Special Olympics Iowa (SOIA) has received a $25,000 grant from Variety- the Children’s Charity to fund its Young Athlete Play Days and Unified Champion Schools special programs.
Young Athlete 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).
The Unified Champion Schools program partners SOIA with pre-schools, elementary schools, middle schools, high schools and colleges to implement three main components of inclusion: Unified Sports, youth leadership & advocacy and whole-school engagement.
SOIA is a nonprofit organization serving children and adults with intellectual disabilities by providing them with sport programs. Since 1968, Special Olympics Iowa has been a statewide movement that unleashes the human spirit through the transformative power and joy of sports. Using sports as the catalyst, and including programming on health and education, Special Olympics is fighting inactivity, injustice and intolerance. As a result, people with intellectual disabilities become accepted and valued members of their communities, which leads to a more respectful and inclusive society for all.
The Variety grant will be used to help continue SOIA special programs and to improve their already existing activities to ensure full physical exercise and overall healthy lifestyle for the over 14,000 athletes in the state of Iowa.
“Variety has been a long-time partner of Special Olympics Iowa. With their help, we are able to give our athletes positive sport experiences, while also being able to improve-upon and change our programs to better serve them,” said SOIA President and CEO John Kliegl. “Young Athlete Play Days and Unified Champion Schools are our gateways into helping young athletes gain confidence in their abilities.”
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.