Articles in Uncategorized

June 2016 Fit Focus

We have just completed the “March to Summer Games” campaign. Here are the FIT-logo-vertical-203x300highlights!

  1. 11 Delegations participated with 120 total individuals registered
  2. 73 Special Olympics athletes and 47 Unified Partners
  3. 79 people completed the program and walked 10,110 miles for the 10 week program.
  4. Average of 128 miles per person
  5. 50 people joined the 50 Mile Club
  6. 37 people walked over 100 miles
  7. West Harrison Schools walked a total of 3628 miles.


Read More

Summer Games Lost and Found

There are several lost and found items from Summer Games being kept at the state office. If you are looking for an item please contact Rhonda Schwarzkopf at (515)-986-5520.
*NOTE: A men’s gold wedding band was among the items found. Please call the office with a detailed description of the band if you believe it to be yours.
Read More

2018 USA Games Technical Delegate Applications

Special Olympics North America is looking for qualified individuals to serve as volunteer technical delegate and assistant technical delegate for the 2018 Special Olympics USA Games to be held in Seattle, Washington, July 1-6, 2018.

To apply, review the cover memo, the technical delegate interest form and job description. Applications are due no later than June 20, 2016 via email, fax or mail. Resumes should include Special Olympics and Sport Federation experience, certifications and other applicable experience is acceptable.

Submit applications to: Greg Epperson, Special Olympics North America, 3712 Benson Drive, Suite 102, Raleigh, NC 27609.
Fax: 919-782-3311.

Read More

Drake Unified Sports Day 2016

On Thursday, May 5 Special Olympics Iowa hosted the annual Drake Unified Sports Day at Drake University. Events were held in the Knapp Center as well as on the practice fields outside.

Special Olympics Unified Sports promotes social inclusion through shared sport training and competition experiences for individuals with and without intellectual disabilities. More than 600 special education and regular education students from schools across Central Iowa paired up for the day for some friendly competition in activities like 3-on-3 basketball, bocce, golf, pass-punt-kick football, relay races, volleyball and more.

There were more than 125 volunteers, including representatives from Clipped Wings, Laborer’s Local #177 Retirees and Wells Fargo. Drake University football players were also on hand to help with events and sign autographs.

Check out photos from the event below!


Read More

Unified Sports Day at Drake University May 5

Special Olympics Iowa will host the 22nd annual Drake Unified Sports Day Thurs., May 5 at Drake University from 9:30 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. Dedicated to promoting social inclusion through shared sports training and competition, Unified Sports joins people with and without intellectual disabilities on the same team.

More than 600 special education and regular education students from 18 schools across Central Iowa will pair up for a day of friendly competition. Partners will participate in 3-on-3 basketball, bocce, golf, pass-punt-kick football, relay races, volleyball and more.

More than 125 volunteers, including representatives from Clipped Wings, Laborer’s Local #177 Retirees, Wells Fargo and Drake University football players, will help coordinate the events.

Special Olympics Unified Sports promotes social inclusion through shared sport training and competition experiences for individuals with and without intellectual disabilities. Unified Sports has proven to be highly effective in achieving social inclusion. Athletes feel a sense of belonging; they can meaningfully interact with others, develop mutually rewarding relationships, are recognized as contributors and are received with acceptance and respect.



WHAT: Special Olympics Iowa Unified Sports Day at Drake University
Sponsored by Principal Financial Group, Variety Club – the Children’s Charity and Special Olympics Project UNIFY
WHO: Special Olympics Iowa athletes and Unified Sports partners
WHEN: May 5 from 9:30 a.m. to 1:15 p.m.
WHERE: Drake University Knapp Center, Bell Center and practice fields

Read More

Kliegl, Johnson Join SOIA State Office

The Special Olympics Iowa state office welcomes John Kliegl and Jeremiah Johnson to the SOIA family. Kliegl has been named the vice president of development and will start his new role on Feb. 15. Johnson has been named director of financial services after acting in an interim role for six months prior to officially joining the SOIA staff in January.

