The following is a guest post from a Special Olympics Florida volunteer.
Thanks to Special Olympics, I have a new appreciation for dragons. While volunteering for the Summer Games this past May, I met an athlete named Mary who spent an hour taking me deep into another realm, teaching me everything I could ever want to know about these mystical creatures. She told me about the various species and their characteristics, along with which video games I could find them featured in, just in case I ever wanted to experience their awesomeness first hand. Before meeting Mary, I never would have given dragons a second thought, but now I can’t imagine why I never had an interest in them in the first place. She spoke of them with so much excitement that I couldn’t help but be entranced – not only by the dragons and their endless magical abilities, but also by my new friend. Read More
In 2013, the Misso family relocated from Chicago to Lee County, Florida. Perry & Mickey’s daughter, Kara, had been involved with Special Olympics for 20+ years back home and they wanted to continue that tradition when they moved. So like many people do, they Googled Special Olympics Florida and found their local County Directory. When they asked how much it would be for Kara to join, they learned that no one is ever charged a fee to participate – from that moment they were all in with Special Olympics Florida.
Every two years, Special Olympics athletes come together to compete at the Special Olympics World Games. This summer, over 6,500 athletes from 165 countries will descend upon Los Angeles to show the true meaning of courage, joy and determination. Special Olympics Florida is proud to have 16 athletes represent the USA at this competition – below are their stories.
The Special Olympics USA Unified Soccer team from Florida huddled for their pregame chant, preparing to meet the team from China in their chance to earn the bronze medal. With a final chant, they took the field. The stands were packed and the excitement palpable throughout the duration of the game. The crowd never sat down cheering on both teams with tireless enthusiasm. It was a close game, and Special Olympics USA triumphed 4-2 over China but teamwork was the theme of the game. “I think we all did best at hustling after the ball,” said Sammy. The first goal was scored by Rufus and the next by Haley. The crowd went wild after each goal and the team embraced, all extremely proud of each other. “It was fun playing with my team, they’re my best friends,” said Rufus. After the win they ran with the American Flag flowing behind them and posed for picture after picture. “I love this,” said Hassan. “I never want it to end.”
The following is a guest post from Brenda Hayes, whose granddaughter is a Special Olympics Florida athlete in St. Lucie County.
Danielle Moran Edwards is a wonderful 15 year-old young lady who also just happens to be our granddaughter. It’s been a little over a year that we have taken full custody of her. Like so many other grandparents we found ourselves with such a blessing and such a great responsibility. And even though she has multiple disabilities, this does not stop her from trying to be the best she can be… especially with all that Special Olympics Florida has to offer. Read More
The Flame of Hope is a powerful symbol. For Special Olympics, the iconic flame delivers inspiration, as well as a message of awareness for social change, as it’s carried by athletes and members of the law enforcement community across the globe. Read More
The following is a Letter to the Editor written by Special Olympics Florida CEO/President Sherry Wheelock and published in the Miami Herald on January 2, 2014. This letter was in response to a Christmas Day profile of Emmitt McCoy, a Miami athlete.
Emmitt McCoy, a vibrant Miami man who has an intellectual disability and a set of broken dentures he can’t afford to replace, was profiled in the Miami Herald’s Wish Book story on Christmas day. McCoy’s story resonates deeply with me not just because he is a Special Olympics athlete but also because it sheds light on an all-too-common occurrence: People with intellectual and developmental disabilities get inferior healthcare — if and when they get it — even though most people believe the opposite. Statistically, people with intellectual disabilities are one of the largest and most medically under-served disability groups in the world. Read More
If you’ve just landed on our blog for the first time, let me say welcome! This month, Special Olympics Florida is proud to launch our newly redesigned website and blog. In addition to debuting our refreshed look, we are excited to offer you other updated features, like a robust calendar of events and competition, easier access to information from our 51 county programs and, of course, more stories and photos featuring the heart of our organization – our athletes.