The Special Olympics Michigan State Winter games have come and gone, but I feel they still deserve special recognition. Have you ever attended the Special Olympics Michigan events? They were held January 30th to February 2nd this year and it was a VERY special occasion as it marked their 50th anniversary.
You can’t help but fall in love as you watch these athletes compete with full hearts and loving encouragement provided by the volunteers and coaches who assist them. There were over 500 volunteers, 350 coaches and 900 athletes who participated. I get chills just thinking about it. Most of us tune in to the Winter Olympics on tv and they are spectacular as well, but there’s something that just goes deeper with this special annual event.
The hashtag chosen was #ChooseToInclude. What a meaningful concept that is in today’s world, “Choose to include.” These kids are not sideliners at all. They are fully capable and respectable athletes who push themselves to compete in an event they look forward to all year-long.
“Unity is strength… when there is teamwork and collaboration, wonderful things can be achieved.” – Mattie Stepanek (found on the Special Olympics Michigan Facebook page. Be sure and visit their page.)
The Special Olympics Michigan mission is the following:
“To provide year-round sports training and athletic competition for children and adults with intellectual disabilities.”
There are also other events which support the Special Olympics such as the Polar Plunge. Brrrrr!!! This is for the hardy Michiganders which I know there are plenty of! There are 28 polar plunges in Michigan between January through March 2018. If you’d like to participate there’s still time and I’m sure there is one near you.
Here are some quick facts about the Special Olympics Michigan Organization –
• 23,033 athletes participate in Special Olympics Michigan with programs provided at no cost to athletes or their families
• 24 sports are offered
• 6 state-level competitions, 4 district basketball tournaments and more than 600 local and regional competitions statewide
• 31,606 volunteers
• 3,278 active certified coaches
• Special Olympics Michigan is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization supported almost entirely through corporate funding and individual gifts and is a four star-rated charity by Charity Navigator
So if you’d like to participate in the plunge, volunteer or donate, please visit their website by clicking – HERE.