Search Results: “area 7” — Page 2

SOILL Athletes to Take to Court, Arena at Fall Games in Rockford Area

by Jamie Scovel.

NORMAL, Ill. – More than 740 Special Olympics athletes from all over the state will compete at the Special Olympics Illinois Fall Games, which includes volleyball and equestrian competition, on Oct. 22 and 23 in Poplar Grove. View list of athletes expected to compete.

Volleyball competition will take place at Harlem High School from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 22, and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 23. Equestrian competition will take place at the Bergmann Centre in Poplar Grove from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 22, and 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 23.

There will be Special Olympics flag football trainings and demonstrations at noon and 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 24, at Harlem High School’s practice field in Machesney Park. The trainings for this emerging sport will provide coaches with knowledge, tools and resources, while allowing athletes and coaches practice the sport.

Nearly 600 volleyball athletes will be competing in traditional team, modified team or Unified team play, with 70 athletes competing in the individual skills competition. The individual skills competition involves different skill tests that the athletes participate in including forearm pass, overhead set and serve. Unified teams include players with and without intellectual disabilities that compete against other Unified teams.

More than 150 athletes will compete in equestrian competition, including dressage, English equitation, showmanship, stock seat equitation and working trails.

Athlete participation per event are:

  • 4 athletes competing in Equestrian Dressage
  • 57 athletes competing in Equestrian English Equitation
  • 15 athletes competing in Equestrian Showmanship
  • 86 athletes competing in Equestrian Stock Seat Equitation
  • 104 athletes competing in Equestrian Working Trails
  • 70 athletes competing in Volleyball Individual Skills Competition
  • 185 athletes on 20 teams competing in Volleyball Modified Team Competition
  • 231 athletes on 27 teams competing in Volleyball Traditional Team Competition
  • 108 athletes on 11 teams competing in Volleyball Unified Team Competition

The Opening Ceremony will begin at 6:30 p.m. Saturday at Harlem High School. A victory dance follows and will feature a Halloween costume contest.

The Fall Games Presenting Sponsor is the Illinois Knights of Columbus and Gold Medal Sponsors are the Illinois Law Enforcement Torch Run and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois.

Special Olympics Illinois is a not-for-profit organization offering year-round training and competition in 19 sports for more than 22,000 athletes with intellectual disabilities and more than 20,000 Young Athletes ages 2-7 with and without intellectual disabilities. Special Olympics transforms the lives of people with intellectual disabilities, allowing them to realize their full potential in sports and in life. Special Olympics programs enhance physical fitness, motor skills, self-confidence, social skills and encourage family and community support. If you are interested in learning more about Special Olympics Illinois, volunteering or providing financial support to help make Special Olympics programs possible, contact your local Special Olympics agency, call 800-394-0562 or visit our website at www.soill.org.

Contact:

Michele Evans, Office: 309-888-2573; Mobile: 309-660-8497

Area News – August 2016

by Jamie Scovel.

Area 2

Pumpkin Pedal Celebrating its 25th Anniversary

Special Olympics athletes Georgia Hunter and Daniel Smrokowski rode in the 2015 Pumpkin Pedal

Special Olympics athletes Georgia Hunter and Daniel Smrokowski rode in the 2015 Pumpkin Pedal

In the quarter-century of the Pumpkin Pedal bicycle ride and road race, a lot of things have changed. One thing has remained the same – participants enjoying themselves while raising money for the athletes of Special Olympics Illinois Far West Suburban/Area 2.

The event on Oct. 2 offers recreational riders and families 10-, 20- and 26-mile trail rides entirely on the Great Western Trail. For serious riders, the 40- and 62-mile road rides will be on roads in far western Kane County.

In exchange for a $30 fee, Pumpkin Pedal riders get a T-shirt, free small pumpkin and post-ride meal. Read More

Area 3

Keith Tyler Remembered for His Generous Personality

Keith Tyler and Jorge Hernandez

Keith Tyler displayed his encouraging spirit with fellow athlete Jorge Hernandez

“We rise by lifting others” is a mantra that truly described Keith Michael Tyler. Anyone who had the privilege to meet Keith quickly recognized his gregarious personality, his outstanding athletic abilities and his tremendous can-do spirit. Keith competed in 12 Special Olympics sports including his beloved powerlifting and won a bronze medal with Team USA at the 2015 Special Olympics World Summer Games in Los Angeles.

