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The mission of Special Olympics is to provide year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-style sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities including mental retardation and autism, giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills, and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes and the community.
Transforming Lives - Through sports training and competition, people with intellectual disabilities benefit physically, emotionally, socially and spiritually. Additional benefits include improved physical fitness and motor skills, greater self-confidence, a more positive self-image, new friendships and increased family support.
Winning Spirit - Special Olympics instills a sense of sportsmanship and goodwill among all who take part in the movement. Winning in Special Olympics is not just about "higher, faster, stronger" rather, it is about achieving one's personal best. Before competition, athletes recite the Special Olympics oath: "Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt."
Volunteer Driven - Special Olympics is one of the world's largest volunteer organizations. The generosity and support of general volunteers, sponsors, law enforcement officers, medical professionals, celebrities, educators and others provide opportunities that enable Special Olympics athletes to lead fuller lives both on and off the playing field.
Cost Free - Neither the athletes nor their families pay to take part in any Special Olympics New York (SONY) programs. SONY operates on funds raised through corporate sponsorships, philanthropic institutions, special events, direct marketing, general donations and bequests. SONY is not funded by the federal or state government or the Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. Foundation, nor is it a government agency.
Athlete Leadership - Special Olympics has placed increased emphasis on our athletes' ability to contribute to society through leadership roles both on and off the playing field. Today, athletes serve on Special Olympics Board of Directors. Also, through the Special Olympics Athlete Leadership Program (ALPs), athletes are working as certified sports officials, coaching other athletes, documenting history as reporters and photographers and speaking publicly around the globe. Through athlete leadership conferences, Special Olympics athletes are actively creating blueprints for a global movement into the 21 st century and beyond.
Many Abilities - Special Olympics serves the needs of athletes of all ability levels, including those with more severe intellectual or closely related disabilities. During events, athletes compete against those with similar abilities.
- Elizabeth Forest
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