May 29, 2018 | North America: Michigan

BFF

By Jordyn Hill

My BFF

I had the best time ever this school year. I have been waiting to be a part of Unified Champion Program and finally I made it to the 5th grade and I was selected to be a partner. I meet my friend(My Best friend Forever) we did everything together in school and out of school...View Story I had the best time ever this school year. I have been waiting to be a part of Unified Champion Program and finally I made it to the 5th grade and I was selected to be a partner. I meet my friend (My Best friend Forever) we did everything together in school and out of school. The best time we had was bowling her teacher took us and we both bowled strikes.

About Jordyn Hill: I'm in the 5th grade I go to A.L.Holmes School. I'm also, part of the school student council, National Honor Society , Girl Scouts and Pretty Brown Girls Club.
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May 24, 2018 | North America: Michigan

A Simple Ball

By Anne K.

I have a student who has ASD. He very much lives within his own world. At the beginning of the year when we would go to the gym and play, I watched him grab a basketball and be very content bouncing his basketball around the gym by himself.View Story I have a student who has ASD. He very much lives within his own world. At the beginning of the year when we would go to the gym and play, I watched him grab a basketball and be very content bouncing his basketball around the gym by himself. As the year progressed and the partners became more familiar with the athletes, I watched this boy being asked to bounce the ball with some of his peers. Then I watched him participate with a group of boys as they had a shoot around with the basketballs. It warmed my heart to see this individual who spent most of his day within himself, enjoying the company and friendship of others.

About Anne K.: I'm a special education teacher, who advises a peer to peer program.
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April 23, 2018 | North America: Michigan

R-word

By Nathan Stoddard

I think the use of the r-word is disrespectful and hurtful.View Story I think the use of the r-word is disrespectful and hurtful.

About Nathan Stoddard : I play volleyball for special Olympics Michigan area eight and play sports with special Olympics Michigan state. I also am a huge Detroit tigers fan.
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March 26, 2018 | North America: Michigan

Night to Shine

By Samantha McKenzie

At the local Night to Shine Prom, I was fortunate enough to volunteer to help make the night a success for all in attendance. While dancing with a participant, we both noticed a young woman ask a man to dance who just kept walking past her (maybe he didn’t hear her, didn’t want to dance anymore or justView Story At the local Night to Shine Prom, I was fortunate enough to volunteer to help make the night a success for all in attendance. While dancing with a participant, we both noticed a young woman ask a man to dance who just kept walking past her (maybe he didn’t hear her, didn’t want to dance anymore or just didn’t want to dance with her), she looked devastated! Well the guy I was dancing with swooped in to her rescue and truly it was his moment to shine! Her face lit up in a beautiful smile, and I was so impressed at his ability to assess the situation and take action! It is easier to stand on the sidelines, but when you do step outside your comfort zone, the change you (or anyone of any ability) can make in another person’s life is incredible!

About Samantha McKenzie:
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March 09, 2018 | North America: Michigan

The Heart of a Special Olympic Athlete

By Debra VanTol

A tragedy occurred for a Special Olympians family, a house fire totally destroyed their home. Awareness of the tragic event spread like wildfire within the Special Olympic community and into the area community. All hands were on deck to help the family. This awesome family walks the talk by helpinView Story A tragedy occurred for a Special Olympians family, a house fire totally destroyed their home. Awareness of the tragic event spread like wildfire within the Special Olympics community and into the area community. All hands were on deck to help the family. This awesome family walks the talk by helping and coaching in the Special Olympics community and beyond. They are loved. Of course the event was heard by other Special Olympians also. Touched by the understanding of the loss coupled with a big heart for her friend, another Special Olympian realized that all Special Olympics medals and ribbons were lost in the fire. Upon return to school, an envelope was given to the fire struck athlete by her friend. Carefully placed with a note of sympathy was a Special Olympics Blue Ribbon. Special Olympics builds friendships in a very special way.

About Debra VanTol: Special Olympics has been a part of my life for the last 9 years. A late in life career change to a Special Education teacher brought me to the area Special Olympics community. This special community is awesome! Athletes, coaches, parents and care givers alike work together, sharing a common bond, helping the disabled become the best they can be. In the beginning, support for cycling, swimming, and cross country skiing teams was given in the way of a support coach. Soon after it developed into lead coach. Often people express the great amount of skill and understanding it takes to work with this population. The return comment is, "It is very easy and rewarding to work with Special Olympians. I get more than they give...and they give a lot!"
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March 09, 2018 | North America: Michigan

Spread the Word Campaign at RHS

By Kim Sclafani

Our Banner with hundreds of signatures!

Our Peer to Peer Support program at Roosevelt High School in Wyandotte, MI hosted a Spread the Word this past week. We made and sold t-shirts, had an enormous banner for everyone to sign/pledge to end the R-word, and passed out stickers to everyone that took the pledge. It was AMAZING! The entire scView Story Our Peer to Peer Support program at Roosevelt High School in Wyandotte, MI hosted a Spread the Word this past week. We made and sold t-shirts, had an enormous banner for everyone to sign/pledge to end the R-word, and passed out stickers to everyone that took the pledge. It was AMAZING! The entire school came together to support our special education students and show their love for them. It was a very exciting and proud day that I was happy to lead!!

About Kim Sclafani: I am a special education teacher in Wyandotte, MI. I teach cognitively impaired students. I also started a Peer to Peer Mentoring class to educate high school seniors about disabilities.
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March 09, 2018 | North America: Michigan

Michigan Legislators take the Polar Plunge in Lansing

By Aaron Mills

Michigan Lt. Governor Brian Calley takes the Polar Plunge on March 1, 2018.

Michigan Legislators, along with Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley, plunged into an icy pool in front of the Capitol steps in Lansing on Thursday, March 1 as part of the seventh annual Michigan Law Enforcement Legislative Polar Plunge. This one of a kind event at the Capitol provided plenty of funView Story Michigan Legislators, along with Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley, plunged into an icy pool in front of the Capitol steps in Lansing on Thursday, March 1 as part of the seventh annual Michigan Law Enforcement Legislative Polar Plunge. This one of a kind event at the Capitol provided plenty of funny moments and great photo and video opportunities for spectators and plungers alike, while helping raise funds and awareness for Special Olympics Michigan (SOMI) athletes in the process. The Legislative Polar Plunge raised more than $30,000 and has brought in $200,000 for SOMI athletes over the last seven years.

About Aaron Mills: Aaron Mills is the Sr. Marketing and Communications Director for Special Olympics Michigan.
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March 09, 2018 | North America: Michigan

SOMI athlete Jim Bernard honored with prestigious 2018 Rick VanderSloot Winter Sports Award

By Rachel Pardun

SOMI athlete Jim Bernard recites the Special Olympics Athlete Oath at the 2018 State Winter Games.