However, many people didn’t get to see another side of Keith. He was also the guy who cheered on and encouraged all of his teammates and gave support to those that needed it. Keith always looked for someone who was struggling and did what he could to help them, even if it meant he had to go out of his way.

Keith Tyler passed away unexpectedly on Tuesday, July 19. He was surrounded by family and close friends. This loss has tremendously affected the Special Olympics community not only in Chicago but all over the globe.

Anyone who ever had the privilege to spend time with Keith, whether it was a brief moment or an extended time, will remember him fondly. While we remember the athlete, also remember the man: Kind, generous and uniquely positive.

WAA Donation Helps Agency Expand Tennis Program

Tim Rubens, Athletic Director for the Special Olympics program at the McKinley Community Center, is always searching for ways to strengthen and grow their Special Olympics involvement. Their challenge is often related to resources. So, the McKinley Vocational Panthers was thrilled with the continued support they receive from the University of Chicago Women’s Athletic Association (WAA).

McKinley Tennis ParticipantsThe WAA has shared financial contributions during the past two years which have allowed the Panthers to acquire new athletic uniforms and equipment and has assisted with costs of lodging when the Panthers compete outside of Chicago.

The most recent donation of tennis racquets, tennis balls and tennis nets from the WAA has allowed the Panthers to improve and expand their tennis participation with Special Olympics Illinois Chicago/Area 3. Panthers athlete Cornell, seen in photo, is advancing to the state level competition in August!

Coach Rubens said that support from the WAA helps his team reach greater athletic heights.  “They have made a contribution to a sports program that, with just a little assistance, continues to bring home gold medals and championships, despite the obstacles that our athletes overcome daily,” said Rubens.

Teneo Hospitality Group Gives Back

Teneo Hospitality Group, a global sales organization representing more than 300 member hotels and resorts, hosted an event in Chicago during the week of July 18.

Teneo’s Midwest team provided a forum for their hotel members to network with meeting planning professionals. As an added benefit, each attendee had the opportunity to participate in sharing a donation with Special Olympics Illinois.

Each attendee received a backpack to fill with various school supplies and hygiene products provided by Teneo. Teneo, with the help of clients at the forum, donated 150 backpacks to the Chicago program of Special Olympics Illinois. The backpacks were shared with Ada S. McKinley Community Services, an agency which participates with Special Olympics Illinois.

Kathy McLaughlin, Special Olympics Illinois Director of Development, attended the forum and thanked participants for their great contribution. “Everyone was having such a great time.  What a creative and generous concept to encourage networking at a company event,” said McLaughlin. “The back-to-school backpacks are very, very appreciated by the children we work with at Ada S. McKinley. It took a truck to carry these very full backpacks to their center. It will be wonderful for 150 children to start their school year with these awesome backpacks!”

10th Annual  NELARUSKY Another Success

Celebrating its 10th year, NELARUSKY has become one of the premier launch parties for Chicago’s Lollapalooza. Since its launch, the event, which is held at Metro in Chicago, has featured bands including Imagine Dragons, Icona Pop and Alabama Shakes.

Photo City and ColourNELARUSKY 10 didn’t disappoint fans at the sold-out concert. Bands Wild Child and Marrow entertained more than 1,000 audience members before headliner City and Colour took the stage for a solo show.

Event organizer Lauren McClusky invited Special Olympics Illinois athletes Barbara Kozdron and Christine Maxwell to join her on stage and introduced them to the audience before she announced the amount of the donation. The proceeds from NELARUSKY amount to $30,000 and will once again be shared with Special Olympics Illinois.

Kathy McLaughlin, Director of Development for Special Olympics Illinois, accepted the check and acknowledged the hard work, dedication and enthusiasm that Lauren and her team demonstrate through the months of planning. Jennifer Fortner, Special Olympics Illinois Board Chair, presented McClusky with a gift and shared her appreciation for 10 years of fundraising that she has lead and stated that Special Olympics Illinois is extremely grateful for Lauren’s dedication and passion for Special Olympics.

NELARUSKY sponsors included Sterling Partners, Jim Peterick and Walt Disney Studios.  Additional contributions were shared by HUB51, C3 Presents, Sidley Austin, Medford Capital, JMA, BMI, the Metro and Do312.

