A Champion for Inclusion: Kim Samuel
For the past 15 years Special Olympics has greatly benefited from the generous and steadfast support of Kim Samuel, President of The Samuel Family Foundation. Kim serves on Special Olympics' Board of Directors as well as many other philanthropic boards and committees. She has also spent time studying the nature of isolation as it relates to poverty and human dignity.
Kim Samuel marching along side the Canadian team delegation at the 2013 Special Olympics World Winter Games in PyeongChang, Korea.
Helping to Create a Unified Society
We are immensely grateful for the gifts, both
intellectual and philanthropic, that Kim has given in support of
Special Olympics. Her enduring generosity has allowed us to combat
the stigma and isolation that people with intellectual disabilities
face, and create a stronger, healthier, and more unified society in
Canada and in 170 countries around the world.
A significant part of this work has focused on training,
empowering and involving families at all levels of the movement.
From the participation of families in the Global Family Leaders
Summit at World Games events to the training of local family
Community Builders in Botswana, or the convening of Family Health
Forums in Namibia, Kim's support has help us reach out to, empower
and educate families across the globe.
Mother and daughter attend the South Africa Family Health Forum in 2013.
Improving the Lives of Our Athletes and Their Famlies
In addition to supporting our work with families, she has enabled
us to build capacity and programming for Unified Sports and Young
Athletes. Both programs have greatly impacted the lives of
participants: Unified Sports has increased athletes' social skills
and self-confidence as well as physical activity, contributing to a
healthier weight and lifestyle, and Young Athletes has provided our
youngest athletes' (ages 2-7) with the opportunity to improve their
motor skill and related development such that they are positioned
early on for a fulfilling life in the family and community. The
inclusive nature of both these programs also improves athletes' and
families' connections to the community and provides an opportunity
to promote social inclusion through shared sports training and
competition experiences. These inclusive experiences pave the way
for improved understanding, acceptance and the development of
In 2013, with Kim Samuel's support, 23 new Camp Shriver programs were a established throughout the world.
Expanding Our Reach and Mission
Kim's support doesn't stop there.
She has given Special Olympics the chance to reinvent and build
upon Camp Shriver. First held in 1962 in the backyard of Eunice
Kennedy Shriver, Camp Shriver was viewed as a way to bring
individuals with intellectual disabilities together who lacked the
same camp and recreation opportunities afforded to those without
disabilities. It was Mrs. Shriver's intent to dispel unfounded
fears and prejudice against individuals with intellectual
disabilities based on a lack of understanding and interaction
through sport and physical activities. Today, Camp Shriver provides
an inclusive sports experience for youth with and without
intellectual disabilities in developing programs where Unified
Sports does not exist. In 2013 alone, with Kim's support, 23 new
Camp Shriver programs were established in the following regions:
Africa, Asia Pacific, Latin America, North America, the Middle East
/North Africa, and Europe/Eurasia. Kim has also been a steadfast
supporter of our work in Haiti, enabling camps and programming just
following the earthquake in 2010 through today.
Integral to all of this work has been her commitment to research and evaluation. Kim's knowledge,
experience and insight challenge us to envision and create new ways
to have even greater impact on our athletes and families. For
instance, a Young Athletes research effort that she supported was
highlighted in a peer-reviewed article published in an
international scientific journal.
We are extremely grateful to have Kim Samuel and The Samuel Family
Foundation champion our work. We could not have expanded our reach
and mission delivery at the pace we have and at the high levels of
quality we've enjoyed without the Samuel Family's unwavering and passionate belief in our mission.
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