After 44 years of competing and participating in various Special Olympics Michigan events, Midland County athlete Jim Bernard was awarded the 2018 Rick VanderSloot Winter Sports Award during the Special Olympics Winter Games Opening Ceremonies at Grand Traverse Resort and Spa in...View Story After 44 years of competing and participating in various Special Olympics Michigan events, Midland County athlete Jim Bernard was awarded the 2018 Rick VanderSloot Winter Sports Award during the Special Olympics Winter Games Opening Ceremonies at Grand Traverse Resort and Spa in Acme on Wednesday, January 31.Jim maintains a "can-do" attitude and a "never-quit" philosophy by training diligently in many sports, which include: cross-country skiing, aquatics, basketball, Unified golf, soccer, bowling, athletics and walking, with cross-country skiing being his favorite sport to compete in.Jim joined Special Olympics Michigan in 1973 at 12 years old. With Jim being a veteran athlete, his advice to his fellow athletes is to, "just try hard and have a good time.""Jim is a true sportsman. He knows that winning is not everything - either in competition or life," said Mary Adams, Director of Area 30, "Jim does not give up easily and truly feels that nothing is impossible if he tries."

About Rachel Pardun: Rachel Pardun is a Marketing and Communications intern with Special Olympics Michigan.
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February 21, 2018 | North America: Michigan

Special Olympics Michigan President & CEO Lois Arnold Announces Retirement

By Aaron Mills

Special Olympics Michigan President & CEO Lois Arnold

Special Olympics Michigan President and CEO Lois Arnold has announced her retirement effective August 1, 2018. Lois Arnold first got involved with SOMI 40 years ago as a volunteer while attending Northern Michigan University. She received a Bachelor of Science in Education degree at NMU as a doubView Story Special Olympics Michigan President and CEO Lois Arnold has announced her retirement effective August 1, 2018. Lois Arnold first got involved with SOMI 40 years ago as a volunteer while attending Northern Michigan University. She received a Bachelor of Science in Education degree at NMU as a double-major in Health and Physical Education, later receiving a Master of Arts degree at Central Michigan University. In 1980, she joined Special Olympics Michigan's staff in Mt. Pleasant holding the position of Sports Coordinator. Then in November 1990, she was named Special Olympics Michigan's President and CEO, a position she has held for the past 27 years. "Choosing to retire was a very difficult decision to make, but I feel that now is the right time to step aside," said Arnold. "I'm honored to have been a part of the Special Olympics movement for the past 40 years and am excited to see where the organization is headed next."

About Aaron Mills: Aaron Mills is the Sr. Marketing and Communications Director at Special Olympics Michigan.
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January 19, 2018 | North America: Michigan

Drew Stanton’s High 5ive Foundation donates $17,000 to Special Olympics Michigan

By Aaron Mills

Kristin & Drew Stanton with Special Olympics Michigan athletes.

Drew Stanton’s High 5ive Foundation is helping Special Olympics Michigan athletes achieve their dreams by donating $17,000 to help cover equipment, training and competition costs this winter.View Story Drew Stanton’s High 5ive Foundation is helping Special Olympics Michigan athletes achieve their dreams by donating $17,000 to help cover equipment, training, and competition costs this winter.After hearing that the Farmington ski team was in need of funds in order to compete this year, the former Michigan State standout and current NFL quarterback’s foundation stepped up to help by donating $3,000 to the team to cover equipment and training costs.Local Special Olympics programs in Area 8 (Ingham and Eaton Counties) and Area 28 (Clinton County) will also receive $2,000 each for equipment and uniform expenses. The remaining $10,000 will benefit athletes from all across Michigan with the funds going to help support the 2018 Special Olympics Michigan State Winter Games that take place January 30 through February 2 in the greater Traverse City area.Drew Stanton and his wife Kristin have financially supported Special Olympics Michigan since 2008, both locally and at the state level.

About Aaron Mills: Aaron Mills is the Sr. Marketing and Communications Director at Special Olympics Michigan.
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December 01, 2017 | North America: Michigan

Taking a Friend with Autism to Prom

By Kendra Nora

Since I can remember I have had a friend with autism who I hold dear to my heart. We grew up as good friends. I never saw him as any different but of course many people did. I knew that his social life had to be hard. Junior year of high school he asked me to attend prom with him and I was overjoyedView Story Since I can remember I have had a friend with autism who I hold dear to my heart. We grew up as good friends. I never saw him as any different but of course many people did. I knew that his social life had to be hard. Junior year of high school he asked me to attend prom with him and I was overjoyed. I took him to homecoming and prom that year. Not because I felt sorry for him but because he holds a special place in my heart and I wanted him to see how loved he truly is and to give him something special that he can always reflect on. He is an inspiration to me everyday and I wanted to thank him for that by taking him to prom. He ended up winning prom king and that was the icing to the cake! He brings up winning prom king all of the time now. It was beautiful. It angers me to see people treat him different.

About Kendra Nora: Daughter of a special education teacher and friend of person with autism.
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November 06, 2017 | North America: Michigan

Forest Hills Eastern High School Receives National Banner Recognition

By Brad Lake

Forest Hills Eastern Teacher Chris Thomas (left) with Special Olympics Michigan Sr. Director of Program Leadership, Dan Ekonen (right)

Forest Hills Eastern High School has been selected as the first school in Michigan to be a Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools National Banner program. "It's overwhelming," said Chris Thomas, a Forest Hills Eastern teacher. "To be the first one to be recognized is really special." A SpeView Story Forest Hills Eastern High School has been selected as the first school in Michigan to be a Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools National Banner program."It's overwhelming," said Chris Thomas, a Forest Hills Eastern teacher. "To be the first one to be recognized is really special." A Special Olympics Unified Champion School exhibits a commitment to an inclusive school climate that promotes a sense of collaboration, engagement and respect for all members of the student body and staff. Standards for determining a National Banner Unified Champion School are based upon the three over-arching components that include Special Olympics Unified Sports where students with and without intellectual disabilities practice and compete together, Inclusive Youth Leadership and Whole-School Engagements."I couldn't do it without the students,” said Chris Thomas. "We're getting recognized as a Unified Champion School because we have so many students who come out and help."

About Brad Lake: Brad Lake is a marketing and communications intern at Special Olympics Michigan.
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November 06, 2017 | North America: Michigan

Michigan beats MSU in Unified Rivalry Series Matchup

By Brad Lake

Michigan captures the 2017 Special Olympics Unified Rivalry Series trophy, 26-20 against Michigan State.