Area 8

Athlete Throws Out First Pitch at Danville Dans Game

S Beissmann and DANs players

Samantha Beissmann with members of Danville Dans baseball team

Special Olympics Illinois Eastern Prairie/Area 8 athlete Samantha Beissmann of the Mahomet Area Magic was invited to throw out the first pitch at the Danville Dans baseball game on July 26.

This particular game was sponsored by the Danville Buffalo Wild Wings who in June held a fundraiser for the Mahomet Magic team. BWW Manager Scott Roberts invited Samantha to throw out the first pitch and she did just that, right over home plate! Samantha participates in softball skills as well as the local Challenger league, so she definitely had the experience to deliver such a successful pitch.

Craft Fair for SOILL AR 8Fall Craft Show to Benefit Area 8

A fall craft and vendor show on Sunday, Sept. 11, with a portion of the proceeds benefiting SOILL Eastern Prairie/Area 8. The show, which will feature more than 40 crafters and vendors, will be from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Hawthorne Suites, Champaign. There will be a prize raffle and 50/50 raffle.

Area 9

Walgreen’s

From Sept. 1-14, Walgreen’s locations in Central Illinois will be launching a fundraising campaign to benefit Special Olympics Illinois. View list of participating stores.

John Davis and his volunteer crew from Walgreen's serve lunch at East Central/Area 9's Spring Games.

John Davis and his volunteer crew from Walgreen’s serve lunch at East Central/Area 9’s Spring Games.

During the two-week fundraising time period, patrons of Walgreen’s stores will be encouraged to purchase a scannable in donation amounts of $1, $3 or $5. Customers can write their name on the donation and Walgreen’s will post it in their stores, as a means of also raising awareness for Special Olympics Illinois athletes.

Walgreen’s stores in Central Illinois have partnered with Special Olympics Illinois thanks to the passion, community concern and volunteerism of John Davis, District Manager of Walgreen’s Area 94. Read More

Area 18

Buffalo Grove/Lincolnshire Chamber Golf Outing to Benefit Area 18

On Friday, Sept. 16, Special Olympics Illinois North Suburban Cook/Area 18 will be joining the Buffalo Grove/Lincolnshire Chamber of Commerce for the 29th Annual Golf Outing at the Arboretum Club in Buffalo Grove.

This event is an exciting opportunity to play 18 holes while supporting the local Special Olympics athletes. In addition to golf, the annual golf outing will feature a silent auction and raffle. A portion of the proceeds will benefit Area 18.

Registration is now open and sponsorship opportunities are still available. The price per golfer is $150 and includes all course contests, breakfast and lunch.

If you are interested in participating in this event please reach out to Kristen Wisniewski, Manager Business Development & Partnerships, Areas 13 & 18, at 847-370-7370.

This is Special Olympics Illinois’ second year of involvement with the golf outing. Last year’s event saw 66 golfers and raised $15,000 – a portion of which benefited Area 18.

For more information, please click here.

Area News – July 2016

by Jamie Scovel.

Area 3

SOILL Partners With Windy City Smokeout

Windy City Smokeout welcomed more than 40,000 guests to the festival held in Chicago on July 15 – 17. Hosted by Chicago’s favorite BBQ restaurant, Bub City, and ACM award-winning Joe’s Bar, Special Olympics Illinois shared almost 275 volunteers for the event.

WindyCitySmokeout2Attendees tasted offerings from some of the best BBQ talent and craft breweries from around the nation. But the highlight for most, was enjoying some of country music’s biggest names. Old Dominion, Billy Currington, Big & Rich, Chase Rice and Maren Morris were among the performers at the weekend festival.

Again festival organizers reached out to Special Olympics Illinois for volunteers. Recognizing that Special Olympics Illinois works with enthusiastic, dependable and hard-working volunteers, this was the third year of the volunteer partnership.

WindyCitySmokeout1Bub City and Joe’s Bar placed tip jars throughout the festival announcing that all tips would be donated to Special Olympics Illinois. Volunteers each received a restaurant gift card and festival organizers also shared gift cards valued at more than $12,000 to Special Olympics Illinois.

