Youngsters with intellectual disabilities in Lilongwe, Malawi, take part in Young Athletes, a Special Olympics sport and play program for children with intellectual disabilities. The focus is on fun activities that are important to mental and physical growth. Photo by Kristin Hughes
Special Olympics spreads compassion and acceptance in a way that can unite the world. Our goal is to awaken everyone -- and every community -- to each person’s common humanity. Understanding brings acceptance; acceptances bring peace. This vision of inclusion starts at the local level. It's expanding on a global scale.
Building Support. Despite the rain, spectators line up to see two young women race down a track in Rwanda.
Communities of Support
There are about 200 million people with intellectual disabilities around the world. Our goal is to reach out to every one of them – and their families as well.
Special Olympics does this through a wide range of trainings, competitions, health screenings and fund-raising events. We also create opportunities for families, community members, local leaders, businesses, law enforcement, celebrities, dignitaries and others to band together to change attitudes and support athletes.
Special Olympics creates communities of support everywhere it goes. We hold 50,000 competitions a year -- about 136 each day. Our Games and competitions bring together athletes, coaches, volunteers, supporters and leaders of the community.
Special Olympics has the support of governments worldwide. We have helped bring about policies to improve education, health care, and employment opportunities for people with intellectual disabilities all around the world. Some of our key program efforts to build communities include: Athlete Leadership Programs, Family Engagement, Healthy Athletes, Project UNIFY and Young Athletes.
Connecting Us All
Special Olympics knows no boundaries. Without regard to gender, race, religion, economic or education level, Special Olympics has the ability to unite all walks of life.
This spirit of generosity, inclusion and volunteerism helps to connect the community as a whole. In this way, we will build a stronger, safer world.
About Special Olympics in North America
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Special Olympics transforms athletes’ lives through the joy of sport. Help us make a difference.
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Volunteering with Special Olympics is fun and very rewarding, for both the athlete and the volunteer!