This week marks the 45th anniversary of the first Special Olympics competition and the beginning of a global movement that now includes more than 4 million adults and children with intellectual disabilities.
Illinois takes great pride in being the site of the first Games at Soldier Field (July 20, 1968) and home to some of the early visionaries in the movement, including Justice Anne Burke, who organized that inaugural event.
Special Olympics has transformed the lives of thousands of people in Illinois by giving athletes with intellectual disabilities a platform to discover and develop their talents and to gain recognition and respect. This is only the beginning.
Special Olympics Illinois has a 3-year plan to expand its offerings and to make the program available to more children and adults in communities throughout the state. Special Olympics is a proven winner in bringing people together in schools, in parks and recreation settings, and in the community at large.
Help us change more lives. Encourage a local school or community organization to start a program. Become an athlete, a volunteer or a donor. Please visit www.soill.org or call 800-394-0562. Together, we’ll tackle the next 45 years.
Note to readers: Dave Breen is president and CEO.