Today marks the start of the 2012 London Olympic games! The opening ceremony will take place tonight. You can keep up with the Olympics and Paralympics schedule on their respective websites. However, we must not forget the work that the Special Olympics does year round to support communities around the world.
The Special Olympics have been a worldwide resource and support system for children and adults with intellectual disabilities and their families since 1968. The games grew out of Eunice Kennedy Shriver‘s vision to create a space for children with disabilities to thrive physically, socially, and emotionally. It is a community that strives to provide year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports 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. Special Olympics hosts 50,000 competitions a year – about 136 each day.
Paige Norton of British Columbia carves a turn in a speedskating event at Special Olympics Canada’s 2012 Winter Games
Youth can be involved in the Special Olympics from the time they are eight years old but can also participate in the Young Athletes program for two through seven year olds. Athletes can also participate in the Special Olympics Unified Sports program which pairs athletes with and without disabilities to expose athletes to greater social stimulus, meaningful inclusion, and mentorship. The Special Olympics has also started Project Unify, an education -based movement that uses sports and education programs to inspire young people to build their school communities to bring about change to garner respect, dignity, and advocacy for people with intellectual disabilities. The Special Olympics also provides free health screenings and care to it’s athletes as the world’s largest public health organization for people with intellectual disabilities.
Let your Olympic spirit guide you to live peace by cheering on all kinds of athletes.
Peace Grl Out!