It was a tale of two halves in Ann Arbor when Unified teams representing Michigan State University and University of Michigan clashed for the Third Annual Unified Rivalry Series flag football match-up.View Story It was a tale of two halves in Ann Arbor when Unified teams representing Michigan State University and University of Michigan clashed for the Third Annual Unified Rivalry Series flag football match-up. The Spartans took a lead into halftime after a defense-oriented first half, but it was the Wolverines that came out victorious after an explosive second half from their offense. The matchup replicated a classic Big Ten matchup with both teams emphasizing the run game and strong defense. Both teams rushed for over one hundred yards and had touchdowns on the ground. The game looked like it could come down to a final possession for the Spartans, but the Wolverines were able to control the ball for the final four minutes of the game on offense and deny Sparty a chance to tie the game up. The final score of the rainy matchup was 26-20, favoring the Michigan Wolverines. Wolverines leads the all-time series against MSU in the Unified Rivalry Series 2-1.

About Brad Lake: Brad Lake is a marketing and communications intern with Special Olympics Michigan.
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September 20, 2017 | North America: Michigan

SOMI athlete runs Mackinac Bridge with LETR members

By Aaron Mills

From Left to Right: Officer Jeremy Walleman of the Sterling Heights Police Department, Special Olympics Michigan athlete Julian Borst of Kalamazoo, Sergeant Mark Bunting of the Bellamy Creek Correctional Facility in Ionia and Trooper Jim Yeager of the Michigan State Police (Lakeview Post)

Law Enforcement members spent the week of September 11 running across the state as part of a 750-mile relay known as "Central Route", raising money and awareness for the athletes of Special Olympics Michigan. On Wednesday, September 13, one of those athletes, 20-year-old Julian Borst from KalamazooView Story Law Enforcement members spent the week of September 11 running across the state as part of a 750-mile relay known as "Central Route", raising money and awareness for the athletes of Special Olympics Michigan. On Wednesday, September 13, one of those athletes, 20-year-old Julian Borst from Kalamazoo joined Officer Jeremy Walleman of the Sterling Heights Police Department, Trooper Jim Yeager of the Michigan State Police (Lakeview Post), and Sergeant Mark Bunting of the Bellamy Creek Correctional Facility in Ionia in taking the relay across the Mackinac Bridge from St. Ignace to the lower peninsula. The relay ended on Belle Isle near Detroit on Friday, September 15. Borst is an avid runner, training five to 11 miles per day. He's also one of 56 Special Olympics athletes who will represent Michigan at the 2018 Special Olympics USA Games in Seattle next July.

About Aaron Mills: Aaron Mills is the Sr. Marketing and Communications Director for Special Olympics Michigan.
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August 11, 2017 | North America: Michigan

Dalvin Keller awarded honorary ESPY

By Mitchell Hatty

Dalvin Keller, a Special Olympics Michigan athlete from Flint, and seven other Special Olympics athletes were on stage at the 25th annual ESPY Awards show on July 12 in Los Angeles.View Story The ESPY Awards are the pinnacle of sports accomplishment and recognition. Dalvin Keller, a Special Olympics Michigan athlete from Flint, and seven other Special Olympics athletes were on stage at the 25th annual ESPY Awards show on July 12 in Los Angeles, assisting in the acceptance of the Arthur Ashe Courage Award in honor of the late Eunice Kennedy Shriver, the founder of Special Olympics."It was pretty fun, I had a good time," Dalvin said. "Celebrities, movie stars, all stars; I met them all."Dalvin also received his own honorary ESPY for his courage and commitment through sports as his team won gold in the 2015 Special Olympics World Games in volleyball. Dalvin had a hard time fitting in throughout his childhood. Getting picked on while growing up and going through hard struggles; he never expected something like this to happen from playing sports."It felt good to me, at least I accomplished something," Dalvin said. The Arthur Ashe Courage Award is given to those whose actions go above and beyond sports to the benefit of others. Eunice Kennedy Shriver dedicated her life to finding equality through sport for all people. The award was accepted by her son and Special Olympics Chairman Timothy Shriver.Dalvin was on stage with Michelle Obama during this award acceptance; he met many celebrities and some of his favorite sports icons.

About Mitchell Hatty: Mitchell Hatty is a Marketing and Communications intern with Special Olympics Michigan.
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August 11, 2017 | North America: Michigan

Retired teacher in Michigan has seen the benefits of Special Olympics firsthand

By Trevor Metz

Special Olympics Michigan volleyball coach Connie Shelton.

Volunteers and coaches for Special Olympics Michigan are the oil in the machine for making the dream work.View Story Teamwork makes the dream work. Volunteers and coaches for Special Olympics Michigan are the oil in the machine for making the dream work. Connie Shelton, a volleyball coach with Area 20 (Washtenaw County), has been involved with Special Olympics Michigan for more than 30 years. Over time, Connie has seen the State Summer Games blossom into the spectacle it is today."The whole event has become larger, events are coordinated well with lots of variety," said Connie.The Ypsilanti resident has seen firsthand how the State Summer Games have a way to change a person's outlook on life.The coach sees her athletes gain life skills that follow them past the fun-filled weekend. Leaving an impression on them that they are capable of doing anything they put their mind to.Connie, a retired schoolteacher at Ypsilanti Area Public Schools, implemented lessons learned from Special Olympics Michigan into her curriculum. This helps make students with intellectual disabilities feel more included in the classroom.

About Trevor Metz: Trevor Metz is a Marketing and Communications intern with Special Olympics Michigan.
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August 11, 2017 | North America: Michigan

Seeing through on Dr. Phil's vision

By Trevor Metz

Dr. Phil Irion (left) with Special Olympics Michigan President and CEO Lois Arnold (right).

Every athlete wants to be at their peak performance. However, an athlete can't perform their best when they can't see that ball on the field.View Story Every athlete wants to be at their peak performance. However, an athlete can't perform their best when they can't see that ball on the field. The Healthy Athletes® Village at the Special Olympics Michigan State Summer Games aim to help athletes achieve the goal of performing their best.Dr. Phil Irion first came to Special Olympics Michigan after seeing the Healthy Athletes program at the 1999 Special Olympics World Games. Here, Dr. Phil saw hundreds of athletes from around the globe receive eye testing and glasses. For some athletes, this was the first vision care they had ever received. Irion wanted to implement the program in Michigan so athletes could continue to perform their best.Although the idea sounded wonderful, the lacked funding for the program and volunteers was halting any progress. Dr. Phil assured the staff at Special Olympics Michigan that would all be taken care of. Fast forward 17 years later, and the Healthy Athlete Program has become a staple fold for Special Olympics Michigan and its six state events.

