Special Olympics

Lilly Hortis, Staff Writer

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The Special Olympics is “a global movement of people creating a new world of inclusion and community, where every single person is accepted and welcomed, regardless of ability or disability.” Their main mission is to make the world a better and happier place.

Founder of Special Olympics, Eunice Kennedy Shriver, believed in justice for all, especially for those with intellectual disabilities. According to Special Olympics, someone who has certain limitations in cognitive functioning and other skills including communication and self-care is considered to have an intellectual disability. Despite her knowledge of the disabled talents and gifts, Shriver saw the continued neglect, ignorance, and exclusion of these people by others. With her strong desire for justice, Shriver hosted a camp in the summer of 1962. Shriver used this as a way to explore the children’s talents and abilities. This camp was the beginning of the official Special Olympics.

In July 1968, the very first International Special Olympics was hosted in Chicago, IL. At the games, over 200 events were offered. Events such as 100-yard swim, high jumps, 50-yard dash, and others were offered. After the completion of the first official games, Shriver pledged to hold the games again in 1970, and then every two years after that.

The Special Olympics is still continued today. Continuing their mission “of providing year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, giving them 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”,the games are held every year.

Along with working with intellectually disabled to give them a great experience and make them feel included, Special Olympics gives many volunteer opportunities for those in the area. Overall, Special Olympics, as their mission states, does a great job of making the world a better and happier place.

The Horry County Special Olympics was originally planned for Tuesday April 9 but has been rescheduled for Friday April 26 due to weather conditions. A large group of students, including some Teacher Cadets and PE students, will be attending to help the participants.  The Special Olympics appreciates volunteers from all over. Visit their website, www.specialolympics.org, for volunteer information.

Information from: http://www.specialolympics.org/

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