essays and watch their videos.

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Big Blue Blowout Marking 15th Year

The Big Blue Blowout Coaches Training Weekend is celebrating its 15th year! This year’s dates are May 30-June 1.

This is an opportunity to obtain multiple sport certifications in one weekend. Housing and meals are provided to those staying more than one day. While there is a fee up-front, it is returned, in its entirety as long as you attend everything you sign up for!  Sign up for one course or stay the whole weekend and get up to six certifications and some great networking opportunities with other coaches from across the state.

Download a letter to coaches and the schedule and registration form. Please contact Carolyn Klocek at 309-888-2598 with any questions about this event. 

Coaches Education System

New Coach Training and Certification Requirements

The better the coach…The better the opportunities…The better the athlete! gymnastics coach

Coaches all across Illinois are attending great training opportunities to gain knowledge, skills and drills to improve the teams they coach.

Here at Special Olympics Illinois, we take trainings very seriously and want coaches to get the most of out of them. Not only do our coaches deserve to be well trained, our athletes deserve highly trained coaches so they can reach their goals or maximum potential!

Now more than ever, Special Olympics Illinois is striving to make it easier on coaches to gain the certifications they desire.

What the Process Was and Why Change Was Needed

The Coaches Application required 10 hours of practicum. In other words, working with athletes in the sport or course that was being offered at the training.

In the early stages, the Regional Managers of Sports Training would send the paperwork home with the coach and wait for it to be returned. The results of the paperwork being returned to the SOILL staff were a mere 25 percent. Obviously a change needed to be made.

The Regional Managers of Sports Training began having coaches finish the paperwork at the training with future dates of practice. This change has had impressive results as each year we are certifying 95-98 percent of coaches who attend the training. However, extra staff time is needed to follow up on 10-hour practicum and there is limited time to provide feedback to new coaches.

Special Olympics Illinois already knows coaches are working with athletes, so the 10-hour practicum is a hurdle and merely adding more paperwork.

Summary of Requirements

The first thing a coach must do is become a Class A volunteer and take the Protective Behaviors training.

This process can be done online or in person. Special Olympics Illinois offers trainings in person and requires all new coaches who wish to gain certification in a specific sport to attend an in-person training first.

Renewal of certificates can be completed in person, or through a Principles of Coaching Course. The new Coaches Application will not require the 10-hour practicum. These requirements will take effect immediately.

Online Courses

Two websites that provide training sessions and quizzes are ASEP and NFHS.

On ASEP, we suggest taking the Coaching Special Olympics Athletes which costs $16.95. On NFHS, we suggest taking Coaching Unified Sports which is free of cost and a mandatory training in Illinois for participation. Both websites have Sport Specific Courses that provide a platform of sport knowledge.

Parameters – Striving for Excellence

2013OSF-ME7257-webSpecial Olympics Illinois takes pride in our Coaches Education System and want to provide coaches with some parameters for excellence.

A new coach should try to become certified in each sport they coach within three years. It is recommended that assistant coaches work towards certification and have a mentor, usually the head coach. Coaches of all levels and experience should make every effort to become certified in the sport they coach.

When coaches are certified, they take liability away when an accident occurs. Negligence is never covered, but a coach’s certificate proves knowledge in the sport. This is another incentive to have certified coaches!

Special Olympics Illinois is always striving for excellence, and looks forward to seeing all of you at a training soon!

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Tennis Group Names Nancy Hoekstra Official of Year

Tennis 1Nancy Hoekstra has been a USTA Official for 12 years. She is a strong advocate for USTA officials’ involvement and training at all levels of Adaptive Tennis competition– local, state, national and world games. 

Nancy has been an active Special Olympics tennis volunteer for 25 years. She has served as teacher; coach; tournament director; Special Olympics Team USA Sport Manager of Tennis; World Games Tennis Official in Dublin, Ireland; North America Tennis Director; 2014 Special Olympics USA Games Technical Delegate and 2015 Special Olympics World Summer Games Tennis Assistant Technical Delegate. Read More

Summer Games Volunteers Needed

Special Olympics Illinois’ biggest event of the year is fast approaching and volunteers are an essential piece of the event’s success! The Summer Games will be held Friday, June 13 – Sunday, June 15, at Illinois State University and Kingsley Junior High School in Normal and Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington.

2012SG-MH9557-webVolunteer jobs include, but are not limited to scorers, timers, escorts, souvenir sales and awards presenters. As a volunteer, Special Olympics Illinois will provide a volunteer T-shirt to all volunteers and a meal for those volunteering all day.

There are five volunteer time-slots throughout the weekend. On Friday and Saturday, volunteers have the option of working a morning shift, an afternoon shift or all day. On Sunday, there is only a morning shift. You will need to register for each shift individually (ex: If you are volunteering all weekend you would register five times, each time for a specific venue).

Volunteer check-in for the event will be located on-site at ISU, IWU and Kingsley Junior High School. All volunteers need to bring a valid photo ID to present at check in. Parking is free in designated areas.

For this tournament, we are utilizing an online volunteer system. NO forms will be mailed out to volunteers and all future communication will come via email. If you have difficulties registering, please contact Carolyn Klocek or Aubrey Deerwester.

To register go to: http://www.soill.org/event/summer-games/

Click on the button for the shift you’re interested in volunteering.  To volunteer for multiple shifts, you must click and register for each individual shift. After clicking the button, on the next screen, scroll to the bottom of the page and click on the button that says “Click Here to Register.” This will take you to a page where you will enter your e-mail address and first name. If you are new to the system, once you type in your e-mail address and first name, it will ask you to create a volunteer profile. This is where you will give us your contact information for future events. Once you are in our system, you won’t have to enter your information again – the system saves it. When you come back, it will remember you! When your profile is completed, you will be taken back to the Summer Games volunteer page where you can choose which time and role you would like to volunteer for. It’s that simple!

If you have any questions, please contact Carolyn Klocek at 309 -888-2598 or Aubrey Deerwester at 309-888-2551.

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Athlete Spotlight – Dino Bekteshi

MrsHelms-1

Dino Bekteshi of Bethany with his teacher, Mrs. Helms

Sidik (Dino) Bekteshi is an energetic 3-year-old from Bethany. Although Dino has only been in the Young Athletes Program a short time, he has already shown vast improvement. His favorite activity is throwing or anything that involves playing with any type of sports balls.

“He is corporative and determined,” says Mrs. Helms, Dino’s teacher. “He very much wants to do well and earn his sticker rewards. Since joining the program, I see Dino smiling a lot more. I’m excited in his progress he has had so far.”

When Dino isn’t practicing with the Young Athletes Program, he enjoys reading books, piecing together puzzles and, of course, playing outside. He also loves hanging out with his older sisters, Mia and Albina.

Dino’s mother, Shannon Curry-Bekteshi, says “This Smiling Dino is my first year seeing all of the children in the program. It has been an amazing experience for them. We are very happy to be a part of this school and program.”

We’re so excited to have such a great Young Athlete and family involved with the program and can’t wait to see what is in store for them!

Summer Games

Summer is upon us which means the Special Olympics Illinois State Summer Games is only weeks away!

Shelby RunningYoung Athletes from around the state enjoyed running, jumping, kicking, socializing and so much more during the 2013 Summer Games and we want you to be able to be a part of this year’s exciting events. We have 150 spots reserved for Young Athletes of all ages for the Statewide Culminating Event on Friday, June 13. Spots are filled on a first-come, first-serve basis and we have already begun filling spots due to the fun and excitement of last year’s event!

If you are interested in attending, please complete a registration form and return it to the Special Olympics office. Traditional Young Athletes 6 & 7 years of age, with a valid medical application, also have the opportunity to choose between two transitional exhibitions. The 50-meter race and tennis ball throw in athletics or individual soccer skills will both be held on Saturday, June 14. Spots are reserved for only the first 25 traditional Young Athletes with a valid Medical Application can register for only one – athletics or soccer skills.

As always, there will be a pizza party, Opening Ceremonies, Olympic town, dance and so much other fun to join in!