About Trevor Metz: Trevor Metz is a Marketing and Communications intern with Special Olympics Michigan.
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July 10, 2017 | North America: Michigan

Dalvin Keller

By Special Olympics Staff

“If it wasn’t for Special Olympics, I would be dead,” says Dalvin Keller.View Story “If it wasn’t for Special Olympics, I would be dead,” says Dalvin Keller. Dalvin and many of his teammates live in a crime-ridden part of Flint, Michigan and volleyball serves as a positive outlet for them. Special Olympics allowed Dalvin to find success on the court, make friends and see a life beyond the danger of his neighborhood. His mother is extremely proud of him and how far he has come.

About Special Olympics Staff: Special Olympics is a global movement that unleashes the human spirit through the transformative power and joy of sports, every day around the world. We empower people with intellectual disabilities to become accepted and valued members of their communities, which leads to a more respectful and inclusive society for all.
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June 19, 2017 | North America: District of Columbia

Unified Champion Schools to play big part at Schools to Watch® Conference

By Leigha Bannon

13th Annual Schools to Watch® Conference

Three Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools who have met these standards are presenting at the Schools to Watch Conference.View Story Through the Schools to Watch® initiative, the National Forum for Middle Grades Reform identifies schools across the United States that are well on their way to meeting the Forum’s criteria for high performance. Forum members believe that three things are true of high-performing middle-grades schools:They are academically excellentThey are developmentally responsiveThey are socially equitable Three Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools who have met these standards are presenting at the Schools to Watch Conference in Arlington, Virginia, USA. Other Unified Champion Schools will attend. David DeSanctis, a young man with Down syndrome and an actor in the film "Where Hope Grows," will give the keynote presentation. We are proud of all of our Unified Champion Schools. We want to shout to the three who met the National Forum's standards and were asked to present their amazing work:Palmetto Middle School (SC)Baldwin Street Middle (MI)Clague Middle School (MI)

About Leigha Bannon: Unified Champion Schools Resources & Communications Manager
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June 12, 2017 | North America: Michigan

Kayla Cornell is the 2017 SpartanNash Healthy Athlete of the Year

By Katia Koerner

Kayla Cornell, 2017 SpartanNash Healthy Athlete of the Year.

Kayla Cornell from Comstock Park, Mich. was named the "2017 SpartanNash Healthy Athlete of the Year" on Thursday, June 1.View Story Kayla Cornell from Comstock Park, Mich. was named the "2017 SpartanNash Healthy Athlete of the Year" on Thursday, June 1. A crowd of more than 6,000 people at Kelly/Shorts Stadium on the campus of Central Michigan University in Mount Pleasant were in attendance. The announcement was made during the Opening Ceremony for the 2017 Special Olympics Michigan State Summer Games presented by SpartanNash. Kayla has been competing with Special Olympics Michigan for 15 years. Her dedication, determination and achievements made her a prime candidate for this award. Whether it was motivating her friends to go to the gym or just working on accomplishing her own goals; she was committed to changing her life. Her commitment has helped her live a healthier life, become a great motivator to others and find her passion. "You just have to have the dedication for it," said Kayla, "this is just amazing."

About Katia Koerner: Katia Koerner is a former marketing and communications department intern with Special Olympics Michigan.
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March 06, 2017 | SOI General: Headquarters

Nick: Believe in Yourself

By Kate McKenna

Nick Hilton's mother has always encouraged him to believe in himself

Nick was picked as an alternate for the 2017 Games, but would not stop believing that, somehow, he'd make the final team.View Story Nick was picked as an alternate for the 2017 Games, but would not stop believing that, somehow, he'd make the final team. He's a student at the Beekman Center in Lansing, Mich., which serves students with intellectual and emotional impairments, also providing life skills and transition activities.  At 24, Nick is on track to receive a certificate of completion in 2018. This would be a huge accomplishment, not only because of what it will mean to him, but because of what it will mean to his mother. She works the overnight shift as a hospital custodian. They don’t see each other much because when his mother comes home from work, Nick has left for school. Then came the news that Nick had made the final USA snowshoeing team! The first thing he needed was a passport, but Nick wasn’t able to show proof of residency. They finally found a shutoff notice from the cable company. That was good enough. Nick is counting his blessings for this once-in-a-lifetime chance to shine on the world stage.

About Kate McKenna: Editorial & Multimedia Director, Special Olympics
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March 03, 2017 | North America: Michigan

Special Olympics Row Clinic Says "U Can Row 2"

By Symantha Misale

In a room full of rowing machines, Special Olympics Michigan athletes and volunteers cheer each other on as they work to complete the 500-meter rowing challenge.View Story In a room full of rowing machines, Special Olympics Michigan athletes and volunteers cheer each other on as they work to complete the 500-meter rowing challenge. In the center of all of the action is Terry Smythe, Co-Owner of 'U Can Row 2' of Houghton, Michigan. Previously a medical fitness director at Aspirus Keweenaw Hospital, her job included community outreach. With this, she noticed that many of the cognitively impaired students were in need of a fitness outlet to help maintain their health. With some luck, Smythe received a local community grant to start a program for students to come to a fitness center and be physically active. Initially, the program didn't include rowing, however that did not stop the students' determination to learn about the machine. Special Olympics Michigan currently does fundraising with CrossFit through an event called the Row Raisers, which Smythe finds extremely valuable for athletes.

About Symantha Misale: Symantha Misale is a marketing and communications intern with Special Olympics Michigan.
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March 03, 2017 | North America: Michigan

Fit Feet Helps Athletes Take a Step in the Right Direction

By Symantha Misale

Foot deformities, skin disorders, nail conditions, eczema, ill-fitting shoes and other concerns are what the clinicians at Special Olympics Michigan Fit Feet are concerned with.View Story Foot deformities, skin disorders, nail conditions, eczema, ill-fitting shoes and other concerns are what the clinicians at Special Olympics Michigan Fit Feet are concerned with. "Are you ticklish?" Bill Thompson, a Great Lakes Bay Medical screener for Special Olympics Michigan asks an athlete as she laughs and shakes her head. Thompson begins to examine the athlete's feet, and occasionally makes notes for himself. He explains that they are there to screen the athletes and make further recommendations to a podiatrist in the athlete's hometown. For seven years, Thompson has been screening with Special Olympics Michigan after graduating from Central Michigan University and owning four running specialty stores, including one in Mt. Pleasant called 'Runners'.