“Windy City Smokeout is the absolute highlight of the summer for anyone who loves BBQ, craft beer or country music,” said Kathy McLaughin, SOILL Director of Development. “The festival is so fun and so friendly for everyone who attends. And the weather couldn’t have been more cooperative. We are so grateful for the relationship with Bub City and Joe’s Bar. But none of this would be possible without the continued awesome of Special Olympics Illinois volunteers!”

Young Professional Board Hosts Beach Volleyball Tournament

Attachment-1Sunshine, volleyball, friends and Special Olympics Illinois – hard to resist!

The Special Olympics Illinois Young Professionals Board (YPB) was created in 2005 to raise funds for the Chicago program of Special Olympics Illinois. The board, which includes more than 100 members, meets monthly to discuss and plan opportunities and to host fundraising events.

Mark Oles, member of the YPB Executive Committee has organized YPB Beach Volleyball which will be held on Aug. 13 at Montrose Beach in Chicago. “The purpose is to raise funds to support Chicago athletes, but we always look for a fun way to do it. We are excited to host a beach volleyball event and hoping for a great turnout and great weather.”

Teams or individuals should register online for the co-ed 4-a-side tournament.

Key Volunteers – We Couldn’t Do It Without You!

SOILL Chicago/Area 3 would like to send a special thank you to three of our Key Volunteers who have dedicated their time and talents to the program this year. “These volunteers add so much value to both our office and Area 3 program,” said Jacquelin Kogut-Marks, Manager of Sports, Training & Education for Area 3. “We can’t express enough how grateful we are for their time, passion and endless support. We are truly thankful for all that Maureen, Mari and Ian have done for us and the athletes of Area 3.”

  • Maureen Hunt – Maureen has been volunteering with the Area 3 office for many years. She has helped us prep for just about every event we do.  We are able to hand her a project and know that it will get done. She has a fantastic attitude and no job is too small for her. In years past, she has created brackets for basketball and tennis, she was a major component of running our tennis skills event a few years ago, she has volunteered at Winter Games for many years and has volunteered at several Area Spring Games. This
    Maureen Hunt and Ian Pearlstein

    Maureen Hunt and Ian Pearlstein

    year, she was instrumental in getting our office ready for Spring Games and was on-site for Opening Ceremonies and 4 days of Spring Games competition. She even brought friends to volunteer at our Spring Games this year. Maureen has become not only a volunteer, but a friend we can rely on.

  • Ian Pearlstein – Ian joined the Area 3 volunteer family in the Spring. He jumped right in, coming in to our office helping us keep on top of filing, paperwork for the various events we had going at the same time and helping us prep for MATP and gymnastics. He was so committed, he came in after an ankle injury in a boot, and came to most of the Spring Games competition days in the last phase of his ankle recovery. He also volunteered at Summer Games this year. At the end of the summer, Ian is heading to Pennsylvania to pursue a law degree. We are sad he’s leaving us, but are hopeful Special Olympics Pennsylvania will gain a new key volunteer!
  • Mari Moore – Mari reached out to our office seeking an internship for college credit. She knew she was going to have free time over the summer and wanted to learn about Special Olympics in a more structured way than just volunteering. She joined our team at the start of summer and has been put to work helping prep for our inaugural Young Athletes culminating events and our softball, tennis and golf events. She’s been a great addition to the team and we will be sorry to see her head back to college in the fall.

Area 6

Area Special Olympics Athletes Honored at Sports Banquet

Bailey Keiser

Bailey Keiser

The Bloomington-Normal Area Sports Commission hosted the 9th annual State Farm Student-Athlete Recognition Banquet on June 21 at the Holiday Inn & Suites in Bloomington.

The banquet recognized outstanding scholar athletes, coaches, teams, and others in McLean County for their achievements on and off the field. The banquet featured a speech by Special Olympics Illinois Global Messenger Drew White.

Jamey McCabe

Jamey McCabe

Awards given include Special Olympics Female and Male Athlete of the Year. This year’s finalists were:

Special Olympics Female Athlete of the Year Finalists:

  • Bailey Keiser – Normal West
  • Ally Davis – Olympia
  • Mackenzie Carlson – Normal West

Special Olympics Male Athlete of the Year Finalists:

  • Jamey McCabe – Olympia
  • Brady Sutton – Tri-Valley
  • Aaron Stuckey – Tri-Valley

“Sing” Your Heart Out at Lip Sync Battle

LipSynclogo4Special Olympics Illinois Heartland/Area 6 and the Law Enforcement Torch Run are hosting a Lip Sync Battle on Aug. 11. This inaugural event will feature Central Illinois celebrities who will “sing” their hearts out against other local celebrities to raise money and awareness for our Area 6 athletes and their families.