Culminating Event Season Underway

Young Athletes staff members Jen Marcello, Missy Darling and Bailey Brenner are staying busy with this year’s culminating event season. They are traveling all over Illinois to more than 100 Culminating Events, to assist Young Athletes across the state celebrate their running, kicking, throwing, catching, jumping and balancing skills with friends and family alike. Culminating Event Season

Danville area Young Athletes were excited to host their culminating event at the David Palmer Arena for the first time this year. The rain wasn’t going to stop them this year from showing off their skills for family, friends and community members. All the Young Athletes did an incredible job and we look forward to hosting at the David Palmer Arena again next year.

Also, Prairiewood Elementary School showed off their pride and skills at their culminating event with the help of community volunteers. Congratulations to all of the programs for all their hard work throughout the year and good luck to all our Young Athletes!

Chicago Fire host Special Olympics Illinois Day

On May 18, the Chicago Fire are inviting friends and family of Special Olympics athletes to purchase discounted tickets to their game. Tickets will be sold at $25 and part of the proceeds will come back to Special Olympics Illinois.

In addition, the half time entertainment will be our Unified soccer teams playing a short scrimmage.

The Chicago Fire and Village of Bridgeview have gone out of their way to work with Special Olympics and make their events affordable and fun. We hope that you will come out and support the Special Olympics Athletes and the Chicago Fire. Download a Chicago Fire flyer.

Kohl’s Museum Proudly presents Everyone at Play

Kohl’s Children’s Museum in Glenview invites all families to participate in their Everyone at Play from 9:30-11:30 a.m. Sunday, June 8.

The museum was specifically designed to be inclusive for all children and adults regardless of ability. The museum’s 17 exhibits and 2 acres of outdoor explorations are designed for play with a purpose and encourage linguistic, cognitive, motor, and social skills for children ages birth through 8.

The museum works collaboratively with community organizations to invite families with children with special needs to the museum to explore the exhibits while closed to the general public. This provides opportunities for calm, creative and collaborative play.

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Area 2

Tee Up at Midwest Golf Celebrity Pro-Am

The 2014 Midwest Golf Celebrity Pro-Am will be held on Monday, June 17, at The Royal Fox Country Club in St. Charles.

Registration begins at 9 a.m. and there will be a shotgun start with lunch at 10:30 a.m. Dinner and an auction will take place from 5-7 p.m. The format for this year’s event will match professional athletes and other celebrities with amateur foursomes in a Scramble Format Tournament.

We encourage you to be part of this event and join the network of corporations and individuals who contribute to the success of thousands of Special Olympics athletes in the Chicagoland area. Sponsors and individual golfers are still needed. Sponsor packages are available for purchase online or by filling out a form in the brochure.

For more information, contact Sandy Hutchins at 630-377-7250 or download a brochure and registration form.

Area 2 & 16

5K Foam Fest

FoamFestLogoThe 5k Foam Fest has teamed up with Special Olympics Illinois to bring fun, foam and muddy running to the Chicagoland area. A portion of all the proceeds from the event will benefit Special Olympics Illinois athletes.

This event will take place Saturday, June 7, at Fox Valley Off Road, located at 1952 N. 35th Road, Ottawa, IL 61350. All participants will run, walk and crawl their way through the 5K (roughly 3.1 miles) of mud pits and fun, foamy obstacles! The 5K event is open to anyone ages 10 and older.

To register and sign up for the foamy fun, visit the 5K Foam Fest site.  There will be plenty of fun and games for the little ones, too!

If you’re interested in volunteering for the event you can sign up online. For more information, contact Cheryl DePaepe at 815-220-8128.

Dirty Dash

DirtyDashRound House Racing has teamed up with Special Olympics Illinois to support their cause for the Dirty Dash on June 28, at Fox Valley Off Road located at 1952 N. 35th Road, Ottawa, IL 61350.

All participants will make their way through a course of muddy fun! This race that puts all other races to shame. The Dirty Dash is a mud run obstacle course where a military boot camp meets your inner 5-year-old’s fantasy and subsequently converts boy to man and then man to swine. You’ll need endurance to trudge up mountains of sludge, courage to overcome uncompromising obstacles, a complete lack of shame to wallow in pits of mud and a smile to show through at the end!

To register and sign up for the muddy fun, visit the Dirty Dash site.  There will be plenty of fun and games for the little ones, too! If you’re interested in volunteering you can sign up online.

For more information, contact Sandy Hutchins at 630-377-7250.

Area 3

Are You Kidding Me?

Known for “Chicago’s Finest Ribs” and superior hospitality, Gale Street Inn is celebrating with an evening of fun to benefit Special Olympics Illinois on May 20 from 6:30-9 p.m.

Join Steve Cochran, Nick Digilio and Patti Vasquez from WGN 720AM at “Are You Kidding Me?” Enjoy dinner and beverages and an evening of laughter at Gale Street Inn, 4914 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago. Tickets cost $50 each, all of which goes to Special Olympics Illinois.

Thanks to George Karzas, owner of Gale Street Inn, for his generous support! For more information, contact Kathy McLaughlin at 773-278-2178.

Area 6

Country Youth Classic Golf Tournament

Registration is live for the Country Youth Classic Golf Tournament which is one of the most prestigious junior golf events in the State of Illinois.

The tournament has a special needs division and invites the athletes of Special Olympics Illinois to participate.  Please be aware that all expenses related to the Country Youth Classic are the responsibility of the participant. All golfers must register by June 17.

The Tournament will be held from June 23-25 at golf courses in Bloomington-Normal. The Special Needs division welcomes individual golfers and Unified partners to participate in 3-, 6- or 9-hole play.

For more information, visit www.countryyouthclassic.com.

Pontiac Township High School Students Raise $1,500

2014ProjectUNIFYPontiac-ME2119Students at Pontiac Township High School, which is a Project UNIFY school, held their second annual Run for Respect April 12 that involved a 5K run around Pontiac as well as a Virtual Run for people who couldn’t participate in the Pontiac event. Run for Respect involved runners in all 50 states and each continent, including Antarctica!

On May 7, PTHS Project UNIFY students presented Special Olympics Illinois President & CEO Dave Breen and Board Member Jim Bednar with a check for $1,500!

Read article about Run for Respect in the Pontiac Daily Leader

Central Catholic High School Hosts Young Athletes Event

2014Unit5YACCHS-ME2249Seniors at Central Catholic High School in Bloomington spent their last day in school volunteering for a Young Culminating Event for students from cross-town Unit 5 School District.

This was the second year that CCHS hosted the Young Athletes and was a continuation of the school’s involvement last year when the 2013 Senior Class named Special Olympics Illinois as their charity for the year. More than 300 Young Athletes attended events in two shifts during the day, where 90 CCHS seniors volunteered in all capacities.

Read article about CCHS’ Young Athletes event  in the Bloomington Pantagraph

Areas 6 & 13

Picture11 (3)Special Olympics Illinois athletes were invited to take part in a halftime demonstration during the Chicago Bulls game on March 13.  Fans cheered on great play between the SEASPAR Spartans team, located in the southwest suburbs of Chicago, and the SOAR Chiefs from Bloomington. The opportunity to scrimmage on the same court as the Chicago Bulls was a highlight for the Special Olympics players and coaches and, judging by the audience response, they also had a great time.

A special thanks goes out to the Chicago Bulls for inviting our teams to play and helping to make this special night happen for our athletes. It will be a game to remember for many.

Area 7

Special Olympics Day with the Chicago Fire

Join Special Olympics Illinois at 2 p.m. Sunday, May 18, for an afternoon with the Chicago Fire.

Tickets for this game are discounted to $25 (originally $40) and a portion of the proceeds will benefit Special Olympics Illinois.

The Chicago Fire will take on the Sporting Kansas City at Toyota Park, located at 7000 S. Harlem Ave. in Bridgeview. The halftime entertainment will be the Special Olympics Illinois Unified Soccer teams playing a short scrimmage.

Tickets can be purchased online at the discounted rate. Larger groups looking to sit together should contact Chicago Fire representative Brad Bauer at 708-496-6761.

Special Olympics Project UNIFY is an all ages education based program that is supported through the Federal Department of Education. There are many moving parts to Project UNIFY, though they all share one driving force: the goal of activating young people and giving them the tools, skills, dispositions, and opportunities to build change and to motivate their schools to have true cultures of inclusiveness.

For more information, please contact Jen Marcello at 630-942-5612.