About Symantha Misale: Symantha Misale is a marketing and communications intern at Special Olympics Michigan.
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February 27, 2017 | North America: Michigan

Stop the TARD

By Kathi

I have been adamant in trying to get FB posters with differing political views to stop using the word.View Story I have been adamant in trying to get FB posters with differing political views to stop using the word. This has been the first New Years resolution I have kept. This is my post. Please stop the use of "TARD" in any form. TARD... as in libtard or any other reference is a thinly veiled slang reference to retard(ed)...an UNACCEPTABLE term for persons with differing cognitive abilities... As an adult, as an educator, as a human being... It should not be an acceptable term no matter your political view... And therefore should not be condoned by sharing, liking, or re tweeting the term Have your opinions as you will but don't bring others down to that level! Words are chosen. Persons with disabilities do not choose the challenges placed in front of them. We do not have to add to them. I have had positive responses and some responses make me sad for humankind.

About Kathi : I am a Speech Language Pathologist with over 30 years experience in the public schools. I have worked primarily with students with special needs and in early intervention.
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February 10, 2017 | North America: Michigan

Jonah Bylsma Honored by Special Olympics Michigan

By Angela Martin

Jonah Bylsma accepts the 2017 Timothy Krause Bunbury Award at the State Winter Games.

Special Olympics Michigan athlete Jonah Bylsma was awarded the Timothy Krause Bunbury Award at the 2017 State Winter Games.View Story Special Olympics Michigan athlete Jonah Bylsma, 22, from Hudsonville, Michigan was awarded the Timothy Krause Bunbury Award at the 2017 State Winter Games on Wednesday, February 1. "It feels phenomenal," said Jonah, "after all these years partaking in Special Olympics, it just feels wonderful." This award is given annually to an alpine skiing during the State Winter Games presented by Wertz Warriors in memory of Special Olympics Athlete Timothy Krause Bunbury. Jonah has been involved with SOMI for over a decade. Whether he is competing in sports or singing in choir Jonah is recognized among fellow athletes for his infectious smile and positive attitude. Those around him say he is the "ultimate smile machine". "If you look up 'sportsmanship' in the dictionary, you would probably find Jonah's picture there," said Mark Dalman, Area 12 Area Director.

About Angela Martin: Angela Martin is a Marketing & Communications intern with Special Olympics Michigan.
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February 10, 2017 | North America: Michigan

Elizabeth Hall Honored with 2017's Prestigious Rick VanderSloot Winter Sports Award

By Symantha Misale

Elizabeth Hall accepts the 2017 Rick VanderSloot Winter Sports Award at the State Winter Games.

After 15 years of competing and participating in various Special Olympics Michigan events, Oakland County athlete Elizabeth Hall was awarded the 2017 Rick VanderSloot Winter Sports Award.View Story After 15 years of competing and participating in various Special Olympics Michigan events, Oakland County athlete Elizabeth Hall was awarded the 2017 Rick VanderSloot Winter Sports Award during the Special Olympics Winter Games Opening Ceremonies at Grand Traverse Resort and Spa in Acme on Wednesday, February 1. Elizabeth is currently the Oakland County Athlete Representative as well as holding other various positions, which include the collection and distribution of athletic uniforms for the many sports of the Huron Valley area. Her coaches describe her as an inspiration to all, with a positive attitude and a willingness to help others improve their skills and build confidence in themselves. "Elizabeth is a wonderful young woman who has always been a delight to coach," said Darlene Rutkowski, Area 15 Assistant Area Director, "She is enthusiastic about our Special Olympics programs." "I feel very blessed," said Elizabeth about the award, "being here, it's made me work hard."

About Symantha Misale: Symantha Misale is a Marketing & Communications intern with Special Olympics Michigan.
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February 06, 2017 | North America: Michigan

BULLIED

By Jacob Lindberg

I was called retarded and worse several times throughout high school, and I feel mentally damaged by it. Point is, just don't use the r- or even the n-word ever. It can really affect someone's life for the worse.View Story I was called retarded and worse several times throughout high school, and I feel mentally damaged by it. Point is, just don't use the r- or even the n-word ever. It can really affect someone's life for the worse.

About Jacob Lindberg: I was majorly bullied in high school. I feel like my life was really affected in a terrible way from this.
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January 27, 2017 | North America: Michigan

Are there any statistics on health care coverage for athletes?

By Nancy Joseph Recknagel

Special Olympics has conducted extensive research on health insurance with Gallup. But statistics don’t tell the entire story.View Story Special Olympics has conducted extensive research on health insurance with Gallup. Results show a large majority of adults with intellectual disabilities (94%) have health insurance. But statistics don’t tell the entire story. Having health insurance doesn’t mean having access to health care. Most of those insured (83%) are being provided government-subsidized insurance, which can be extremely limited. We have heard countless stories of athletes who are from countries that have universal health care but still cannot get care. We receive stories of athletes who are theoretically covered by insurance but can’t find a doctor who will see them, understands their needs, or is trained to care for them. To be a great athlete, you need to be a healthy athlete. For millions of people with intellectual disabilities (ID), this is a major challenge. Special Olympics works with global partners, governments and policy-making organizations to break down the barriers to inclusive health for people with intellectual disabilities. Special Olympics Healthy Athletes offers free health exams and health education to athletes, and training to health professionals. Special Olympics Healthy Communities are Special Olympics Programs recognized for their efforts in creating year-round access to quality health care. Through partnerships, fitness and wellness programs, Special Olympics is paving the way for inclusive health around the world.

About Nancy Joseph Recknagel:
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November 04, 2016 | SOI General: Headquarters

Andre Drummond is the Newest Special Olympics Ambassador

By Christy Weir

Andre Drummond at Fisher Magnet Upper Academy's pep rally in Detroit on Thursday

Andre Drummond, center for the Detroit Pistons NBA basketball team, is the newest Special Olympics Ambassador.View Story Andre Drummond, center for the Detroit Pistons NBA basketball team, is the newest Special Olympics Ambassador. Special Olympics announced the news at Fisher Magnet Upper Academy in Detroit yesterday. The academy is a Special Olympics Michigan Unified Champions School. At a pep rally with 400 students cheering, Drummond took the stage. "From my first clinic my rookie year to now being a Special Olympics ambassador, I have seen the power of the organization to bring people together. I had so much fun interacting with the kids at the Unified School today, seeing them having so much fun playing basketball is something that is very fulfilling to me," Drummond said. He led a basketball clinic for 50 students in the Unified Champion Schools program, where students with and without intellectual disabilities are brought together through education and sports.

