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Teens and college students are the future leaders of Special Olympics.
It's the mission of Special Olympics to show the world the capabilities of people with intellectual disabilities.
We have over 4.5 million athletes of all ages with intellectual disabilities around the world.
Our celebrity supporters are Olympians, professional athletes, social leaders, and movie and music stars.
Eunice Kennedy Shriver was a pioneer in the struggle for the rights of people with intellectual disabilities.
Direction for our movement comes from leaders in government, entertainment, sports and business.
All adults and children with intellectual disabilities can become Special Olympics athletes. Here's how.
Get involved with Special Olympics in your neighborhood. Find the program nearest you.
Get results by sport and team for major Special Olympics competitions.
Explore how Special Olympics is creating a more inclusive, welcoming world for all.
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Newsletter: Sign up and get inspiring stories!
Make A Gift, Change A Life
By Amie Dugan
I'm a senior in high school and have volunteered with the special needs community since about 7th grade. It's hard being an advocate for this cause as a teen because there is of course judgement and the "why do you care?" question.
I was on a Skype group chat, I was asking who was who and they told me and one person called me stupid but the other called me retarded for not knowing who he was.
I have volunteered with people with special needs at my school for 3 years. I have not only grown to Learn about disabilities I have learned how to befriend people with disabilities. When I hear people use the R word it hurts.
This was my first year volunteering at the Special Olympics in Columbus, Ohio for the Summer Games I will say that that was my first of many years to come.
There was one conference that we hosted that changed my life completely. That conference was Special Olympics. Every time I talk about this I just get so excited because it was such an empowering experience.
One week we were doing this, at the square he let my hand go, balanced himself and put his foot on the ball. He looked up at me with the biggest grin!
I would recommend everyone to volunteer at any Special Olympics wherever is closer to you. It will open up your eyes, and you will realize how much people with disabilities are the same as us.
Douglas & Jannie Kenyon
I work at an ARC home and started a small basketball game for a few of the houses before I found out about special olympics in our area. I got a few of the guys from my house interested and one of the women just went to watch.
I work at an all special education school called Heartwood. I am going to school to teach special education. It has been about two years since I have used the r word.
I am 13 years old and in 1st grade, I had a kid in my class with Down syndrome and ever since I have been volunteering in the special education classes at my school...the r-word is horrible and to me it is considered a curse word
Every Friday, I get to play with a little boy, and I am not even going to define his disability, because after two years of hanging out with him, I look at him and I don't see a disability. I just see an awesome little boy.
I am a young Tunisian who chose to be a volunteer in Special Olympics because I see that this activity should be done.
I met this young man at a Valentines dance that John I.'s Student Government put together. While setting up this event, I felt really happy for the fact I made a difference.
So I used the r-word to display how childish my close friends were acting. A nearby little girl, she was five, stood up and walked over to me, with tears in her eyes she asked me to stop my use of this word, her best friend was handicapped, and also had a mental disability. I cried and told her how sorry I was.
For the past four years, The University of Findlay’s (Ohio) student organization STRIDE (Students Teaching Respect for Individuals with Disabilities Everyday) hosts a “Spread the Word to End the Word” event to encourage faculty, students, and staff to take the pledge to stop using the “r-word”.
As a student of recreational therapy, I traveled to Costa Rica to participate in a study-abroad program. While I never used the r-word directed at a person, I was still using it as a poor adjective choice.
Working in the public school system for 20 years and all of those years with Special Needs community, the "r" word is flat out unacceptable in any situation. People need to stop the labels and start interacting with each other as human beings with feelings and a heart.