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Annual Dunkin’ Donuts Cop on Rooftop Set for May 30

For the 12th year in a row, Illinois police officers will stake out Dunkin’ Donuts rooftops to benefit Special Olympics Illinois. Cop-on-Top-Featured-Picture2On Friday, May 30, beginning at 5 a.m. through early afternoon, hundreds of police officers from throughout the state are scheduled to cover more than 170 Dunkin’ Donuts rooftops to heighten awareness and raise money for the Law Enforcement Torch Run to benefit Special Olympics Illinois.  Be sure to stop by and support local efforts in your area!

 

Plunge Results

 

The stakes for this year’s rooftop stakeout are high…donations will need to top last year’s total of more than $315,000 raised at 150 Dunkin’ Donuts locations. In return for the police officers doing time at their stores, Dunkin’ Donuts will donate $15,000 to the Torch Run fund.

In addition, everyone who visits a Cop on a Rooftop store that day and makes a donation to the Torch Run will receive a free donut.  Individuals who donate at least $10 will receive a Law Enforcement Torch Run travel mug (while supplies last) and a coupon for a free medium coffee.  Other items, such as Torch Run T-shirts and hats, will be sold for various donation amounts, and other activities may vary by Dunkin’ Donuts location.

Eat at Chili’s this June & Support Special Olympics Illinois

Eat at any Illinois Chili’s restaurant during the month of June and 15 percent of your Dine In or To Go order (before taxes) will be donated to Special Olympics Illinois!

Simply present this voucher to your server during the month of June and you’ve supported the athletes of Special Olympics!  Please help us spread the word on this great promotion – forward the voucher to your friends, family and co-workers!

Click here to find the Illinois Chili’s location nearest you.

A Night with St. Louis Cardinals

Special Olympics Illinois and Missouri have partnered with St. Louis Cardinals Care for the 2nd Annual Special Olympics Night at Busch Stadium on Wednesday, May 21.

Cardinals Care has invited 400 Special Olympics athletes to come out and enjoy the game at no cost! In addition, the St. Louis Cardinals are offering a special ticket price for all Special Olympics fans, friends, and supporters. Tickets are in the Right Field Pavilion and are only $15 with $5 of each ticket being donated to Special Olympics. Purchase your tickets here.

This offer is only available through Wednesday, May 14.  So gather a group and join us as the Cardinals take on the Arizona Diamond Backs.

Law Enforcement from Illinois and Missouri will be partnering for the first-ever Law Enforcement Torch Run Tip-A-Cop event at the Flying Saucer at 900 Spruce Street in downtown St. Louis. The event will take place in conjunction with Special Olympics Night at Busch Stadium on Wednesday, May 21.

Officers will be trading in their handcuffs for aprons from 4-8   p.m. May 21  to help raise funds and awareness for Special Olympics.  Officers will be serving the public in exchange for “tips” to benefit the athletes of Illinois and Missouri. View a flier for the event.

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Windy City Rubber Ducky Derby

Join Special Olympics Illinois for its annual signature Windy City Rubber Ducky Derby event now in its 9th year! On Aug. 7, watch 60,000 ducks splash into the Chicago River from the Columbus Drive Bridge in downtown Chicago and cheer them on as they race towards the finish line!

Duck Derbya

Sales teams are forming now, so grab your friends, family members and colleagues and join in the fun! Duck adoptions are $5 per duck, 6 for $25 or 24 for $100. The more ducks you adopt the greater your odds of winning a 2014 Chevy Equinox or an all-inclusive Apple Vacation!

Race Day kicks off at 10 a.m. at 400 North Michigan Avenue (The Wrigley Building) with entertainment for the whole family. Spectators can have their picture taken with Splash, our rubber ducky mascot.

All proceeds benefit 21,500 athletes and 18,500 Young Athletes of Special Olympics Illinois and allow these athletes to compete in year-round sports and training competitions through the state.

To learn more about forming a team, adopting ducks and further event details, click here.

Color in Motion

On Sunday, June 22, get moving for a great cause! Chicago’s Color in Motion 5K takes your typical race and kicks it up a few notches – and hues. As you trek around the city blocks of Lincoln Park you’ll be bombarded by explosions of vibrant color. Don’t worry, it’s safe (and loads of fun).

Color in Motion 3If you’re not interested in 3.1 miles of running or walking, please consider helping with the prismatic parade. We’ll need helping hands along the course to throw color at the runners, hand out water and so much more. Registration is open for both runners and volunteers!

Color in Motion is sponsored by KISSFM and, for the first time, USG Corporation! Special Olympics Illinois is proud to be the Color in Motion Charity Partner for the second year in a row. Color outside the lines with SOILL and help us earn some green for our more than 21,000 athletes.

For more information on signing up as a runner or volunteer, or for race event details, please click here.

P&G May Mother’s Day Promotions

Help support Special Olympics with this year’s P&GbrandSAVER® and Thank you, Mom promotion! Check this past Sunday’s newspaper for your P&GbrandSAVER® coupon books.

This promotion is based on coupon redemption: Special Olympics will receive 2 cents for every coupon redeemed at checkout. There is no limit to the donation from P&G, so the more coupons redeemed, the higher the gift to Special Olympics!

The coupons expire and the promotion ends June 30. To find a local newspaper carrying the P&GbrandSAVER® coupon book, please click here.

Sponsor Spotlight – Mattel

Mattel OnlyWho hasn’t heard of Mattel? The world’s largest toy maker has brands including Barbie, Hot Wheels, Matchbox, Fisher-Price and American Girl which are familiar to children and adults of any generation. With worldwide headquarters located in El Segundo, California, Mattel employs 30,000 in 40 countries and is one of Fortune Magazine’s “100 Best Companies to Work For.”

What people may not know is the generous support Mattel shares with Special Olympics Illinois. For more than ten years, the Mattel Foundation has shared funds to support the Special Olympics Illinois Spring Games hosted in Chicago by Area 3. In recent years, Mattel contributions have also supported the Special Olympics Illinois Summer Games.

MattelVols2014-05-07 08.38.07Mattel employees have shared hundreds of volunteer hours to support Special Olympics Illinois athletes. Employees of American Girl, one of the Mattel brands, have volunteered for 10 years at the Special Olympics Chicago Spring Games.

Kathy McLaughlin, SOILL Director of Development, offers high praise for the efforts of Mattel volunteers. “The men and women from American Girl are among the best volunteers we work with at Spring Games! They are incredibly enthusiastic in their work with the athletes and are so sincere and encouraging with each person.  American Girl volunteers are the first ones to arrive and last ones to go home. We are so grateful for their involvement.”

Special Olympics Day with the Chicago Fire

Join Special Olympics Illinois at 2 p.m. Sunday, May 18, for an afternoon with the Chicago Fire.

Tickets for this game are discounted to $25 (originally $40) and a portion of the proceeds will benefit Special Olympics Illinois. The Chicago Fire will take on the Sporting Kansas City at Toyota Park, located at 7000 S. Harlem Ave. in Bridgeview.

The halftime entertainment will be the Special Olympics Illinois Unified Soccer teams playing a short scrimmage. Tickets can be purchased online at the discounted rate. Larger groups looking to sit together should contact Chicago Fire representative Brad Bauer at 708-496-6761. Special Olympics Project UNIFY is an all ages education based program that is supported through the Federal Department of Education.

There are many moving parts to Project UNIFY, though they all share one driving force: the goal of activating young people and giving them the tools, skills, dispositions, and opportunities to build change and to motivate their schools to have true cultures of inclusiveness.

For more information, please contact Jen Marcello at 630-942-5612.

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September 2013 Newsletter

by Jamie Scovel.

Athletes&Families Coaches Volunteers YoungAthletes AreaNews TorchRun Give

Donate

State Educators Award Project UNIFY, Youth Committee

Attendees of the 2013 Youth Activation Conference

Attendees of the 2013 Youth Activation Conference

Special Olympics Illinois has received some very exciting news! Project UNIFY and the Youth Activation Committee have received the Award of Excellence from the Illinois State Board of Education as part of its 2013-14 Those Who Excel Awards Program.

Educators are vital to the success of a Project UNIFY program in a school. Their energy and excitement quickly excites students to get actively involved in a meaningful change in their school. Read how Special Olympics is making a difference in all schools. Some very special educators from across the state of Illinois will be recognized Oct. 19 for their outstanding service to Special Olympics Illinois and Project UNIFY. Read More

Softball Coaches: Give Girls a Team of Their Own

2013LightningBugs-MH3607-webcropSpecial Olympics softball coaches Rich and Jane Henley are issuing a challenge to all co-ed softball teams – give the girls a team of their own.