About Christy Weir: I am the Director of Global Media and Public Relations for Special Olympics.
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September 23, 2016 | North America: Michigan

My Adopted Son with Down Syndrome

By Pastor Frank

A couple of years ago, a little boy with Down syndrome came into my life. I fell in love with him from the start.View Story A couple of years ago, a little boy with Down syndrome came into my life. I fell in love with him from the start. We adopted him a year and half ago, after he'd been with us for a year. Yes, raising a boy with Down syndrome was a new experience, sometimes quite the challenge. But, we've loved him since he came into our lives. One day we were at a restaurant with him and his two brothers. While there we heard a woman near by talking about the "r-words" that worked at a local store. She kept using the word to her husband and in front of her own children! Every time she said it, it felt like a knife to the heart. My three boys sat there hearing every word. I later explained to them that we shouldn't be angry at her, some people just do not know any better. It is truly sad that some people do not stop to consider the effect their words have on others. My son is not the r-word. He is special- exactly the way God made him.

About Pastor Frank: I am the pastor of a church in Michigan. My wife and I adopted twin boys- one is autistic, the other has Down syndrome. It has been an adventure and they've changed our lives when they came to live with us.
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September 20, 2016 | North America: Michigan

-I am a normal person

By Hannah Kim

I will fight ableism. The R-word is out!View Story I cannot believe that I will be the 1st high school student with autism and CP to graduate from Haslett High School, and go on to MSU at the ages of 21-22 (that's because I will take 4 gap years). I cannot believe I will fight ableism. The R-word is out!

About Hannah Kim: -I am a Haslett High School student, I have PDD-NOS and CP and anxiety, but I will not allow being a minority to hold me back! Stop self-contained classrooms!
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July 27, 2016 | North America: Michigan

"What's the matter with him?"

By Alexia Weber

Some years ago my youngest daughter (age 4) was asked "what's the matter with him?" about her brother's best friend.View Story Some years ago my youngest daughter (age 4) was asked "what's the matter with him?" about her brother's best friend (age 6 before they were old enough to be Special Olympics athletes) by a pre-teen aged boy. The young man in question has CP and is in a wheelchair. He is non-verbal and non-ambulatory. My daughter has been around him since she was born. She looks him up and down, smiles and says in typical 4 year old fashion, "nothing." He wasn't crying or fussing so he was fine in her eyes. Older child tries to rephrase: "Why is he in the wheelchair?" Daughter doesn't miss a beat and responds with "because he isn't on the floor." Her innocence is what we all need to focus on. There was nothing wrong with her buddy, he was just fine to her. Just because someone may use a wheelchair doesn't mean anything is "wrong" Now I know what that boy was after - he was looking for something more specific he would at age 13 work with. Well don't ask a 4-year-old...

About Alexia Weber: I am part of area 27. I am a parent, coach, training clinician, volunteer, whatever this wonderful organization needs. SO has been the best thing for our family. Really helps my son shine and grow into the wonderful young man he now is (age 20).
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July 22, 2016 | North America: Michigan

"What's the matter with him?"

By Alexia Weber

Some years ago my youngest daughter (aged 4) was asked "what's the matter with him?" about her brother's best friendView Story Some years ago my youngest daughter (aged 4) was asked "what's the matter with him?" about her brother's best friend (aged 6, before they were old enough to be Special Olympics athletes) by a pre-teenage boy. The young man in question has CP and is in a wheelchair. He is non-verbal and non-ambulatory. My daughter has been around him since she was born. She looks him up and down, smiles and says in typical 4-year-old fashion, "nothing." He wasn't crying or fussing so he was fine in her eyes. Older child tries to rephrase: "Why is he in the wheelchair?" Daughter doesn't miss a beat and responds with "because he isn't on the floor." Her innocence is what we all need to focus on. There was nothing wrong with her buddy; he was just fine to her. Just because someone may use a wheelchair doesn't mean anything is "wrong." Now I know what that boy was after -- he was looking for something more specific he would at age 13 work with. Well, don't ask a 4 year old...

About Alexia Weber: I am a parent, coach, training clinician, volunteer, whatever this wonderful organization needs. Special Olympics has been the best thing for our family. Really helps my son shine and grow into the wonderful young man he now is (age 20).
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June 23, 2016 | North America: Michigan

Wexford Students Enjoy Hoopfest

By Cynthia Provo

For the second year in a row our Project Unify group has attended Hoopfest on MSU's campus.View Story For the second year in a row our Project Unify group has attended Hoopfest on MSU's campus. Students learned healthy tips and participated in various exercise/drill opportunities. Students with and without disabilities raced each other on obstacle courses, shot baskets,and bonded as classmates and friends. The Hoopfest staff blended learning with fun giving our students a field trip they will always remember.

About Cynthia Provo: I am the coordinating teacher of Wexford's Project Unify.
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June 23, 2016 | North America: Michigan

Respect Week Success

By Cynthia Provo

Our Youth Activation Committee just hosted Respect Week.View Story Our Youth Activation Committee just hosted Respect Week. They joined with our Junior Board (other student leaders) to plan activities such as signing the Respect Week pledge and hanging our "Respect Rs" in the hallway.Throughout the week these student leaders read ideas they had collected from all students about ways to show respect for others during morning announcements. Students whose ideas were read were awarded a small prize. All students received a Project Unify bracelet to commemorate Respect Week.

About Cynthia Provo: I am the coordinating teacher of Wexford's Project Unify.
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June 06, 2016 | North America: Michigan

The Spirit of the Games

By Mark DeNato

A truly inspiring young man, Big Al DeNato!

It is always so inspiring to attend the State Games. I witnessed one participant exemplify the spirit of the games in a special way.View Story It is always so inspiring to attend the State Games. I witnessed one participant exemplify the spirit of the games in a special way. My son, Alex DeNato, is a 34 year old Special Olympian with Downs Syndrome, a Knights of Columbus member and married to Alexis, also with Downs and a Summer Games participant. Alex won two gold medals and a bronze in swimming, but that isn't what made his participation special. In his first event as they went to medal stand the participant next to Alex was shivering and didn't have a towel. Alex, who hadn't dried off himself yet, handed his towel to the young man to dry off. Then after seeing his wife was dejected with a 5th place in her first event he gave her his gold medal to cheer her up. Moments earlier he had been proudly waving his medal in the air and posing for pictures with it. Later they would both win more medals and all was well as they returned home. I'm so proud of Alex and his gestures of compassion and caring. We say Alex is pure love!

About Mark DeNato: Mark DeNato, father of athlete Alex DeNato, from Jackson, MI (area 19).
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May 05, 2016 | North America: Michigan

Lansing Everett Teacher Named Special Olympics Michigan 2016 Project UNIFY Leadership Award Recipient

By By Aaron Mills

Amy Robinson (center) with Lansing Everett Project UNIFY students.

