GET TO KNOW: Special Olympics Area 5

Last Updated on February 10, 2016 by cassnetwork

We want people to know about all the great things our community has to offer, so we’re inviting every business, organization and program in Cass County to be featured on Cass County Online.  All you have to do is tell us about yourself.

This week’s featured organization is Special Olympics Area 5. You can find more information on their Facebook page.

specialolympics_logoWe are a not-for-profit organization that provides year-round sports training and athletic competition in more than 20 Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities

Special Olympics began July 19-20, 1968, when Eunice Kennedy Shriver organized the First International Summer Games at Soldier Field in Chicago. For the first time, individuals with intellectual disabilities were offered the opportunity to compete in swimming events and track and field. Shriver believed that people with intellectual disabilities were far more capable than commonly believed and deserving of the same opportunities and experiences as others. Twenty-four athletes from Indiana competed that day with nearly 1,000 other athletes with intellectual disabilities representing 26 states and Canada.

From 1969, when the first Special Olympics Indiana games were held June 6-7 at Bush Stadium in Indianapolis until 1974, Special Olympics Indiana was run entirely by volunteers. Over the past 40 years, the organization has grown steadily to include approximately 8,000 volunteers, 12 full-time staff, more than 20 sports and nearly 11,000 athletes. Special Olympics Indiana currently has programs established in 79 of Indiana’s 92 counties.

Special Olympics provides is about more than just  sports.  It provides our athletes with continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes and the community.

We always welcome individuals with intellectual disabilities to join us as an athlete.  We also depend on volunteers to help us coach and train our athletes. We host year round tournaments and we are always looking for volunteers to help for the day.

Special Olympics Indiana receives no federal or state-appropriated funds, is not a United Way Agency, and relies entirely on corporate, civic and individual donations. We are always grateful for donations to help our athletes. When you donate it enables us to organize golf, bowling, basketball, and track and field tournaments.  It pays for sports equipment, shirts, medals and ribbons.

The athletes are our key players. We volunteer so they can play sports and be part of a team.  That does take some organization though which is what Special Olympics Area 5 comes in.  Special Olympics Indiana Area 5 is made up of 8 counties including Cass, Fulton, Miami, Kosciusko, Tipton, Wabash, Howard, and Pulaski county. Our goal is to serve the athletes, coaches, and volunteers in these counties to help achieve the missions and goals of Special Olympics Indiana.

We have a great time doing what we do.  We get paid in smiles, hugs, and high fives that are more precious than gold. It really makes a difference in some of their lives when they get the opportunity to become  a teammate, friend, and athlete.