Like the real-life players depicted in the movie “A League of Their Own,” the members of the Lightning Bugs softball team are looking for more females to get involved in Special Olympics softball. The team, with players all over Southern Illinois, is the only all-girls team competing in softball in Illinois. And the Bugs are looking for more competition in the coming years. Read More

News from SOILL Board Chair

By Suzanne Thompson

Suzanne Thompson

Suzanne Thompson

Special Olympics is transforming the lives of its athletes through sporting events, new social experiences and ultimately allowing our athletes the opportunity to share their own personal stories. These stories reflect the passion, determination and success they demonstrate in every sporting event they participate in as well as the success they experience in their everyday lives.

We have the single greatest resource available to us as an organization and international movement and that is our parents and families. We are the people who know our athletes best. Am I certain of that? Indeed I am! I am the proud parent of a Special Olympics athlete and I know that as parents we are willing to invest our time when we can see the fabulous return on our investment. I have made the commitment to the program by serving on the SOILL Board of Directors and helping guide the program into the future.

Special Olympics Illinois is developing a campaign to partner with the “experts.” Read More

Put Your Strength to the Test and Pull a Plane for SOILL

2012PlanePull-DT7221Think you’re strong? Put it to the test at 5th Annual Law Enforcement Torch Run Plane Pull at O’Hare International Airport on Saturday, Sept. 21.  The Plane Pull is an extreme team sport to play tug-of-war with a UPS A300 aircraft weighing more than 180,000 pounds.  Don’t worry – it can be done!  Need proof?  Check out this great video.

Are you looking for a fun, team-building and truly once-in-a-lifetime experience?  The Plane Pull is a great way for companies, gyms, crossfits, high schools, colleges, fraternal groups, clubs, and public safety departments to come together and build camaraderie while also pulling for Special Olympics Illinois athletes.  Your team of up to 20 people must raise a minimum of $1,000 (that’s only $50 per person) to participate and pull the aircraft 12 feet as quickly as possible. It’s not too late to participate in this ultimate man versus machine challenge!  For additional information, contact Matt Johnson at 1-800-394-0562.

More Top News

  • TheresaStoklosa2371-webWindy City Rubber Ducky DerbyThis year’s Grand Prize winner, Theresa Stoklosa, took home a 2013 Chevy Malibu LT, courtesy of the Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana Chevy Dealers, for having the first-place duck! Her daughter Ela Stoklosa, is a Special Olympics athlete and sold more than 1,000 ducks this year and was our top seller! 
  • Competition Task Force representatives to present recommendations at upcoming Area Coaches Meetings. Included is the introduction of the 2014 Skating Championships to next year’s competition line-up.
  • We’ve had such a positive response to our Story Sharing contest that we’ve decided to extend the deadline. You now have until midnight, Oct. 4, to tell us about a “Special Olympics moment” that’s inspired, excited or transformed your life—or the life of someone you know.
  • Updates on Illinois delegation to 2014 Special Olympics USA Games
  • Staff Updates
  • View list of Memorial & Tribute Donations

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Athlete Tells Her Story in “Stand Up!” Book

Special Olympics changed Susie Doyens’ life in big ways. She’s gone from very shy and uncertain to an outgoing public speaker who’s surprising everyone who meets her. Most recently, Susie’s story can be found in a new book.

Susie Doyens

Susie Doyens

Susie’s story was highlighted by Special Olympics Illinois in a masterfully done video called “Words.” In the video, Susie’s family and friends talk about how the extremely shy athlete has overcome her shyness and now serves as an ambassador for Special Olympics, sharing her story and encouraging others to become a part of this amazing movement. They credit Susie’s involvement in Special Olympics and her successes through sport and friendships. In addition to this video, Martin Rohahl and his crew created a shorter 60-second PSA called “Speechless” featuring Susie in her favorite sport of golf. This short commercial went viral and was picked up by Coke and Subaru and Susie was featured on The Golf Channel and Golf Digest.

Her life certainly has changed, but Susie hasn’t. A former Special Olympics Illinois athlete, Susie and her family now reside in Florida where she continues to be very active in many sports. On Aug. 3, Susie and her Unified Partner, Tom Reasoner, competed at the Regional Golf Qualifier in Naples. They brought home first-place awards and will compete at the State Golf Tournament in Kissimmee in September.

While Susie is not training or on the golf course, she is meeting with PGA professionals and other VIPs interested in her and her story. Most recently, Susie has been autographing books in which she is featured. “Stand Up!: 75 Young Activists Who Rock the World,  and How You Can, Too!” is a call to action and collection of stories by 75 of the world’s most dynamic young activists and includes other Special Olympics leaders: Samantha Huffman, a Unified Partner and a former member of the National Youth Activation Committee, from Indiana; Danielle Liebl and Kaitlyn Smith, Youth leaders, from Minnesota and Colorado; and Frank Stephens, a Sargent Shriver Global Messenger and athlete from Virginia. The book also features a cover quote from Special Olympics CEO Tim Shriver.

Stand Up! is currently available for pre-order on Amazon and Barnes & Noble, and will be available wherever books are sold, beginning Sept. 17. Watch for Susie on the book tour that will be coming soon! Needless to say, Susie is feeling like a rock star and very excited to share her books with all her friends!  We are proud of you, Susie!

Illinois Teams Bring Home Medals from Softball Invitational

Two Illinois softball teams brought home medals from the 2013 Special Olympics North America Softball Invitational in New Jersey. The tournament brought together 23 teams from across the United States to compete Aug. 23-25.

A Loyola Park Scorpion Kings player displays confidence.

A Loyola Park Scorpion Kings player displays confidence.

The tournament showcased teams from 14 states and included competition in both traditional and Unified softball. Presented by Moose International, the event was held in Mercer County, New Jersey, where the 2014 Special Olympics USA Games will be held June 14-21, 2014.

Illinois was represented by teams from Chicago and Pekin. Chicago’s Loyola Park Scorpions earned bronze medals in Division 1 of the traditional competition and Pekin’s Tri County Independents earned gold medals in Division 1 of Unified competition. The Loyola Park Scorpion Kings had a total of 15 athletes and 4 coaches. The Tri-County Independents team consisted of 9 athletes, 7 Unified partners and 4 coaches. View photos of Illinois’ teams at the tournament.

In case you missed the final round games that were streamed, no worries! All the streamed games are online and you can even download the videos! The videos include game commentary, guest color commentators like Olympic softball gold medalist Amanda Freed, on- screen scores and more. View streamed videos from the tournament.

USA Games Update

Special Olympics Illinois has accepted a slot for a Unified soccer team to compete at the 2014 Special Olympics USA Games in Princeton, N.J. June 14-21, 2014. The addition brings Illinois’ delegation to 60 athletes, 15 coaches and 3 staff members.

2014 national games logoThis co-ed team of 5 Special Olympics athletes, 5 Unified Partners and 3 coaches joins the previously announced athlete and coach slots:

  • Aquatics – 4 female, 4 male athletes, 2 coaches
  • Athletics – 7 female, 5 male athletes, 3 coaches
  • Bocce – 2 female, 2 male athletes, 1 coach
  • Bowling – 2 female, 2 male athletes, 1 coach
  • Powerlifting – 1 female, 3 male athletes, 1 coach
  • Traditional & Unified Golf – 3 male athletes, 1 Partner, 1 coach
  • Artistic Gymnastics – 4 female athletes, 1 coach
  • 1 Traditional Volleyball team (co-ed team) – 10 athletes, 2 coaches
  • 3 Special Olympics Illinois staff positions

Individual Sport Athlete Applications:

Each of the 18 Areas have received their athlete slots.  All approved & signed golf applications need to be submitted to Carolyn Klocek by Sept. 25, 2013.

 Team Sport Athlete Applications:

Athletes will have the opportunity to try out for the Volleyball Team and the Unified Soccer Team. Volleyball applications are available through your Area Director.

Athlete volleyball applications need to be submitted to your local Area Director for approval and signature no later than Sept. 27, 2013.

Unified soccer applications are available through Jen Marcello. Athlete and Unified Partner soccer applications need to be submitted to Jen Marcello for approval and signature no later than Sept. 27, 2013.

