Close your eyes, and think back to your most significant memory of playing sports as a child.
For me, it was when I first convinced my parents to let me play hockey when I was 8 years old. From the first moment I stepped foot on the ice, I was hooked. I ended up playing all the way through college! Hockey was a big part of my youth that I still think about often.
But what if it never happened? Imagine if your fondest sports memory didn’t occur because you weren’t allowed or invited to play due to an intellectual disability. Sadly, that’s what many Special Olympics athletes have experienced.
We want to change that and open new doors for them to live a healthy lifestyle, evolve as leaders, and feel like important members of our community. You can be a part of it this quarter by getting involved with Homes for Good!
Welcome Our Featured Non-Profit, Special Olympics Arizona
Homes for Good is thrilled to partner with Special Olympics Arizona (SOAZ) as our Non-Profit of the Quarter for Q3 2019.
For people with intellectual disabilities, Special Olympics is often the only place where they have an opportunity to participate in their communities and develop belief in themselves. For athletes, Special Olympics sports provide a gateway to empowerment, competence, acceptance, and joy.
The lessons learned in Special Olympics also impact participants’ life skills. Sports training enhances focus and gives them a structure for learning important lessons about perseverance, endurance, and setting goals. In fact, more than half of adult Special Olympics athletes in the U.S. are employed, versus 10% of those who don’t participate in this program.
We’re proud to join SOAZ as they continue their amazing work helping athletes of all ability levels succeed in sports and in life.
3 Surprising Facts About Special Olympics Arizona
Our team has known about SOAZ for a long time. We share their passion for youth and sports, and always admired their annual event. However, what we didn’t realize (and what most people don’t know) is how much more they do than one or two events each year.
Here are three surprising facts you probably didn’t know about Special Olympics.
1. They host over 600 competitions and events a year across the state!
Today, SOAZ offers 20 sports, over 500 area competitions, 2 regional competitions, and 4 statewide competitions for 25,000 athletes — all made possible with the help of over 23,000 active volunteers.
2. They provide free health screenings, health education, music and art activities, leadership opportunities, and advocacy programs.
These initiatives expand access to healthcare and wellness resources for people with intellectual disabilities so they can improve their physical, mental, emotional, and social health.
3. Through the Unified Program, they’re joining kids with and without intellectual disabilities on the same sports teams to promote social inclusion.
As adults, we’ve all experienced how sports provide common ground for people to bond over and put their differences aside. The same goes for kids. By pairing kids into teams to train together and play together, they can quickly build friendships and understanding.
SOAZ is even partnering with the Arizona Interscholastic Association so high school athletes with disabilities can now wear their high school’s uniform, play in their division at Varsity Games, receive sports letters, and participate in pep rallies and sports banquets with their non-disabled schoolmates!
How You Can Help
As you can see, Special Olympics Arizona is expanding into new programs and events to make a difference for even more people with intellectual differences. But they can’t do it alone.
That’s where you come in. Our goal is to donate $1,500 to SOAZ this quarter. (Austin Bates and V.I.P. Mortgage will be matching all donations as our 2019 Homes for Good Title Sponsor!)
Here are three ways you can help us raise money to provide training and services to 25,000 SOAZ athletes.
VISIT AN OPEN HOUSE:
We’ll donate $5 per open house, plus $1 for every guest who enters the home (including agents and their clients).
JOIN THE NEWSLETTER:
We’ll donate $1 for every person who joins the Homes for Good newsletter.
MAKE A DONATION:
Donate directly to SOAZ by emailing Chastity@SpecialOlympicsArizona.org. 95% of every dollar donated goes directly to Special Olympics programs and competitions.
(Special thanks to Austin Bates and V.I.P. Mortgage, our generous 2019 Title Sponsor who will be matching all donations!)
Let’s work together to honor local athletes of all ability levels and give them a chance to compete, make friends, and feel valued! Hope to see you at an upcoming open house.