logo-varietySpecial Olympics Iowa (SOIA) has received a $20,000 grant from Variety- the Children’s Charity to fund Young Athletes Play Days and Unified Sports®.

Young Athletes Play Days are designed to provide play activities and socialization opportunities for children with intellectual disabilities between the ages of two and seven. Play Days were created to serve children too young to participate in formal Special Olympics events (athletes can begin competing at age eight).

Unified Sports® creates an opportunity for people without intellectual disabilities to join in the sports experience by playing on a team with athletes with intellectual disabilities. It was inspired by a simple principle: training together and playing together is a quick path to friendship and understanding.

“The support our partners at Variety- the Children’s Charity gives Special Olympics Iowa is tremendous, “said SOIA CEO Gary Harms. “Play Days are one of the first times our youngest athletes and their families are introduced to Special Olympics; these funds will help us make our events even more impactful. We want to continue to showcase the abilities of individuals who are a part of SOIA, rather than focus on disabilities.  Our Unified Sports program is a great vehicle for these young people to experience the joy of inclusion and participation – while at the same time creating awareness within the communities in which these talented individuals live.”

Variety- the Children’s Charity is dedicated to improving the lives of underprivileged, at-risk and special needs children throughout Iowa. Grant funding is provided to programs and initiatives that directly impact the well-being of children. For more information on Variety grants and programs please visit varietyiowa.com.