On Friday, May 2nd the Schwartz Center will hold its annual Special Olympics Day. This event is an exciting opportunity for children with disabilities to focus on their abilities, take pride in their achievements, and enjoy exercise and camaraderie. Families and members of the community are invited to attend to cheer on these very special athletes. The opening ceremony is 9:30 a.m. and closing ceremony—where all athletes will receive medals—will be at 1:30 p.m.
Special Olympics Day coincides with the United Way’s Annual Youth Day of caring. Each year, United Way invites students from area high schools to spend a day volunteering at a local nonprofit. Several students have selected to volunteer at the Center and will be on site to assist the Schwartz Center with activities during this special day.
The first Special Olympics were held in Chicago in 1968. Eunice Kennedy Shriver and her husband, Sargent Shriver, established the games out of concern that physically and mentally disabled children had very few opportunities for socialization and recreation. Since 1962, they had run a summer camp in their own yard for children with disabilities. In the Special Olympics’ inaugural address, Shriver explained that the games “prove a very fundamental fact—the fact that exceptional children can be exceptional athletes.”
Today, the Special Olympics are the largest sports organization for children and adults with physical or intellectual disabilities. Internationally, there are over 70,000 Special Olympics events each year. This is the 4th year that the Schwartz Center for Children will hold Special Olympics Day.
Photo album from last year’s event: facebook.com/media/set