Name a sport and Stacey Weimer has probably competed in it.
The 35-year-old Earlville native plays bocce, bowling, snowshoeing, swimming, and volleyball. In a few short days, she’ll take on her biggest challenge yet: Cycling at Special Olympics World Games 2023. Stacey will race between 5,000 and 25,000 meters against 197 of the best Special Olympics cyclists from around the world.
Fortunately, she’s had excellent training. She earned two gold medals at our 2022 State Fall Games in Glens Falls, New York. She also stays in shape outside Special Olympics with karate and horseback riding.
Off the field, Stacey is an excellent leader, having recently graduated from a three-year term on our Statewide Athlete Leadership Council. She continues to help advocate and fundraise, most recently by delivering a keynote address at our 2023 Syracuse Night of Champions banquet. Outside Special Olympics, she volunteers at ARISE, a center providing opportunities for individuals with disabilities to live freely and independently.
We know you’ll join us in wishing Stacey the best of luck in Berlin! If you’d like to support her on her World Games journey, you may do so by donating today.
Winner to be Honored June 9 at State Summer Games Opening Ceremonies
Albany, NY – Special Olympics New York is pleased to announce nine finalists for the 2023 Athlete of the Year Award. The winner of this prestigious honor will be celebrated at the 2023 State Summer Games in Ithaca, NY during Opening Ceremonies Friday, June 9, at Ithaca College.
“These nine nominees are the epitome of what it means to be a Special Olympics athlete,” said Special Olympics New York President & CEO Stacey Hengsterman. “They compete, they lead, they fundraise, and they advocate, all in the spirit of our movement. We congratulate them all on this tremendous accomplishment, and we look forward to announcing the winner.”
To qualify for this award, nominees must fulfill extensive criteria, including at least five years of training and competition experience with Special Olympics NY. They must also participate in at least three sports and at least two competitions throughout the year.
The nominees are as follows:
Tom Mooney, Capital District Region: Hailing from Troy and competing in numerous sports, Tom Mooney has been a Special Olympics NY athlete for 26 years. During that time, he’s competed at the local, state, and national level, most recently earning several medals at the 2022 USA Games. Off the field, Tom also works as an Athlete Leadership Council member, a social media intern for our headquarters office, and a representative on the National Law Enforcement Torch Run Committee.
Jordan Root, Genesee Region: Not only is Jordan Root a star bowler, golfer, and soccer player—he’s also a dedicated athlete leader and fundraiser. He’s been a longtime member of the Genesee Region Athlete Leadership Council, and on this year’s Jersey Mike’s Day of Giving, Jordan personally made deliveries to local businesses. He’s been a Special Olympics New York athlete for seven years.
James Jewett, Central Region: As a four-sport athlete and member of his local Athlete Leadership Council, James “JJ” Jewett inspires not only with his athletic performance, but with his public speaking ability. His story of perseverance at our Winter Games Press Conference was so moving that he was invited to deliver it again at Opening Ceremonies.
Richard Fishwick, Hudson Valley Region: Over his 12 years with Special Olympics NY, Richard Fishwick has competed in basketball, softball, bowling, and track & field, finding success in each sport. He’s also an influential leader in his community, both with his fellow teammates and with his dedicated membership on the Statewide Athlete Leadership Council. Richard’s nomination form describes him perfectly: “He is an individual who leads by example.”
Matthew Schuster, Long Island Region: Matthew has been a Special Olympics New York athlete since he was eight years old. Now, at 40, he’s expanded his role even further. From competing in swimming, floor hockey, softball, golf, and basketball to volunteering at his regional office and our State Games, Matthew is a pillar of our community.
Erik Viscardo, North Country Region: Erik competes in a remarkable array of Special Olympics events, including bowling, snow shoeing, downhill skiing, bocce, fitness, and our Move Challenge. In addition, he’s a dedicated member of the Statewide Athlete Leadership Council, traveling more than four hours to attend meetings.
Jonathan Beiner, New York City Region: Jonathan is a leader in our organization in so many ways. As an athlete, he competes in five sports. As a fundraiser, he’s consistently one of the top earners for the Rockaway Polar Plunge. As an advocate, he recently traveled to Washington, D.C. to speak at Capitol Hill Day.
Anne Norby, Southern Tier Region: Though Anne has only competed with us for five years, she has already made an incredible impact. In addition to being an alpine skier, cyclist, and swimmer, she’s one of the founding members of the Southern Tier’s Athlete Leadership Council. Anne represented New York at the 2022 USA Games in Orlando, Florida, distinguishing herself in the swimming competition.