Read More about USA Games delegation.

2014 Hotel Blocks Open for Families!

It’s not too early to book your room(s) for the 2014 Summer Games trip to Normal. The 2014 Summer Games Hotel List lists several hotels in the area offering special discounts for families attending Summer Games, June 13-15, 2014. Please mention that you are booking for the Special Olympics Illinois Summer Games when you call.

Walt Disney Co., ESPN to Sponsor Unified Sports

The Walt Disney Company, ESPN and Special Olympics have announced a two-year global initiative that will leverage the power of sports to promote an environment of social inclusion and acceptance, by uniting people with and without intellectual disabilities through the Special Olympics Unified Sports program. With a multi-million dollar financial and in-kind investment, Disney and ESPN will support Special Olympics’ goal of registering 1 million Unified Sports participants, including athletes (individuals with intellectual disabilities), teammates (individuals without intellectual disabilities) and coaches, by 2015. Read More

Gabby Douglas Lends Support to Special Olympics at Toys R Us

Gabby and Toys'R'UsToys R Us announced that 2012 All-Around gymnastics Olympic gold medal winner Gabby Douglas is lending her support by being on the cover of the 2013 Toy Guide for Differently-Abled Kids,® along with Special Olympics Young Athletes Isabella Caesar and Samuel Lopez.

Gabby Douglas is helping to cheer on aspiring Special Olympics athletes.  She explains, “My experience at the 2012 Olympic Games was very special, and through my support of this year’s Toys R Us Toy Guide for Differently-Abled Kids,® I’m so excited to help children of all abilities have their own magical moments.” She added, “With this great resource, parents can find toys that build key skills and help children reach new milestones, all while having fun!”

The Toys R Us Differently-Abled Kids Guide is available onlineRead Toys R Us press release.

Term Changed in All Social Security Regulations

Social Security Adminstration employees were informed in August through Docket No. SSA-2012-0066 that a Final Ruling in changing the terminology “Mental Retardation” to “Intellectual Disability” has come through. Read the ruling on the Government Printing Office website.

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Illinois Teams Bring Home Medals from Softball Invitational

Two Illinois softball teams brought home medals from the 2013 Special Olympics North America Softball Invitational in New Jersey. The tournament brought together 23 teams from across the United States to compete Aug. 23-25.

A Loyola Park Scorpion Kings player displays confidence.

The tournament showcased teams from 14 states and included competition in both traditional and Unified softball. Presented by Moose International, the event was held in Mercer County, New Jersey, where the 2014 Special Olympics USA Games will be held June 14-21, 2014.

Illinois was represented by teams from Chicago and Pekin. Chicago’s Loyola Park Scorpions earned bronze medals in Division 1 of the traditional competition and Pekin’s Tri County Independents earned gold medals in Division 1 of Unified competition. The Loyola Park Scorpion Kings had a total of 15 athletes and 4 coaches. The Tri-County Independents team consisted of 9 athletes, 7 Unified partners and 4 coaches. View photos of Illinois’ teams at the tournament.

In case you missed the final round games that were streamed, no worries! All the streamed games are online and you can even download the videos! The videos include game commentary, guest color commentators like Olympic softball gold medalist Amanda Freed, on- screen scores and more. View streamed videos from the tournament.

National Games Update

Special Olympics Illinois has accepted a slot for a Unified soccer team to compete at the 2014 Special Olympics USA Games in Princeton, N.J. June 14-21, 2014. The addition brings Illinois’ delegation to 60 athletes, 15 coaches and 3 staff members.

2014 national games logoThis co-ed team of 5 Special Olympics athletes, 5 Unified Partners and 3 coaches joins the previously announced athlete and coach slots:

  • Aquatics – 4 female, 4 male athletes, 2 coaches
  • Athletics – 7 female, 5 male athletes, 3 coaches
  • Bocce – 2 female, 2 male athletes, 1 coach
  • Bowling – 2 female, 2 male athletes, 1 coach
  • Powerlifting – 1 female, 3 male athletes, 1 coach
  • Traditional & Unified Golf – 3 male athletes, 1 Partner, 1 coach
  • Artistic Gymnastics – 4 female athletes, 1 coach
  • 1 Traditional Volleyball team (co-ed team) – 10 athletes, 2 coaches
  • 3 Special Olympics Illinois staff positions

Individual Sport Athlete Applications:

Each of the 18 Areas have received their athlete slots.  All approved & signed golf applications need to be submitted to Carolyn Klocek by Sept. 25, 2013.

 Team Sport Athlete Applications:

Athletes will have the opportunity to try out for the Volleyball Team and the Unified Soccer Team. Volleyball applications are available through your Area Director.

Athlete volleyball applications need to be submitted to your local Area Director for approval and signature no later than Sept. 27, 2013.

Unified soccer applications are available through Jen Marcello. Athlete and Unified Partner soccer applications need to be submitted to Jen Marcello for approval and signature no later than Sept. 27, 2013.

Read More about Special Olympics USA Games delegation.

8 Ways to Become a Better Coach

1. Keep It Simple

Always start with the basics and make sure you don’t overcomplicate the session with too many things the athlete has never done before. You don’t want them struggling or getting down on themselves or thinking that your training is too hard or that they are not good enough to be doing what you are trying to teach them. Make sure to that there is a progression that keeps them motivated and challenged. This takes patience and enthusiasm on your part as the coach. Try not to teach too many new skills or exercises in a single session. Rather, add one to an existing set of drills or exercises that your team has already practiced.

2. If You Can’t Do It … Don’t Teach It

Coach Rich Henley instructs Jessie Holderfield on proper batting stance.

Show them the right technique or form, and then show them a common error people make before showing them the correct technique one more time. This is far better way of coaching than simply using language. With every exercise, movement or skill you teach, you should have tried it out first and mastered the form. Otherwise, how can you expect your athlete to be able to perform it the way you would like them to?

3. Close to Perfect Form is Usually Good Enough

When introducing a new movement, you will almost never see your athlete execute it perfectly, so always be encouraging and accept their form if they are close to what you would like to see. Try not over-coach. Let them learn and figure the movement out themselves. If they are close to getting it right, a few encouragements here and there to cue something will most likely help them make small improvements over time. If you are a strength coach, it is vital be careful not to overlook things that might result in injury. This can be applied to any sport you coach.

4. Say their Name at Least 3 Times Every Session

Start your sessions off with a smile and greet your athlete by name or nickname, whatever they feel most comfortable with. Make sure, when communicating in a large group, that you use people’s names. It really makes them feel important and will motivate them to do better in your sessions. If you’re like most people, you will forget someone’s name two seconds after you meet them. Whenever someone tells you their name, immediately associate it with someone that you know to be famous. Another trick is once they introduce themselves to you, repeat their name back to them by saying for example “Hey Roger. My name’s Michael. It’s nice to meet you!” Remembering names is very important because the people you interact with are important and so is your business. It pays to remember!

5. Simple Language Spoken Well

2013OSF-ME7257-webYour athletes do not come to you for a textbook lesson, otherwise they would have bought one and read it before bed to help them fall asleep! Learn to speak in their language by communicating in a simple, easy-to-understand way. At the same time, be careful not to insult your athlete’s intelligence either. Speaking to an 18-year-old athlete like he is 11 years old can de-motivate him very quickly, so getting to know each athlete is very important. A great way to have a feel for them is to spend a few minutes talking with them before their first practice to find out a little bit more about what they are like.

6. Create a Competitive Environment

Men thrive on competition as they find competing against each other fun and motivating. Be careful when employing this strategy with a group of females because girls prefer to compete against themselves.

7. Keep Your Workouts Short and Simple

You don’t want the workout to go on for too long with overly complicated movements or skills that leave your athletes feeling mentally drained on top of being physically worn out. Everyone has enough overwhelming them at work and in their personal lives, so don’t add to the stress of what happens outside the gym or sports field. Be the best part of your athlete’s day. Make every session so good that the next time around they are dying to get to your workout or practice.