Lip Sync contestants will perform to one of their favorite songs for the audience, who will in turn vote for their favorite acts with a donation. They are encouraged to wear costumes and can invite friends or family to be their backup singers/dancers! In addition, Best Costume and “Keep Your Day Job” awards will be presented.

The Lip Sync Battle will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. Aug. 11 at Mackinaw Valley Vineyard. The Vineyard will be selling its wine and beer selections throughout the evening. Tickets are $20 per person and can be purchased online.

For more information please contact Mollie Knutson or Jordan Vose.

Area 9

Athlete Raises the Bar as Restaurant’s Manager for a Day

For many high school seniors and juniors, the thoughts of “what comes after high school?” occur often, and Jimmy Peterlich of Charleston High School is no different from his peers in that he too is considering his future endeavors. At his home, Jimmy often would create and write JimmyPeterlich-BrickHouserestaurant menus, which steadily grew to a passion for owning and managing a restaurant someday. Thanks to his family and some legislative support, Jimmy’s dream of learning restaurant management and working with customers was more of a reality on his horizon than expected.

In April, Jimmy and several other Global Messengers and Family Ambassadors attended the Special Olympics Illinois Capitol Day in Springfield to help raise awareness for individuals with special needs and their abilities to thrive, make friendships, be involved with their communities, learn sports, and compete like other athletes. Jimmy, a gold medal winner in basketball, athletics (track & field) and bowling, has been serving as a liaison and Global Messenger for SOILL since his early childhood.

While at the State Capital in Springfield, Jimmy and his mother, Colleen Peterlich, met with Illinois State Sen. Dale Righter and Rep. Reggie Phillips and expressed his passion to own and operate a restaurant someday. Hearing Jimmy’s passion and drive for his future endeavors, Rep. Phillips, a restaurant owner in the Charleston area, offered Jimmy a “Manager for a Day” experience to better understand the intricacies of restaurant management. Read More

Area 13

Crystal Lake Road Sign Recognizes Athlete’s Achievements

Brent Kampert

Brent Kampert

The City of Crystal Lake has recognized Brent Kampert, Special Olympics Illinois athlete and Global Messenger, for his athletic achievement in Special Olympics.

Brent competed in the 2016 Special Olympics Illinois State Summer Games where he took first place in both the long jump and 100-meter run.

The City Council adopted a resolution at their meeting on June 21 to honor Brent stating, “The City of Crystal Lake is proud and honored to have a resident like Brent represent the City in athletic competitions across the State.”

Crystal Lake, like many cities, offers a Championship Signs Program that recognizes individuals or teams from the community who have won State championships. They awarded Brent with several signs placed around Central High School where he graduated high school and along Route 14 throughout Crystal Lake. These signs will be up for one year.

Congratulations to Brent Kampert on his accomplishments! Thank you to Crystal Lake for supporting Special Olympics Illinois.

Area News – May 2016

by Jamie Scovel.

Far West Suburban/Area 2

29th Annual Midwest Golf Celebrity Pro-Am

The 29th Annual Midwest Golf Celebrity Pro-Am to benefit Far West Suburban/Area 2 will be June 20 at The Royal Fox Country Club in St. Charles.

Molly Sosnowski,

Molly Sosnowski, Eric Soderholm and Kevin Mikan at the 2015 Midwest Golf Celebrity Pro-Am.

The format for this year’s event will match professional athletes, and other celebrities with amateur foursomes in a scramble format tournament. Some of the celebrities expected to attend are Eric Soderholm, Cliff Levingston, Ronnie Bull, Ike Hill, Bob Parsons, Paul Popovich and Jim Thornton.

Registration begins at 9 a.m., with a shotgun start at 10:30 a.m. There will be cocktails and a dinner/auction after the day’s golfing.