Ronald Ward, Western Region: As stated in his nomination form, Ronald “embodies the Special Olympics Athlete Oath” of being brave in the attempt. With more than 25 years of experience in softball, bowling, and bocce, he always conducts himself with class and integrity. Off the field, you can always find him fundraising for his fellow athletes, as well as advocating on his regional leadership council.
Ithaca, NY – The largest statewide Special Olympics New York statewide competition of the year is coming to Ithaca June 9 & 10. More than 800 athletes and coaches from throughout the state will be in the area for State Summer Games June 9 & 10 for competition in seven sports: Basketball, Bowling, Gymnastics, Powerlifting, Swimming, Track & Field, and Tennis.
Local leaders and athletes hosted a press conference at Ithaca High School today to announce the details of the Games and to recruit 400 volunteers from the Tompkins and Broome County communities.
No sports experience is necessary to volunteer. There is a range of jobs for individuals and groups, including set up, parking assistance, meal distribution, athlete escorts, photographers, timers, scorekeepers and more.
Special Olympics New York President & CEO Stacey Hengsterman said, “Our athletes can’t wait to return to Ithaca for State Summer Games. They’re looking forward to the competition – first and foremost – but I know they’ll want to see the volunteers they met last year as well. Thank you, Ithaca, for helping us make the 2023 State Summer Games our best yet.”
Ithaca College President La Jerne Terry Cornish said, “We provide countless volunteers, but this is not an act of charity. In return, the athletes give us more than enough. They fill our souls with inspiration, they fill our hearts with admiration, and several times last year, they filled our eyes with tears. In victory and defeat, their epic stories move us.”
Ithaca City School District Deputy Superintendent Lily Talcott said, “We are so honored to be hosting the Special Olympics right here in Ithaca. Our community’s deep commitment to inclusion, including the tremendous outpouring of support for our Unified Sports teams, makes this special day even more important to us. Thank you to the Special Olympics and to amazing students, staff, and families, who help make all of this possible.”
Tompkins County Chair Shawna Black said, “We are so excited that the Special Olympics New York State Summer Games is back in Tompkins County. We look forward to hosting the amazing athletes, their families, and spectators!”
State Summer Games weekend begins Thursday, June 8, at Stewart Park, where Special Olympics New York will host “A Night of Champions” to honor local Game Changers and raise funds to support the Games. Discounted tickets are on sale in coordination with today’s announcement, at Night-of-Champions.org.
On Friday, June 9, athletes and coaches will travel to Ithaca from throughout the state, coming together for a signature Opening Ceremonies at Ithaca College, beginning at 7 p.m.. Sports competitions will take place all day Saturday, June 10, at: Ithaca College (Swimming, Basketball, Gymnastics, Powerlifting, Tennis); Ithaca High School (Track & Field); and Midway Lanes (Bowling), followed by Closing Ceremonies at the college
State Summer Games sponsors are: Tompkins County (Presenting Sponsor), McGuire Foundation (Opening & Closing Ceremonies), Coughlin & Gerhart (Night of Champions), Alternatives Federal Credit Union,
Cayuga Health, Challenge Workforce Solutions, Chemung Canal Trust Company, Christopher George Real Estate, Economy Paving, Guthrie, Harris Beach, New York Able, NYSID, Open the Lid, and Tompkins Financial.
About Special Olympics New York
Special Olympics New York is the largest state chapter in the country, serving more than 42,000 athletes across New York with year-round sports training, athletic competition, and health screenings. The organization also partners with more than 200 schools statewide to offer Unified Sports, where students with and without disabilities compete as teammates. All Special Olympics New York programs are offered at no cost to athletes, their families or caregivers. The organization has earned the Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar.com, making it one of the most trusted charities in the business nationally. For additional information about Special Olympics New York, to learn more about getting involved, or to make a donation, visit www.specialolympicsNY.org.
By Maddie Csont, USA Games 2022 Gold Medal Gymnast & Statewide Athlete Leadership Council Graduate
My experience on the Special Olympics New York Statewide Athlete Leadership Council was life-changing.
I’ve been involved with Special Olympics as a gymnast for 10 years, and had wonderful experiences, but my time on the Athlete Leadership Council was extra special. I got to meet athletes from all over the state, to work on a team with other local athletes to raise money and awareness, and to build new relationships with my peers.
