Special Olympics Indiana is so much more than a sporting competition. This organization has a vision of an inclusive world for all driven by the power of sport, through which people with intellectual disabilities live active, healthy and fulfilling lives.
Founded in 1969, Special Olympics Indiana has more than 16,000 athletes, Unified partners, 10,000 coaches and volunteers statewide. Their mission is to provide year-round sports training and competition in Olympic-type sports for people with intellectual disabilities. Special Olympics offer participants the opportunity to develop physical fitness, courage, joy and friendship.
Special Olympics Indiana Summer Games
Special Olympics Indiana’s largest annual competition, the State Summer Games, is happening this month. The 53rd Annual Summer Games will take place June 9-11 on the campuses of Indiana State University and Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in Terre Haute, and will bring nearly 3,000 athletes together to participate in bocce, bowling, cycling, powerlifting, swimming, track and field, and volleyball.
This year’s Summer Games theme, “Everyday Champions,” was inspired by the documentary film, The Best We’ve Got: The Carl Erskine Story. Baseball pitcher Carl Erskine’s life was an example of one that was filled with victories both on and off the baseball field. In his community, he was a champion for acceptance, leadership and inclusion in ways that made a lasting impact. Through Erskine’s life, we see how much of a difference one person can truly have — and that it is possible for us all to make a difference.
According to the Special Olympics Indiana website, “At the core, Special Olympics is a sports organization that uses the power of sport as a catalyst for social change. Through sport, we challenge society. By highlighting how the needs of people with intellectual disabilities are not being met, we expose inequity and exclusion. By drawing attention to the gifts of people with intellectual disabilities, we break down misperceptions and tackle negative attitudes.”
Ways to Give Back and Get Involved
In addition to showing your support to the athletes, families and organization by attending the event, you can also become a volunteer or consider donating financially to Special Olympics Indiana. This nonprofit relies entirely on corporate, civic and individual donations. They do not receive any federal or state-appropriated funds.
To learn more about the important work Special Olympics Indiana is doing and how to get involved, visit soindiana.org. And if you have a future athlete interested in participating, be sure to check out the Special Olympics Indiana website for more information on how to sign up to compete.