News

SOIA now accepting applications for first Unified Champion Schools Scholarship

20140918_120810Special Olympics Iowa is offering an opportunity to graduating high school seniors who are involved in any Iowa Unified Champion Schools (UCS) program.

Teacher liaisons from Unified Champion Schools in Iowa may nominate a graduating senior to win one of two $250 scholarships. If your school is not currently a Unified Champion School, please contact Bryan Coffey bcoffey@soiowa.org to learn more.

Nomination Process:
School Liaison:
– Select one graduating senior to nominate for the scholarship
– Write a 200 word (1/2 page) nomination letter explaining why you think this student would be a good candidate for this award
Student:
– Must be pursuing a high level of education during the 2018-2019 school year.
– Write a 300-400 word (1½ pages MAX) letter detailing the following:

  • Name
  • Number of years involved with Special Olympics programs
  • Special Olympics programs and activities the student has participated in
  • Any leadership roles the student has held within the UCS club
  • Most gratifying moment of being involve

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Meet Team Iowa: Cedar Rapids Flag Football Team

By Stephanie Kocer

When fall brings cooler weather and changing colors it can only mean one thing; football season. The Special Olympics flag football team from Cedar Rapids has been preparing for their season for weeks, but it won’t end after Special Olympics Iowa’s Flag Football is over in October.

The team will continue to practice into next July to prepare for the 2018 Special Olympics USA Games in Seattle, Washington, where they’ll represent Iowa as they compete against other flag football teams for the gold.

From July 1-6, 2018 – more than 4,000 Special Olympics athletes and coaches from all 50 states and the District of Columbia will gather in Seattle to compete before tens of thousands of spectators and volunteers. The 2018 USA Games will showcase the limitless talents of people with intellectual disabilities while promoting the barrier-breaking power of sport to promote inclusion and acceptance. Among those 4,000 athletes and coaches will be 34 Iowa athletes.

IMG_6084To ready themselves for USA Games, the football team is focusing on perfecting their plays and building their relationships with teammates. “I’m looking forward to good sportsmanship. If you make mistakes, you make mistakes,” says athlete Paul White. He and his brother, Robbie, will be going to USA Games for the first time with the football team. They’re excited to have the opportunity to play on a national scale. “We’re going to cheer on other teams when we’re not playing and we’re going to be excited to play,” says Paul.

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Meet New SOIA Volunteer Director Elin Phipps

Elin EditSpecial Olympics Iowa would like to introduce its new Volunteer Director Elin Phipps!

Before taking on the full-time position of Volunteer Director, Phipps was a volunteer coordinator intern with SOIA, helping with volunteers for Summer Games. Originally from Boone, Iowa, Phipps attended Central College where she majored in Communication Studies- Mass Communication & Journalism. She also ran track and cross country for the Central Dutch.

During college Phipps worked with several nonprofits, including Young Life, and volunteered with Amanda the Panda and Kiwanis Miracle Baseball League. She has also had several jobs relating to athletics such as being a swim instructor and life guard.

Phipps is excited to start working with the athletes of SOIA. “By far the most exciting aspect I am looking forward to at Special Olympics Iowa is working with the athletes at events and getting to know them personally.  I am also eager to learn more about how Special Olympics impacts persons with special needs all over the world.”

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Dubuque Challenge Day Returns to SOIA Lineup

Special Olympics Iowa is excited to announce the Dubuque Challenge Day will return this year to Loras College in Dubuque. The Challenge Day will take place at the college’s Activity and Wellness Center on Friday, October 20, 2017. The day will kick-off with an opening ceremony at 9:30 a.m., with sports activities starting at 10:00 a.m. IMG_2340

Challenge Days are a one-day event designed specifically for the severe and profound population of Iowa as well as our aging population. Because of the need to offer more activities for these individuals, it has been a goal of Special Olympics Iowa to give these athletes opportunities to compete in activities that mirror the 23 Olympic-style sports SOIA offers. 