I learned so much as an athlete leader. We learned how to deal with our emotions in constructive ways, and to handle stress and nerves both in and out of competitive situations. We supported each other, as well as other athletes, during competitions and even at nationals. We learned how to lead by example by maintaining a positive attitude and demonstrating good sportsmanship.
It was an honor and privilege to represent the athletes of NYS at the national level, and to represent our region at the state level.
My advice for future athlete leaders would be to ask for answers to questions you don’t know, and don’t be afraid to ask for help or support. We are stronger together, so it’s important to rely on each other. Never stop trying for your personal best, and never give up. Be present for your teammates. And always have fun!
Maddie Csont, of Fairport, NY, has been a gymnast since she was 3 years old and a Special Olympics New York athlete since age 18.
The Athlete Leadership Program encourages athletes to take on new challenges and explore new ways to pay forward their experience with Special Olympics New York while providing them with the tools and training to succeed. Learn more here.
Volunteers Needed for Friday, Feb. 25 & Saturday, Feb. 26
Syracuse, NY – Special Olympics New York President & CEO Stacey Hengsterman today announced that in addition to hosting the State Winter Games in Syracuse later this month, Onondaga County has emerged as lead sponsor, allocating $15,000 of legislative support to offset the nonprofit’s cost for the Games.
Onondaga County Executive J. Ryan McMahon, II said the county is honored to host Special Olympics New York athletes, coaches and fans, and proud to be able to provide some funding as well.
“We could not be more proud to sponsor the Special Olympics New York State Winter Games and welcome all of the athletes to Onondaga County. I encourage anyone who is able to sign-up to volunteer as well as cheer on these amazing athletes.” McMahon said. “I also encourage the athletes and their families to enjoy all Onondaga County has to offer when they aren’t competing at the Games!”
“We are so grateful to have found champions in County Executive McMahon and his colleagues in the legislature,” said Hengsterman. “This additional support from Onondaga County feels like a great big hug as we prepare to bring our signature State Winter Games back to Syracuse.”
At the 2022 State Winter Games Feb. 25 – 26, approximately 500 Special Olympics New York athletes and coaches from throughout the state will compete in 6 sports: Alpine Skiing, Cross Country Skiing, Figure Skating, Floor Hockey, Snowboarding and Snowshoe.
Volunteers are still needed to support the Games. Volunteers must be vaccinated and registered in advance. No sports experience is necessary. To volunteer, Register Here and select “2022 State Winter Games.”
Volunteer jobs include set up, parking assistance, meal distribution, safety assurance, awards, athlete escorts, photography, timers, scorekeepers and other specific venue needs.
To support the Games either by volunteering or making a donation, visit: https://www.specialolympics-ny.org/community/2022-winter-games/.
Area venues hosting the Special Olympics New York Winter Games are: The OnCenter (Floor Hockey, Opening and Closing Ceremonies), Highland Forest (Cross Country Skiing), Greek Peak Ski Resort (Alpine Skiing and Snowboarding), Thornden Park (Snowshoe) and War Memorial (Figure Skating).
About Special Olympics New York
Special Olympics New York is the largest state chapter in the country, serving more than 51,000 athletes across New York with year-round sports training, athletic competition, and health screenings. The organization also partners with about 250 schools statewide to offer Unified Sports, where students with and without disabilities compete as teammates. All Special Olympics New York programs are offered at no cost to athletes, their families or caregivers. The organization has earned the Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar.com, making it one of the most trusted charities in the business nationally. For additional information about Special Olympics New York, to learn more about getting involved, or to make a donation, visit www.specialolympicsNY.org.
Happy New Year! Before we look ahead to 2022, let’s look back at 2021. We enjoyed countless amazing moments, but here at 10 of our absolute favorites. Enjoy!
#10: Be Brave Launch
In September, our athletes rocked New York Fashion Week with the launch of Be Brave, a partnership with Special Olympics, the Parsons School of Design, and fashion photography icon Nigel Barker. Be Brave is functional, fashionable sportswear designed for athletes of all abilities.
The team also created Be Brave gear anyone can buy. All proceeds go to our athletes! Find it here.
#9: Amsterdam Earns National Banner Status
Also in September, Amsterdam High School earned National Banner status! This distinction marks the highest level of achievement for Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools in the nation. Click here to meet Amsterdam Unified.