Lansing Everett teacher Amy Robinson has been named the 2016 Project UNIFY Leadership Award honoree by Special Olympics Michigan.View Story Lansing Everett teacher Amy Robinson has been named the 2016 Project UNIFY Leadership Award honoree by Special Olympics Michigan. The award is given annually to the person who best exemplifies leadership qualities inside the Project UNIFY program. Special Olympics Michigan staff members, Lansing Public Schools officials, and Project UNIFY students from Lansing Everett High School surprised Robinson with news of the award during school on Monday, May 2. "It's nice that it means as much to the kids and other people as it does to me," said Robinson. "I have seen so much positive change in our school and it's fun for me to see my deaf and hard of hearing students have friends in the hallway." Thanks to Amy's leadership, Everett High School has seen its Project UNIFY students make an impact locally, statewide, nationally and at the world level.

About By Aaron Mills: Aaron Mills is the Sr. Marketing and Communications Director for Special Olympics Michigan.
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April 19, 2016 | North America: Michigan

Robert Lives His Dream

By Peggy Malnight

I want you to hear this story of a man and athlete who beats the odds and lives his dream.View Story Robert is a Special Olympics athlete who's played three sports that are his favorites, softball, skiing and swimming. Skiing this year would be his best year . He was competing in a ski jumpsuit. Lots of people said he was interesting to watch. Lots of people shake his hand. He's been with Special Olympics 12 years. In softball, Robert has won two home runs derby trophy from regionals in Special Olympics . And he is an out of the park home run hitter. He likes his friends and playing with them. He had a strained rotator cuff playing in the game, but got right back up and continued. Swimming is his most favorite sport. In 2014 he got disqualified in the 50 butterfly with a one handed touch . Then in 2015, he returned and he came back to swim it and it takes a heart from decanted swimmer. That's why I want you to hear this story of a man and athlete who beats the odds and lives his dream. Robert has learned some athletes need a gold medal championship to make them stay to the top. But he doesn't need it. He's a champion with the gold medal or without.

About Peggy Malnight : Robert my son I have seen him grow into the man I never thought he be the sportsmanship learning how to understand the other athletes I love him so much.
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April 06, 2016 | North America: Michigan

After years of wearing children's shoes, athlete receives new shoes thanks to Fit Feet program

By Stephanie Ralls

Staci White smiles while waiting to be fitted for her new pair of shoes.

Staci "Bulldog" White, a Special Olympics Michigan athlete loves to play basketball just as much as she loves getting new shoes. But unfortunately for Staci, finding shoes that are comfortable and fit her right is hard.View Story Staci "Bulldog" White, a Special Olympics Michigan athlete from Area 11 loves to play basketball just as much as she loves getting new shoes. But unfortunately for Staci, shoes that are comfortable and fit her right are hard to find. At age 41, Staci wears a children's size shoe. She is often found showing off her favorite pair of light-up Stride Rites with Disney's Olaf on them. Staci has been playing basketball for Special Olympics for 20 years. She currently plays for one of the few all-female teams. According to Staci "It's so cool having all girls and beating the boys team." Staci and her team, the Jaguars, competed at this years State Basketball Finals held at Calvin College in Grand Rapids. While at the event Staci was able to get fitted for a pair of shoes that fit her thanks to the Fit Feet program, which was sponsored by Wolverine Worldwide. These shoes will help Staci continue to play the game she loves while helping keep her steps happy and healthy.

About Stephanie Ralls: Stephanie Ralls is a Marketing and Communications intern at Special Olympics Michigan.
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April 06, 2016 | North America: Michigan

Equality at its best

By Izabella Hunt

The R word...A lot of people don’t think before they speak, they just say whatever they are thinking. Which honestly a lot of the times is mean and hurtful things.View Story The R word...A lot of people don’t think before they speak, they just say whatever they are thinking. Which honestly a lot of the times is mean and hurtful things. The saying “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me” Is a very false saying. Emotional pain is just as bad as physical pain. What you say on a daily basis counts. Everyone deserves equality and friends. No one is perfect, we’re all a little weird, and we all have our flaws...So why can’t we just accept them. Accept everyone for who they are. We’re all beautiful in one way or another, we all are compassionate we all long for the same thing in life. And that is happiness. So why can’t we all pitch in and help deliver it?

About Izabella Hunt: My school has a links program, which is a program specifically for autistic children. I love it <3 Every day i get to be surrounded by amazing people.. and enjoy helping them. (: #STOPTHERWORD
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April 06, 2016 | North America: Michigan

The Boy Behind Closed Doors

By Isabella J.

I am 17, and my 15-year-old brother has Asperger's syndrome. He has been bullied his entire life.View Story People use the "R" word so lightly. They throw it around without thinking of the harm it does. I am 17, and my 15-year-old brother has Asperger's syndrome. He has been bullied his entire life. People don't get that he's different, but he is so funny and a great person! They don't understand what he struggles with daily. He deals with endless panic attacks and as he got older, he started locking himself in his room due to these people who don't understand when to stop. A 15 year old should be out kicking a ball, not in their room afraid of the world. Please spread the word to end the "R" word!

About Isabella J.: I am a 17 year old senior who is also in the LINKS program. I deal with ASD students and help them strive to do their best! I am also looking to go to MSU to be a veterinarian.
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March 23, 2016 | North America: Michigan

Walled Lake Teams Win Silver, Gold

By Laura Smith

Walled lake girls waiting to compete: Veronica, Callie and Emma

Both teams from the Walled Lake School District, the Miracles and the Mustangs, came home with medalsView Story Both teams from the Walled Lake School District, the Miracles and the Mustangs, came home with medals on Saturday. The Miracles won the gold medal in the final seconds of the game, eking out their win by a single point. The groups supported each, played hard and enjoyed the team spirit. Great job and a special thanks to our commander in chief, Coach Sandy Jenkins, for making our team strong and involved!

About Laura Smith: My 11-year-old daughter Emma means the world to both her dad and I. She has developed self esteem, confidence and understanding of life's relationships due to her participation in Special Olympics. We are blessed
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March 16, 2016 | North America: Michigan

First Annual Young Athletes Expo Held in Detroit

By Anne Rogers

Young Athletes from Detroit show off their medals.

Special Olympics Michigan held the first annual Young Athletes Expo with Detroit Public Schools, thanks to a generous grant awarded by Toys R Us.View Story Special Olympics Michigan held the first annual Young Athletes Expo with Detroit Public Schools (DPS) on March 2, 2016. Thanks to the generous grant awarded by Toys R Us, we were able to host a wonderful event for 175 children that attend DPS. Nine schools attended the event at the Heilman Recreation Center in Detroit. The children were led through seven sport stations that included basketball, soccer, poly hockey, flag football, golf, bowling, and an obstacle course. 100 volunteers from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Sam's Club came out to run the event. Children left with a medal for their efforts and some snacks, crayons and a coloring book. Each school was given a parachute and beanbags to take back to their school for programming into their school day. It was a great day full of fun and laughter. The teachers and volunteers gave great feedback and are already asking about the event for next year.