8. Smile and Have Fun

If you show signs of being tired, unhappy and not wanting to be there, your team and practice will suffer. Put a smile on your dial, lighten up a little and show some emotion and feeling when communicating with your team. Remember, you need to be the brightest part of their day. You are training them, so be present in the moment and give it everything you’ve got. If you are training someone and they are showing signs that they may not want to be there, then speak to them about it straight away. It may be something you are doing. It may be your training that they are unhappy with. It may be that they are struggling with some personal issues. The point is that it is important that you try to help them without being too intrusive. Be someone they can talk to if they need. Mental strength and commitment is just as important as physical strength and commitment. The sessions should focus on both.

Walt Disney Co., ESPN to Sponsor Unified Sports

The Walt Disney Company, ESPN and Special Olympics have announced a two-year global initiative that will leverage the power of sports to promote an environment of social inclusion and acceptance, by uniting people with and without intellectual disabilities through the Special Olympics Unified Sports program. With a multi-million dollar financial and in-kind investment, Disney and ESPN will support Special Olympics’ goal of registering 1 million Unified Sports participants, including athletes (individuals with intellectual disabilities), teammates (individuals without intellectual disabilities) and coaches, by 2015. Read More

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[expand title=”Volunteers News” tag=”h3″ id=”volunteers”]

Volunteering Becomes Easier With Online Registration

The “going green” trend has taken the world by storm and rightly so.  Special Olympics Illinois is extending its efforts to be more environmentally conscious and tech savvy.

Through the new and improved website, SOILL has begun to offer online volunteer registration for select events across the state. Ultimately, the organization will move to online volunteer registration for every sport competition offered and some fundraising events too.  From the website’s Volunteer page, individuals interested in helping are able to view the calendar of events, select the event at which they would like to volunteer and complete the process online through the website.

SOILL’s online volunteer registration is powered by CERVIS, Community Event and Volunteer Information System. The system not only allows volunteers to select when and where they’d like to volunteer, but also allows the organization to confirm volunteer assignments via email, send email updates in case of changes or cancellations, and send Thank You messages after events have occurred. In addition, volunteer coordinators will now be able to check in volunteers at events much quicker using the online check-in module.

The first state competition event to use the CERVIS online volunteer registration process is the Outdoor Sports Festival Sept. 14-15 in Decatur. Volunteer registration has gone smoothly in advance of the event and we hope to report back in the future that the same can be said for during the event.

In the past, SOILL has sent out thousands of volunteer forms via post mail.  In addition to being a laborious process, it was also not cost- nor time-effective.  We hope to better keep up with our past volunteers as email addresses do not change near as much as post addresses tend to.  We also hope to usher in a new generation of volunteers with this enhanced technological measure.

The change-over from paper to online will not happen overnight.  It will be a gradual process and we plan to continue to educate our valued returning volunteers to ensure those that have become part of our movement stay with us.

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[expand title=”Young Athletes News” tag=”h3″ id=”youngathletes”]

Join Young Athletes at TRYathlon Sept. 29

TRYathlon

We want you to participate and have fun! Sunday, Sept. 29, Young Athletes is hosting its third annual TRYathlon at DuPage County Forest Preserve-Danada (3S580 Naperville Rd., Wheaton, IL 60189).  The TRYathlon consists of a 1-mile run, 3.5-bike and an obstacle course containing 12 stations such as tunnels, inflatable slides and hurdles.

Participants can register as an individual or as a family. The registration fee is $35 for an individual and $110 for a family of four. Participants will receive a T-shirt, medal and goodie bag on the day of the event. TRYathletes will be awarded for top finishers and fundraisers.

This amazing event will help us raise money for the Special Olympics Illinois Young Athletes Program and the 11,000 Young Athletes statewide.

Everyone is invited, tell all your friends and family – we want you to get involved! Register and start raising money for a great cause now!

Gabby Douglas Lends Support to Special Olympics at Toys R Us

Gabby and Toys'R'UsToys R Us announced that 2012 All-Around gymnastics Olympic gold medal winner Gabby Douglas is lending her support by being on the cover of the 2013 Toy Guide for Differently-Abled Kids,® along with Special Olympics Young Athletes Isabella Caesar and Samuel Lopez.

Gabby Douglas is helping to cheer on aspiring Special Olympics athletes.  She explains, “My experience at the 2012 Olympic Games was very special, and through my support of this year’s Toys R Us Toy Guide for Differently-Abled Kids,® I’m so excited to help children of all abilities have their own magical moments.” She added, “With this great resource, parents can find toys that build key skills and help children reach new milestones, all while having fun!”

The Toys R Us Differently-Abled Kids Guide is available online. Read Toys R Us press release.

Athlete of the Month – Shelby Dorrell

Shelby Dorrell has been a Young Athlete for the past 3 years.  She participates with SOAR Young Athletes in Bloomington.  Shelby has an infectious positive attitude you immediately smile for when you see her. Her favorite activity in the Program is running!

Shelby Running

Shelby Dorrell, left, runs at the Summer Games.

Shelby took the next step in her Special Olympics career by participating in Summer Games Athletics Exhibition 50-meter run and tennis ball throw. The lessons learned in the Young Athletes Program helped prepare her to execute the skills for these events. Not only have Shelby’s skills continued to develop, but she has also made many new friends with other athletes.

“Special Olympics Young Athletes Program has not only given Shelby a peer support system but, a support system for the entire family,” said Shelby’s mother, Virginia. “From the first event we were a part of, we instantly felt like we belonged.  We have been able to meet so many wonderful families and build invaluable relationships because of Special Olympics.”

When Shelby is not practicing with Young Athletes, she can be found drawing.  She wants to be an artist when she grows up.

Summer Culminating Event Highlight

Summer Culminating EventYoung Athletes across the state were hard at work during the summer learning their fundamental skills for running, kicking, throwing, catching, jumping and balancing.  NISRA (Northern Illinois Special Recreation Association) hosted their Summer Camp Young Athletes Culminating Event on July 18 at Huntley Park District. Sixteen Young Athletes enthusiastically displayed their gross motor skills while having fun and staying cool.

Also, 22 Young Athletes from Ottawa Eastern Seals Program showed off their pride and skills at their Culminating Event on Aug. 14.  Fun and enjoyment was had by all.

Congratulations to all the programs who participated this summer!

We Want to Hear From YOU!

All site coordinators, parents/guardians, and educators are encouraged to fill out this brief program evaluation. As first hand observers to the received benefits of your athlete’s engagement, there’s no one more qualified to tell us about the impact of participation.

In appreciation for your time, one random participant will receive a $25 gift card to Target and another will receive a $20 gift card to Starbucks. Your feedback is truly invaluable. Not only does it help Special Olympics Illinois to provide the best possible program for more than 13,000 Young Athletes, but it also helps us demonstrate the value of our program to other families, funders and administrators.

The survey will remain open until Sept. 20, 2013.

Transition Ignition

FACT: Special Olympics Illinois offers exhibitions at select State Events for Young Athletes ages 6 and 7 with a valid medial application.

To get more information, contact Special Olympics Illinois Young Athletes staff.

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[expand title=”Area News” tag=”h3″ id=”areanews”]

Areas 2, 3, 5, 13, 16 & 18

Pumpkin Pedal to Benefit Many Northern Areas

Special Olympics Illinois Areas 2, 3, 5, 13, 16 & 18 will be joining forces to host the Pumpkin Pedal Bike Tour fundraiser on Oct. 6.

There will be trail rides of 10, 20 and 28 miles and road rides of 40 and 65 miles. All rides will begin and end at Leroy Oakes Forest Preserve on Dean Street just west of Randall Road in St. Charles. Entry forms are due Sept. 27 to receive your Pumpkin Pedal T-shirt on the day of the ride.

Registration will begin at 7:30 a.m. and riders may start anytime from 7:45-10 a.m. Bike helmets are required. This event will take place rain or shine. A post ride meal will be served from 10 a.m.-3 p.m.

For more information, call 224-234-8635, or email Sandy Hutchins or Dan ConleyDownload a registration form here.

Areas 2 & 5

Brew & Chew Event Pairs Suds and Sup

Enjoy local craft beers paired with authentic Irish food at the Brew & Chew beer pairing dinner Nov. 3 to benefit SOILL Areas 2 & 5. Shannon’s Irish Pub in Glen Ellyn will host the event which begins at 6:30 p.m. Cost to attend is $50 per person.

Download a flyer and registration form. For more information, contact Katie Grisham at 630-545-3402.