This event offers attendees the opportunity to join the network of corporations and individuals who contribute to the success of thousands of Special Olympics athletes in the Chicagoland area. Please join us this year as a sponsor or individual golfer, or if you can’t attend, consider making a financial contribution.

For more information, contact Amy Kaylor at 630-377-7250. View event registration flyer.

Chicago/Area 3

Young Professionals Board Pub Crawl Raises Funds for Area 3

Team USA photoMore than 175 people showed up on Saturday, April 23, for the 11th Annual Young Professionals Board Pub Crawl. Pub Crawl guests visited seven pubs in the Wicker Park neighborhood of Chicago and enjoyed drink and food specials throughout the day. Warm weather contributed to a fun afternoon enjoyed in a historic part of Chicago. The event concluded with food donated by Chipotle and a fun raffle.

Event co-chairs Kaitlyn Rosen and Mae Rodovitch and their planning committee arranged a fabulous raffle featuring tickets to comedy clubs, bowling parties, gift cards to spas and salons as well as gift cards to more than a dozen Chicago restaurants. Several guests were awarded best costume as part of the Team America theme and received restaurant gift cards in recognition. The event raised more than $4,600 to support athletes who participate in the Chicago/Area 3 program.

The Young Professionals Board (YPB) was formed in 2005 to raise funds for Special Olympics Illinois Chicago/Area 3.  For more information, contact Kathy McLaughlin.

Heartland/Area 6

Lip Sync Battle to Benefit Area 6

LipSynclogo4Special Olympics Illinois Heartland/Area 6 and the Law Enforcement Torch Run are hosting a Lip Sync Battle on Aug. 11. This inaugural event will feature Central Illinois celebrities who will “sing” their hearts out against other local celebrities to raise money and awareness for our Area 6 athletes and their families.

Lip Sync contestants will perform to one of their favorite songs for the audience, who will in turn vote for their favorite acts with a donation. They are encouraged to wear costumes and can invite friends or family to be their backup singers/dancers! In addition, Best Costume and “Keep Your Day Job” awards will be presented.

The Lip Sync Battle will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. Aug. 11 at Mackinaw Valley Vineyard. The Vineyard will be selling its wine and beer selections throughout the evening. Tickets are $20 per person and can be purchased online.

For more information please contact Mollie Knutson or Jordan Vose.

East Central/Area 9

Coach of the Year Awarded at Spring Games

Windsor Schools team

Windsor Schools team

For the first time, Special Olympics Illinois Eastern Central/Area 9 recognized a coach with an award which recognizing the coach’s outstanding leadership abilities, volunteerism and dedication to Special Olympics sports programs at Spring Games.

The Area 9 Coach of the Year award was presented to Terry Prasun, head Special Olympics coach of the Windsor Schools team.

“The decision as to which of the 82 head coaches in the Area should win the inaugural Coach of the Year award was not an easy decision by any means,” said Vanessa Duncan, Area Director. “This decision was most difficult because of the many superstar coaches that lead, train, and love our Special Olympics Area 9 athletes.”

Prasun is an admired coach who trains her athletes in four sports throughout the year, including athletics (track & field), bocce, basketball and bowling. Read More

Little Brooklyn Raises BIG Support

Brooklyn Schutte, a second-grade athlete of the Neoga/Sigel Indians Special Olympics team, loves to run, loves to smile, and loves to support Special Olympics Illinois East Central/Area 9.

Brooklyn Schutte

Brooklyn Schutte

Brooklyn competed in the 100-meter race and the softball throw event at the 2016 East Central/Area 9 Spring Games at Eastern Illinois University, earning a medal in both of events.  But not only is Brooklyn an amazing athlete, she is also a fierce fundraiser for Area 9.

During the past two years, Brooklyn, her parents and family members have hosted fundraisers to provide financial support so that Area 9 can continue to offer free sports training and competitions, as well as add competition and family events. Last year, Brooklyn’s family was able to donate $871 from various fundraising efforts.

This year, they almost doubled their donation to East Central/Area 9 with a total of $1,570. Read More

North Suburban Cook/Area 18

Volunteering at Special Olympics a Tradition for Schwantz Family

Cook/Area 18 Spring Games were no exception. Amongst these volunteers were Austin Schwantz, a junior at Fremd High School, who recruited his fellow football teammates to help with set-up and tear down of Area 18 Spring Games at Prospect High School in Mt. Prospect.

