Featured Grant Story: Special Olympics Texas, Inc.
What is Special Olympics Texas, Inc.?
The mission of Special Olympics (SOTX) is to provide year-round training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in the sharing of gifts, skills and friendships with their families, other athletes and the community.
Athletes with intellectual disabilities trained and competed in 11 different Olympic-type sports:
Athletics (Track & Field)
Athletes also participated in the Young Athletes Program, a program that engages children ages 2 to 7 in sports and helps early development of adaptive, language, motor, and social skills. Students at Frenship High School and Mackenzie Middle School participated in Unified Champion School programming, which facilitates athletic, social, and advocacy groups for students with and without disabilities.
Athletes also participated in the Athlete Leadership Program. This program helps athletes to practice public speaking, volunteer, and serve on committees as members of the SOTX Board of Directors. Another program that athletes experienced was the Healthy Athletes program, where they received free health exams in 8 medical disciplines, and other free services such as prescription glasses.
In 2017, SOTX served 854 children and adults with intellectual disabilities. This is a 3% increase from 2016. They were also able to train 3 new coaches to support SOTX athletes. Also added was the option of volleyball. In the first year of having volleyball, 46 athletes participated in the sport. SOTX athletes and their families continue to report improved self-confidence, health, social and family relationships, and language, adaptive, and social skills. SOTX engages individuals with and without disabilities in shared activities to bridge differences, create friendships, and foster a community that celebrates the unique values of all people.