Area 3

Take Me Out to the Ballgame

It’s not too late to enjoy a Chicago baseball game!  Tickets are still available to watch the Chicago Cubs play the Pittsburgh Pirates on Tuesday, Sept. 24.

Beyond the Ivy has generously invited Special Olympics Illinois supporters to enjoy the game from their rooftop at 1010 W. Waveland Ave., Chicago. Game time is 7:05 p.m. and guests will enjoy the game from the rooftop  and also from the comfort of the enclosed 2nd floor lounge. This 5th annual rooftop event will raise funds for Special Olympics Illinois. Tickets are $100 and include unlimited beer, wine, soft drinks and food. Group prices are also available. The event will include a small silent auction featuring Cubs memorabilia and entertainment gift cards.

Purchase tickets online, or for more information, contact Kathy McLaughlin at 773-278-2178.

NELARUSKY Concert a Success

The 7th annual NELARUSKY concert was held on July 31 to raise funds for Special Olympics Illinois. The concert sold out in less than four minutes and more than 1,300 guests enjoyed the event. NELARUSKY was held at Metro in Chicago and was the official Lollapalooza Pre-Show. Imagine Dragons headlined the concert and Icona Pop, Brick + Mortar, Kellen & Me also performed. 

Imagine Dragons headlines the 7th Annual NELARUSKY concert.

Imagine Dragons headlines the 7th Annual NELARUSKY concert.

Event organizer Lauren McClusky worked with a committee for months in advance of the fundraiser. Strong ticket sales, generous sponsors, souvenir sales and a successful silent auction contributed to the largest revenue NELARUSKY has earned – $50,000. Lauren presented a check onstage to Special Olympics Illinois Global Messengers Christine Maxwell and Barbara Kozdron and Special Olympics Illinois CEO Dave Breen.

Kathy McLaughlin, Development Director for Special Olympics Illinois, attended the event and commented on the enthusiasm enjoyed throughout the evening.  “It is so exciting to see this huge audience enjoy this concert. Lauren McClusky and her team work incredibly hard for months to put this event together. It is not only the days leading up to the concert and assuring that activities with the bands, crews, and venue are all in place. But it is months of strategizing, organizing and attention to tremendous outreach and communication that contributes to the huge success of NELARUSKY.”

Title sponsors were Audiotree and Scion. Additional sponsors were Next Door State Farm, Sterling Partners, Q87.7 Inner Workings, Jira Productions Laurus Strategies, Premier Foundation, The Windish Agency, KIND, Ocean Tomo, Cozzini Group, Artists & Brands, Propaganda, JMA Promotions, UBER, Folio, DO312, Prasino, Nellcote, Hub 51, Vitaminwater, Keith Jaffee, David Foster, Steve Tumen, Lance & Susan Rodgers, the Louie and Betty Phillips Foundation, Sid & Carol Verdoorn, Andrew & Marcia Rice, Mike Allen, Windup Records, Jeff McClusky, Bill Silva and Mike DePippa.

The Coffee Cake Connection Company

Looking for a special gift? Something to share with a friend or family member? Or maybe a fun way to enjoy Bosses Day? Please order something special from the Coffee Cake Connection. Twenty percent of every purchase made between Sept. 30 – Oct. 16 will be donated to Special Olympics Illinois.

CoffeecakeConnectionLogoEvery gourmet coffee cake ordered from The Coffee Cake Connection will be delivered fresh and tasty direct from their ovens. Order the triple-berry, double chocolate or cinnamon swirl. The Coffee Cake Connection is currently offering an Apple Caramel Cinnamon cake bursting with the crisp tart taste of Granny Smith apples. Can’t decide? Request a variety pack. Cakes come in a standard size and also a smaller cake-a-lette size. They also sell gluten-free products.

Take advantage of  this opportunity to enjoy Bosses Day on Oct. 16.  Or enjoy this opportunity because who doesn’t love a delicious, sweet coffee cake?

A Good Time Was Had By All!

The Windy City Smokeout invaded the River North neighborhood of Chicago July 12-14 and music lovers and foodies alike had a great time.  The festival was held outdoors and guests enjoyed great country music performed by Pat Green, David Nail, Jerrod Niemann and others.  And the weather couldn’t have been sunnier.

BUB CITY hosted this event which offered BBQ from some of the best restaurants in town.  BUB CITY reached out to Special Olympics Illinois and asked if Special Olympics volunteers would be interested in volunteering at the Windy City Smokeout.  More than 60 supporters volunteered on behalf of Special Olympics throughout the three-day festival.  BUB CITY shared a donation as well as all tips shared by guests with Special Olympics and also provided Special Olympics Illinois with Lettuce Entertain You gift cards.  The donation was a very generous $9,966!

Area 4

Go Over the Edge for Special Olympics!

Over the Edge -TomThompson5268Whether you’re an experienced climber, thrill seeker, simply looking to conquer your fears or want to help a great cause, join us on Oct. 30 at the Hotel Blackhawk in downtown Davenport and go Over the Edge for Special Olympics!

This fundraiser is a joint event between Special Olympics Illinois and Special Olympics Iowa.  Be one of the few to rappel off the 131 foot Hotel Blackhawk in this exclusive event!  Participants must raise a minimum of $750 to rappel.

Ready to take the next step?  Click here to register online for this event and create your personalized fundraising page.

For additional information, contact Cathy Betar.

Area 5

Put On Your Thinking Cap for Trivia Knight

All things trivial will be on participants’ minds at Trivia Knight Nov. 9 at the Columbus Club of Oswego. Presented by Oswego Police Department, Oswego Knights of Columbus and Special Olympics Illinois.

Doors open at 6 p.m., with a silent auction at 6:30 p.m. Trivia will include 10 rounds of 10 questions in different categories like sports, television and movies. Teams will consist of no more then 8 people; entry fee is $200 for 8-person team. The team with the highest score will be awarded a prize. Prizes will also be awarded for the best costumes and most creative table decorations.

Pizza will be provided by Pizza Cucina for participants.

Download a flyer and registration form.

Area 8

14th Annual Golf Outing

SOILL Eastern Prairie/Area 8 will hold its 14th Annual Golf Outing Monday, Sept. 30, at Lincolnshire Fields Country Club in Champaign.

Competition will consist of 18 holes, a Hole In One contest, male & female shortest putt & longest drive, as well as prizes for the top male, female and mixed teams. Lunch and golfers gift will be provided and an after-party consisting of a meet and greet with local athletes and hors d’oeuvres. There will also be a variety of raffle prizes, silent auction items and a 50/50 contest.

Registration begins at 11 a.m., with tee-off at noon. Cost is $125 per player or $500 per team.

For more information on how to participate or to sponsor this event, contact Jackie Walk at 217-355-1750.

Area 16

$42,000 Raised at 11th Annual Auction 

Area16-IMG_2103-webThe 11th Annual SOILL Starved Rock/Area 16 Auction was held Aug. 1 in Utica with 237 people in attendance. More than $42,000 was raised at the  event through the sale of silent and live items and certificates which were donated by local businesses and friends of Special Olympics. Proceeds from this event will be used to help cover direct program costs for Area 16 trainings and competitions.

Miller Group Charitable Trust and The Wolf 96.5 were Presenting Sponsors.

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[expand title=”Torch Run News” tag=”h3″ id=”torchrun”]

Test Your Strength and Pull a Plane for SOILL

2012PlanePull-DT7221The 5th Annual Law Enforcement Torch Run Plane Pull  at O’Hare International Airport will be held on Saturday, Sept. 21.  The Plane Pull is an extreme team sport to play tug-of-war with a UPS A300 aircraft weighing more than 180,000 pounds.  Don’t worry – it can be done!  Need proof?  Check out this great video.

Are you looking for a fun, team-building and truly once-in-a-lifetime experience?  The Plane Pull is a great way for companies, gyms, crossfits, high schools, colleges, fraternal groups, clubs, and public safety departments to come together and build camaraderie while also pulling for Special Olympics Illinois athletes.  Your team of up to 20 people must raise a minimum of $1,000 (that’s only $50 per person) to participate and pull the aircraft 12 feet as quickly as possible.

It’s not too late to participate in this ultimate man versus machine challenge!  For additional information, contact Matt Johnson at 1-800-394-0562.

