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To provide year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-style sports for all children and adults with intellectual disabilities, including mental retardation giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy, and participate in a sharing of skills and friendship with their families, Special Olympics athletes and the community. Through their participation in Special Olympics New York athletes gain confidence and build a positive self-image, which carries into the classroom, the home, the workplace and the community.
Under the leadership and guidance of Dorothy Buehring Phillips, Special Olympics was organized in the state of New York in 1969. Phillips sent a New York contingent to the Northeast Regional Special Olympics in Boston, Massachusetts to represent Special Olympics New York. Dorothy Buehring Phillips was appointed New York's first State Director and in six months Special Olympics New York hosted the first State Games in Rochester, June 1970. Today, Special Olympics New York is the largest program of its type in the United States, serving nearly 46,106 athletes with the support of over 25,000 volunteers. Special Olympics New York is headquartered in Schenectady with regional offices in Long Island, New York City, Hudson Valley, Central, and Genesee.