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World Games Updates

Juanita Hermon of the 2009 World Winter Games Organizing Committee is up to her neck in just a few of the tens of thousands of scarves knitted for the Scarf Project.

Up to their Necks in Scarves

What started out as a simple project to provide a warm scarf to each of the more than 2,000 Special Olympics athletes participating in the 2009 Special Olympics World Winter Games in Boise, Idaho, has grown into an international phenomenon.

Instead of 2,000 scarves, the Special Olympics Games Organizing Committee has received more than 60,000 scarves – and hundreds pour in each day! It is a true testament to the overwhelming support behind the Special Olympics movement and its athletes.

Scarves – all hand-knitted or crocheted in the World Games' blue and white color scheme – have been received from all 50 U.S. states and from countries around the world, including Australia, Greece, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, Puerto Rico, Canada and Japan. Word of the project spread quickly. While traveling in Thailand, Special Olympics Accreditation Counsel Lee Gillespie-White introduced herself to a couple, mentioned where she worked, and learned that they had knitted scarves for the athletes.

Knitting and crocheting clubs, school kids, the elderly and even prisoners donated their time and talent to support the project and the upcoming Special Olympics World Games. Special Olympics athlete and International Board Member Loretta Claiborne has been teaching others how to knit with the “pay-it-forward” principle. She teaches people how to knit for free, but their first project must be a donation to help others. In this case her classes are knitting scarves for the World Games. Claiborne, who will be competing in figure skating in Boise, has knitted several scarves herself.