World’s Largest Truck Convoy Set to Benefit Special Olympics 

Truck Convoy 2013-IllinoisTruckers from across the U.S. and Canada are set to participate in the World’s Largest Truck Convoy for Special Olympics.  The 2013 Illinois Convoy will be held on Saturday, Sept. 28.  This is an unforgettable celebration of the trucking industry and law enforcement joining forces for Special Olympics.

The Illinois Convoy will begin at the First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre in Tinley Park.  The convoy will be escorted by law enforcement for approximately 22 miles along I-80 and I-57 before returning to the starting location for some great music, food and fun!

If you know of any companies or truckers that would like to get involved, please let us know. For more information, view this brochure or contact Matt Johnson at 1-800-394-0562.

Visit Red Robin to Tip-A-Cop and Support SOILL

Red Robin Tip-A-Cop Logo_nodateLaw enforcement officers throughout the state will give a whole new meaning to “protect and serve” during the upcoming Tip-A-Cop fundraiser at Red Robin restaurants.  Tip-A-Cop is an official Law Enforcement Torch Run fundraising event where officers volunteer their time as “celebrity waiters” to collect tips for Special Olympics Illinois.

The much anticipated Red Robin Tip-A-Cop fundraiser will be held on Saturday, Oct.12.  2013 marks the sixth year Illinois has partnered with Red Robin for this event.  Be sure to stop by your local Red Robin on Oct. 12 to enjoy some great food and support the dedicated officers of the Law Enforcement Torch Run!

Click here to find the Red Robin nearest you.

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[expand title=”Give News” tag=”h3″ id=”give”]

Another Perfect Day for Ducky Derby

Duck Drop_4-web2013 was another record-breaking year for the Windy City Rubber Ducky Derby. On Aug. 8, 50,000 ducks were dropped into the Chicago River and raced to the finish line at Michigan Avenue. The weather couldn’t have been more perfect and thousands of attendees were able to visit our Family Festival, meet some of our Special Olympics athletes and watch the race from the sidelines along the Chicago River.

This year’s Grand Prize winner, Theresa Stoklosa, took home a 2013 Chevy Malibu LT, courtesy of the Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana Chevy Dealers, for having the first-place duck! Her daughter Ela Stoklosa, is a Special Olympics athlete and sold more than 1,000 ducks this year and was our top seller! Durham School Services was the top fundraising team. Read More about Durham’s commitment to Special Olympics.

Mike Adamle, sportscaster for Chicago’s NBC5 news was on hand to assist Special Olympics Illinois CEO Dave Breen in calling the race as the ducks entered the water.

Katelyn_1-web

Duck Ambassador Katelyn displays the first duck the reach the finish line

More than 200 volunteers from local companies such as Camping World, TD Ameritrade and Winston & Strawn were on hand to make sure the day’s events went smoothly. A team of volunteers from Sprint has handled our traveling duck adoption sales for years and could be found blocks away on race day promoting the race to those not in the direct area. Coca-Cola, one of our most dedicated volunteer groups, tackled the job of getting those ducks back out of the water – not an easy task at all!

Support of this event helped raise over $300,000 to support Special Olympics athletes and programs, and we’re grateful to our sponsors and Duck Sales Teams, who played a major role in our success.

Be a Monthly Partner, Earn a Matching Donation in Sept.

Great news!  During the month of September, a generous donor will contribute $100 for each new person who signs up to become a monthly contributor to Special Olympics, until we reach 150 new monthly partners.

Your steady support will help ensure we’re always able to provide training and competition opportunities to our athletes.  Thanks to this matching donation, your generosity will stretch even further!  Please help us take advantage of this incredible opportunity by becoming a monthly supporter today.

Special Offers from House of Blues

GospelBrunchSunday Mornings Just Got Fresh at House of Blues

Gospel Brunch

Special Offer: Enjoy 1 FREE ticket with the purchase of 3 regular priced tickets. *offer expires Nov. 24, 2013

Seatings every Sunday at 10 a.m. & 12:30 p.m. For tickets, call 312-923-2018 or visit House of Blues website.

For groups of 10 or more, contact Andi Ricciardi at 312-923-2015.

Crossroads at House of Blues Restaurant

AaronSanchezWhere Music, Food and Art Intersect!

Chef Aaron Sanchez has created a new menu that is bold and classy, yet contemporary. Stop by Crossroads at House of Blues and feed your soul. Open daily for lunch and dinner!

Enjoy $5 off lunch or $10 off dinner

* Minimum spend of $20 for lunch discount and minimum spend of $30 for dinner discount. Offer expires Nov. 30, 2013.

 

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Unified Champion Schools

by Dave.

What is Unified Champion Schools

Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools is an all ages education based program that is supported through the Federal Department of Education. There are many moving parts to Unified Champion Schools, though they all share one driving force: the goal of activating young people and giving them the tools, skills, dispositions, and opportunities to build change and to motivate their schools to have true cultures of inclusiveness.

Unified Champion Schools’s diverse activities can be grouped into three major components: Inclusive SportsYouth Leadership and Advocacy and Whole School Engagement. Each is a vital and required element of a Unified Champion School.

Watch the video below to find out more:

 Youth Activation Committee

Special Olympics believes that through sports young people can make a difference in friendships, schools and communities. Unified Champion Schools is youth driven, with a Youth Activation Committee (YAC) made up of young people representing middle schools, high schools and colleges statewide. Members of the committee will work together over the course of the year to develop strategies promoting school communities where all young people are agents of change. During their time on the committee, YAC members will provide leadership to Special Olympics Illinois and Unified Champion Schools by participating in Special Olympics events, providing advice and counsel on strategies to reach other youths, engaging in and promoting Special Olympics activities in their home environments, communicating and networking via Web connectivity with other youth around the country, and reviewing UCS materials for innovation and viability. Would you like to be a member of this committee? Applications are due by May 15th, 2019 for the 2019-2020 School Year.

Sign Up Now

 

Become a Unified Champion School

Interested in becoming a Unified Champion School? Complete the School Commitment Form and a staff member will contact you.

Youth Activation Committee

The Youth Activation Committee is dedicated to bringing respect and inclusion to schools throughout the state. They committ their time to attend the yearly bootcamp, YAC meeting, Capitol Hill Day and to the promotion of inclusion and fundraising for the cause.

Meet our Youth Activation Committee

 

Inclusive Sports

Inclusive SportsIn the Special Olympics context, the term “Inclusive Sports” has two distinct but closely intertwined meanings. One refers to giving people with intellectual disabilities the opportunity to participate in sports – that is, to enable them to be included in the life experience of being an athlete. The other refers to sports activities that athletes of all abilities participate in together – inclusively. Unified Champion School’s Inclusive Sport component covers both in a youth centered framework.

 

Youth Leadership and Advocacy

Youth Leadership and AdvocacyYouth Leadership and Advocacy is one of the essential “legs” on which Unified Champion Schools stands. Nobody understands the thoughts, emotions, attitudes and ideals of young people better than other young people. And when young people care about something, when they perceive a reality that needs changing, they bring unparalleled energy and creativity to achieving their goals. They are hungry to lead; they just need the opportunity. Unified Champion Schools is designed with a primary goal to engage youth as leaders, to give youth a voice in their schools, and to provide youth with and opportunities to become advocates for themselves and their peers. For youth with and without intellectual disabilities who are directly involved, those are leadership lessons that stay with them for life.

 

Whole School Engagement

When one student has an attitude of acceptance and inclusion toward people – including fellow students – who have intellectual disabilities, that is a wonderful thing. When that one student becomes many…when an entire school has a climate of acceptance and inclusion… it becomes a powerful community that represents new ways of thinking and acting. That is what Special Olympics aims to accomplish in schools through Unified Champion Schools – and it is why whole-school engagement is such a crucial component. Ultimately, when the school climate conveys and fosters understanding, inclusion, and respect for all, the students internalize those lessons for their lives both within and beyond school. This type of school climate requires the engagement of all education stakeholders: students, teachers, administrators, school staff, parents and community partners. Unified Champion Schools offers a number of ways for that to happen.

Whole School Engagement

 Supporting Documents


How does Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools go from a good idea to a reality? It’s simple, contact Special Olympics Illinois. Unified Champion Schools liaison is Jennifer Marcello, who can be reached at 630-200-7693.

Like Project UNIFY on Facebook and read the Project UNIFY blog.

Participating School Map and Contacts

Unified Champion Schools Announcements

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