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Firefighters’ Ball to Benefit Special Olympics Iowa

On Friday, November 10, Johnston-Grimes Metropolitan Fire Department Association and Johnston Professional Firefighters Local 4835 will host the annaul Firefighters’s Ball at Stoney Creek Inn in Johnston. Proceeds from the event will be donated to Special Olympics Iowa.

The charitable evening will feature hors d’oeuvres, special guests, a cash bar, dancing, silent auction, raffles and a photo booth.

The event cost is $40 per person or $70 per couple. Tickets are limited to 300 guests and are available to the public until Friday, October 20.

To purchase tickets please contact Ginger at jgmfdfirefightersball@gmail.com or 515-276-5182.

Event Poster

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2017 Global Messenger Workshop to Take Place December 1-2

By: Wendy Olinger
IMG_8586The Global Messenger Workshop will be December 1-2, 2017 at the state office in Grimes.
This workshop is for athletes who are interested in becoming a Global Messenger or for those Junior and Senior Global Messengers who would like to mentor new Global Messengers and build their confidence to give a speech. Each athlete will need a speech coach to help the athlete organize their thoughts and experiences about Special Olympics as well as put their personal stories and feelings on paper.

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Team Helps Victims of Hurricane Harvey

IMG_2979When Hurricane Harvey hit last month Alicia Porter knew she couldn’t sit on the sidelines and watch. The Special Olympics Iowa coach had an important connection to Houston; her assistant coach, Barb Hottman is originally from the city.

Hottman, a former special education teacher from Houston has a daughter living in Houston and she immediately wanted to go and see firsthand how her and all of her friends were really doing.

“Through phone calls we began to realize that these people were living on cans of soup and even K-rations. We knew that she [Hottman] could not go empty-handed,” Porter said. Team Porter began reaching out to close friends and relatives, asking for donations of food and paper supplies.  With an outpouring of support, a thousand dollars worth of food and supplies were donated and sent with Hottman to bring to Houston.

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SOIA to Roll Out New Release and Medical Forms October 1

Starting October 1, 2017 Special Olympics will require all athletes joining Special Olympics Iowa to complete newly updated Release and Medical Forms.

These new forms will take the place of the Physical and Consent Forms that SOIA required athletes to fill out in the past. Any athlete with a current Physical and Consent Form on file will NOT need to renew with the new forms until their current physical expires.

Before athletes can begin competition in SOIA, they must submit the following forms:

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Meet New SOIA Office Administrator Tricia Wheeler!

Tricia-editSpecial Olympics Iowa would like to welcome the newest member of the state office team, Office Administrator Tricia Wheeler!

Wheeler started with SOIA in August to provide administrative support and oversee general office operations. Wheeler previously worked in health care before coming to SOIA, but she is no stranger to the organization, serving as a volunteer at past SOIA events. Originally from the Cedar Rapids area, Wheeler attended Kirkwood Community College, Cornell College, and AIB College of Business. She now lives in the Des Moines area with her daughter, who is a full-time college student.

In her free time, Wheeler works with Forte International Exchange Association, where she works with volunteer host families as they except exchange students into their home. Wheeler has even hosted exchange students in her own home before.

Wheeler is excited about her new position with SOIA and looks forward to the upcoming events in the fall. “I look forward to meeting new people and hope to be a positive addition to the already great team. I have volunteered in the past and look forward to being a cheerleader at events.”

Welcome, Tricia!

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2017-2018 Coaches’ Guide Now Available

We are pleased to inform you that the 2017-2018 Coaches’ Guide is completed and available on our website. The updated guide is an easy to use, comprehensive resource for delegation managers and coaches.

The 2017-2018 Coaches’ Guide was updated in July 2017 and is good for one year. This version of the guide contains important updates on policies and forms. All changes are highlighted in blue in the guide.

See the Coaches’ Guide

For more information, contact:
Sally Briggs, Program Administrative Assistant
515-986-5520

 

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