staff-johnkKliegl will lead SOIA’s development team and fundraising activities. Prior to joining the SOIA staff, Kliegl was the state director of Best Buddies Iowa for three years and, spending the prior year as director of development at the organization. At Best Buddies, Kliegl exceeded revenue goals, acquired the state office’s largest single-donor gift, increased partnering schools and expanded the organization to include middle schools and anti-bullying education. His daughter, Abbie, is a long-time Special Olympics athlete.

staff-jeremiahJohnson will direct human resources, centralized accounting and payroll at the state office. Johnson has been a licensed certified public accountant since 2008 and earned his BA in accounting from Grand View University in 2006. He has held previous accounting and financial positions at Willis Auto Campus, The Iowa Air National Guard and Wells Fargo. He is also a current member of the 132nd Wing of the Iowa Air National Guard in Des Moines. His military education includes Airman Leadership School and the Air Force Non Commissioned Officer Academy.

Read More

SOIA Hires Birkenholtz as Southeast Regional Director

staff-erinErin Birkenholtz has joined the Special Olympics Iowa state office staff as the Director of Regional Field Services for the Southeast Region. She will oversee the East, East Central and Southeast Areas for SOIA.

Birkenholtz has an extensive Special Olympics background, having been a part of Summer Games, Winter Games, Mid-Winter Tournament and Play Days. In addition, she has been responsible for the creation and execution of various fund raising events and program events for SOIA.

She is a graduate of the University of Iowa, where she received her bachelor of science in leisure studies with a therapeutic recreation emphasis. She has most recently been employed by the ARC of East Central Iowa where she supervised, coached and mentored direct service providers, and worked with over 90 individuals and their families in delivering care and instruction to clients.

She is looking forward to engaging with all of our athletes, families and volunteers in the Southeast Region. Please join us in welcoming her to our Special Olympics Iowa family!

Read More

Rasmussen, Allen Join SOIA State Office Team

Katie Rasmussen and Jordan Allen joined the Special Olympics Iowa state office staff in September.

staff-katieRasmussen has been named director of regional field services for the North Region of SOIA. She oversees the North, Northeast, North Central and Central Areas.

Rasmussen was previously employed at ChildServe in Johnston as a recreational therapist where she worked with individuals from birth to 22 years of age with special health care needs. She provided outings, adapted leisure opportunities, aquatics, school re-entry and pet therapy. She received her degree from the University of Northern Iowa in 2011 in leisure youth and human services, with an emphasis in therapeutic recreation and nonprofit management. She is also a Certified Nonprofit Professional.

Rasmussen has experience with Special Olympics Iowa, helping with the Northeast Area during her college career. She also coached at the Summer Games for Special Olympics Illinois.

staff-jordanAllen has been named the volunteer and unified sports manager for SOIA. She will manage recruitment and placement of all SOIA volunteers as well as the unified sports program.

Allen was previously the administrative assistant for AW Welt Ambrisco Insurance in Iowa City, where she worked for more than three years. She coordinated with all departments at AW Welt and served on the agency’s wellness and social committees. She graduated from The University of Iowa in 2013 with a degree in communication studies and minor in human relations.

Read More

Wilson Begins Role as SOIA Regional Director

staff-bruceBruce Wilson has been named Regional Director for the West Region of Special Olympics Iowa. He began his new role in August, overseeing the Northwest, Southwest, South Central and West Central areas of SOIA.

Wilson was previously an assistant coach for the Iowa Energy, an NBA development league team, where he coached for five years. He was also the head men’s basketball coach and a professor at Simpson College for 25 years.

Wilson got hooked on Special Olympics after volunteering at a cycling event in 1991. He has been a mainstay at the cycling venue at Summer Games ever since. He has also volunteered at the Unified Sports day at Drake University as well as the West Central area Spring Games.

Read More