Austin Schwantz and his football team at Fremd

Austin Schwantz and his football teammates from Fremd High School at the Palatine Polar Plunge

Austin is no stranger to volunteering. He helps coach the Blue Jays Special Olympics basketball team with some of his teammates who have siblings with special needs.

This winter he looked to expand his efforts. He wanted to further give back in a way that could also bond his team so he registered for the 2016 Palatine Polar Plunge. While they were reluctant at first, the football coaches helped to empower the team stating that if the team plunged, they would plunge, too. The Fremd Football went on to raise $3,000.

“The kids and coaches had such a great time, the coach is looking to making this a team event every year,” Austin’s mom, Brenda Schwantz, said. “It was all any of them could talk about for the next day.”

Volunteering is something Austin may have learned from his parents, Brenda and Jim Schwantz. Read More

Palatine High School Fundraiser Goes the Distance

On April 23, Palatine High School hosted Distance Night in Palatine – an event deigned to bring the best high school runners together from throughout Illinois and the Midwest while raising money for charity.

2016Area18-DistanceNight-0269Distance Night in Palatine is a unique fusion of elite distance racing, music and fun. Races included the 800-, 1,600- and 3,200-meter distances as well as an 800-meter race for Special Olympics Illinois athletes.

“This race allows us to celebrate the true meaning of competition – to run to the best of your ability,” said Chris Quick, Palatine High School English teacher.

Quick was inspired by his brother, Chad, who competed in wheelchair races and more through Special Olympics during his childhood.

“It is because of him that I chose to make Special Olympics the primary beneficiary of our event,” Quick explains. “Our goal is to bring both financial support and awareness to Special Olympics.”

The Special Olympics 800 took place right before the “Main Event” races later in the evening and the participating athletes received a warm introduction prior to running.

This year’s event raised $1,870 for the athletes of Special Olympics Illinois. Thank you to Palatine High School and all of those who participated in Distance Night for their support! Watch video of event.

Windsor School Coach Earns Area 9 Award

by Jamie Scovel.

For the first time, Special Olympics Illinois Eastern Central/Area 9 recognized a coach with an award which recognizing the coach’s outstanding leadership abilities, volunteerism and dedication to Special Olympics sports programs at Spring Games.

Windsor Schools team

Members of Windsor Schools team

The Area 9 Coach of the Year award was presented to Terry Prasun, head Special Olympics coach of the Windsor Schools team.

“The decision as to which of the 82 head coaches in the Area should win the inaugural Coach of the Year award was not an easy decision by any means,” said Vanessa Duncan, Area Director. “This decision was most difficult because of the many superstar coaches that lead, train, and love our Special Olympics Area 9 athletes.”

Prasun is an admired coach who trains her athletes in four sports throughout the year, including athletics (track & field), bocce, basketball and bowling (team pictured at top of page).  The practice seasons of these four sports require Prasun to commit countless unpaid volunteer hours for her Special Olympics team, including during summer months when she takes her athletes to Summer Games and weekly bowling practices, despite being on vacation from her school district job.

When athletes from Windsor Schools are eligible to advance to another level of competition for a particular sport, Prasun ensures that those athletes can attend, even if that means she pays out of pocket for those travel costs.  Undoubtedly, Prasun does so much for her Special Olympics athletes of Windsor Schools.

PrasunClassPic

Terry Prasun is shown with her students at a party they gave her after she won the Area 9 Coach of the Year award

Prasun is not only a great coach, but she is also a valuable support for Special Olympics Illinois East Central/Area 9.  Every January, Prasun hosts one of the Area 9 Individual Basketball Skills competitions, making sure to coordinate lunches for the athletes and recruit the volunteers for the day, which is essential to the functioning of any Special Olympics event.  Prasun has provided volunteer support at the Area 9 Bocce Sports Day and continually encourages peer partners to get involved in Unified Sports, like bocce.

East Central/Area 9 is so very fortunate to have Terry Prasun as a head coach because any Area Director knows that behind every great athlete is an even more amazing coach.  “Congratulations and recognition of accomplishment to Terry Prasun, 2016 Area 9 Coach of the Year, for all of her hard work, dedication to her athletes, her love of sports and leadership abilities earning her this award,” said Duncan.