Eunice Kennedy Shriver, founder of Special Olympics, was a pioneer in the worldwide struggle for rights and acceptance for people with intellectual disabilities.
"I challenge each of you to further my mother's work and vision — reach out to a person with intellectual disabilities who every day is looking for hope, love and opportunity."
Timothy Shriver, Chairman, Special Olympics
In Her Own Words
In her swimming pool, Eunice learned about guts, courage, change and commitment, lessons provided by the intellectually challenged athletes she invited.
Special Olympics is a sports organization, first and foremost, and needs to remain that, Eunice says. "Sports is a great oracle for our friends."
In the days before Special Olympics, children with intellectual disabilities in the United States were systematically excluded, Eunice says. Today, things are better though challenges remain.
Eunice’s Ongoing Impact
Help bring Eunice’s vision of a more inclusive world.
EKS is an inspiration to all. Her life is an example for all activities. Every group either social, scientific, political must follow her ideals of inclusion, acceptance and tolerance. That would be a very good world!
I just spent the day at the bowling alley in Poteau, Oklahoma, with a group of children and adults that were having the time of their life. Thank you for my chance to do this and be a Special Olympics volunteer. You continue to touch so many lives.
I wish the world had more people who have loving and caring hearts like that of Eunice Kennedy every human being would live happily in this world. Eunice, thank you for your brilliant idea of thinking about others, we love you so much.
Eunice Kennedy Shriver believed that people with disabilities could play sports while others didn't even want to believe it. Thanks to her, people with disabilities have a chance to prove to the world that they could do it. Thank you!
As I listened to Eileen McNamara describe Mrs. Shriver chills arrived. Seems I was feeling a strong flashback to my catholic school days with the nuns. We were taught not to waste time. Sense of urgency. Drive, focus, discipline etc. Disciplines practiced and repeated - practiced and repeated....skills lived in faith - a receipt for a passion loved and lived! I am so pleased her life story is being told...too many woman are lost in history.
An amazing fearless woman, Mrs. Shriver. You had the vision and strength to bring awareness and leadership of a special needs population with no voice. I am proud to be a mother of a daughter who has intellectual disabilities.
Christine McCarthy Myles
Thank you Mrs. Shriver for all the things you taught us athletes these past years. We really miss you and we all love you very much.