About Anne Rogers: Anne Rogers is the Director of Unified School Initiatives at Special Olympics Michigan.
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March 07, 2016 | North America: Michigan

Working with Special Needs kids has changed my life!

By Amy Bostwick

This is something I take seriously. Working with kids with intellectual disabilities has opened my eyes more and more to how words can hurt.View Story This is something I take seriously. Working with kids with intellectual disabilities has opened my eyes more and more to how words can hurt. I can remember as a young girl we used the word "retarded" for a lot of things. Sometimes it was to refer to something, sometimes it was to refer to a person (even though I never remember saying it maliciously, it was just what we were "taught" represented certain conditions) and some times we used it joking with each other. It wasn't until I started working with a young man who had Down Syndrome that my eyes were opened to how it affects people. That young man touched my heart and changed my life in many ways. Even if you don't use it in a way you intend to be mean, the word sounds awful and to a person with intellectual disabilities, and those that care about those individuals, it is very offensive and hurtful. Many lawmakers have sponsored efforts to remove the word from our language because of its affect. Please take a moment and think about how the words we may have grown up using, and never thought too much about it, sound and how can we make a change to use more positive words. Thanks!!

About Amy Bostwick : I am a wife, a mother, a Sunday School teacher and a Parapro at our middle school. I love my life and every one of the kids I work with have my heart!
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March 06, 2016 | North America: Michigan

LINKS

By Lexie Felton

I thought as long as I'm nice it will all be find. But from this experience I realized first hand how simply "being nice" isn't enough.View Story I am a link at my tech center. I never thought that it would do me any good to do something like this. I thought as long as I'm nice it will all be find. But from this experience I realized first hand how simply "being nice" isn't enough. Links has taught me not only about special needs students, but about why they are the amazing people they are. I got to see how each one is perfect in their own way and that it is fantastic. I would have never changed how my links experience has turned out to be. I can't wait to make a change one by one in every person I meet and explain as to why the "R" is extremely offensive, not only to them but to me now as well.

About Lexie Felton:
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March 04, 2016 | North America: Michigan

To the Man Who Called Him A Retard: His Name Is Landon

By Taara Datta Donley

I wrote this story on behalf of my friend's son. A grown man called him the r-word.View Story I wrote this story on behalf of my friend's son. His name is Landon and he has autism. A grown man called him the r-word. His story was published on Scary Mommy today, in honor of the Spread The Word To End The Word campaign. Please feel free to check it out and use it for your site. Thank you!

About Taara Datta Donley: Taara Datta Donley is a freelance writer. Her work can be seen on Scary Mommy and Nugget Tales.
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March 04, 2016 | North America: Michigan

My buddy...Lil Richard

By Carrie Molero

Every day my son encounters the snickering and staring because of his movements and such.View Story Every day my son encounters the snickering and staring because of his movements and such. I have heard people say the word when describing him and even though it may seem he doesn't understand he does. I tell him on a daily basis how awesomely amazing he is, however that word cuts like a knife. Just because some don't talk doesn't mean they can't hear.

About Carrie Molero:
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February 26, 2016 | North America: Michigan

"Mom, am I retarded?"

By Megan M

I will remember this day clearly, as if it just occurred. My younger brother was about 10 at the time, and we were riding home from school with my mom.View Story I will remember this day clearly, as if it just occurred. My younger brother was about 10 at the time, and we were riding home from school with my mom. He was having a particular hard day, as the kids at school weren't being friendly to him. With apprehension in his voice, he looked at my mom and asked "Mom, am I retarded?" The sadness and rage I felt swelling in my throat as he asked this were nothing compared to the feeling of helplessness I had for my brother. How could these kids not see the strife they were putting my brother through? My brother knew he was different, he felt it in the way he saw his peers interact with each other, but not him... but on this day, a peer had labeled him.. and then he labeled himself as inferior. I've spent every day since then making sure my brother knows how special he is - and that he is capable of whatever greatness he chooses to pursue. (He's 26 now!) I will continue to make sure this word dies!

About Megan M: Proud big sister of the kindest person I've ever known, who just also happens to be a stellar Special Olympics Athlete!
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February 16, 2016 | North America: Michigan

Andrew Ausmus Named 2016 Timothy Krause Bunbury Award Winner

By Kim Sampson

Andrew Ausmus (right) accepts the 2016 Timothy Krause Bunbury Award from SOMI Board Chair Bob Chadwick II (left) at the State Winter Games.

Special Olympics Michigan athlete Andrew Ausmus from Monroe was honored with the 2016 Timothy Krause Bunbury award on February 3.View Story Special Olympics Michigan athlete Andrew Ausmus from Monroe was honored with the 2016 Timothy Krause Bunbury award on February 3. This award is presented annually at the State Winter Games in memory of Special Olympics athlete Timothy Krause. It is given to an alpine skiing athlete who has trained with enthusiasm and sense of humor, and who has proven to be 'brave in the attempt' according to the Special Olympics oath. Ausmus has been involved in Monroe County's Special Olympics program for over twenty years. He has a reputation among his coaches as a team player and a true sportsman. Ausmus is willing to step up as a leader on and off the slopes. He is a level III skier during the winter season and also competes in poly hockey and bowling. "I try to support my team, other athletes, and my coaches," said Ausmus. "It's important to have fun, be nice, and keep working hard."

About Kim Sampson: Kim Sampson is a marketing and communications intern with Special Olympics Michigan.
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February 16, 2016 | North America: Michigan

Alpine Skiing Cousins Compete in State Winter Games for Over 20 Years

By Stephanie Ralls

Alpine skiers and cousins Chris Hamilton and Keir Mallory have both been skiing at the Special Olympics Michigan State Winter Games for over 20 years.View Story Alpine skiers and cousins Chris Hamilton and Keir Mallory have both been skiing at the Special Olympics Michigan State Winter Games for over 20 years. The cousins are from Area 21 (Oceana, Newaygo, and Muskegon Counties) and they love their time on the slopes. When asked why they love Special Olympics, both men agreed that it's a blast to get to know people at the state events and they love to have fun competing. Chris said "It's not about winning the gold but being a good sportsman. We should always help each other and keep a smile on our face." The two cousins are part of the 164 athletes that Area 21 serves. Chris and Keir plan on continuing participating in Special Olympics events for years to come.

About Stephanie Ralls: Stephanie Ralls is a marketing and communications intern at Special Olympics Michigan.
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