#8: Our First-Ever Esports Season
Three leagues, 26 teams, and 108 total participants. What a way to kick off our first-ever Esports Season! After that successful launch in March, we ran it back in June with a two-part livestreamed finals. Relive all the amazing competition here! And if you’d like to join the 2022 season, please contact your regional office for details.
#7: SEFCU Donates for Every Olympic Medal
In August, SEFCU pledged to donate funds for every medal won by Team USA at the Tokyo Olympics. That became a $43,200 donation, which will help us send New York’s largest USA Games delegation yet to Orlando in June! Learn more here.
#6: Health Screenings at the Javits Center
152 medical volunteers, 146 medical screenings, and follow-up care for 22 athletes whose conditions might have gone undetected if they weren’t screened. That’s the impact we had at Javits in December! This was the first time we had all five health disciplines at an event in more than a year. Thanks to the volunteers who made it possible, and here’s looking forward to our next screenings at Winter Games in February! Learn more about our Health Programs.
#5: John’s Crazy Socks Surpasses $100k in Donations
Founded just five years ago by Special Olympics New York Athlete John Cronin and his father, Mark, John’s Crazy Socks has made a huge impact on our organization. Learn more about their amazing November milestone below, and see why there would be no John’s Crazy Socks without Special Olympics. Thank you, Game Changers!
#4: If You Don’t Have This at Your School…You Should!
Last January, we launched a video campaign that highlights the unparalleled impact of Unified Sports in schools. 90,000 views later, our fans still can’t get enough of it. Share the campaign with your school administrators to bring Unified to your school in 2022! Contact email@example.com for more info.
#3: Fundraising Frenzy
Whether it was the May One Mile, Go for the Gold, the Summer Social, the Buffalo Sun Bowl, or the classic Polar Plunge, we had a blast with fundraising all year. Our sincerest thanks to everyone who made these unforgettable events possible! Click here to keep the fundraising going.
#2: USA Games Athlete Surprises
We never get tired of seeing reactions like this. Kathleen, Jonathan, and so many more Special Olympics New York athletes were thrilled to learn they’re going to USA Games in Orlando. Let’s go, Team New York! Relive all the surprises at this link.
#1: The Return of Fall Games
Not only was October’s Fall Games the first state-level competition since the pandemic began—it was our first Fall Games in six years! There’s no feeling like being #BackInTheGame.
Thanks so much for making 2021 an unforgettable year! Looking forward to many more amazing moments in 2022.
Great coaching requires dedication, passion, energy, and more than a little time to spare. Just ask Central Region coach Eric DeCarlis.
“I can speak for so many as well as myself that Special Olympics is one of the most amazing experiences to be part of,” said Eric. “The environment, the vibe, and the events are incomparable. To see these beautiful athletes in their element is a blessing!”
After graduating from SUNY Brockport in 2004, Eric landed his first job at Upstate Cerebral Palsy in Utica, NY. Due to his background in sports and physical education, he joined local Special Olympics programs immediately. More than a decade later, Eric is still coaching basketball, bowling, and track & field, just to name a few.
“I have been blessed to work in direct care, behavior, recreation, and fitness,” said Eric. “I feel I can adapt very easily due to the multitude of skills I have built in my career.”
That career includes certified personal training, two community leadership awards, and the opening of Eric’s very own fitness studio. He currently serves as the Special Needs Fitness Director at the Fitness Mill in Utica.
With so much experience in both sports and services for people with intellectual disabilities, we wondered how that influenced Eric’s coaching philosophy.
“I do not look at it as coaching those with disabilities,” he explained. “The only disability is a bad attitude. These are amazing human beings, so I treat them as such. I focus on guiding youth, building character and sportsmanship, and most importantly, having fun. If we win, great. If we do not win, we find the lesson in the loss with our heads held high.”
But coaching wasn’t without the unexpected. When we asked if Eric encountered anything he didn’t anticipate, this was his answer:
“I was very surprised by how organized the programs and competitions were from top to bottom. There are so many individuals and teams, yet the experience is near flawless. I’ve worked closely with [Central Region Director of Program] Sean Coakley during my coaching career, and he’s been fantastic to work with.”
When we asked for parting thoughts, Coach Eric’s words were moving.
“Let’s continue to advocate and educate,” he said. “Let’s provide opportunities to the special needs world, not only in athletics and fitness, but in education, the workforce, and everyday life.”
We couldn’t have said it better ourselves. Thank you so much for your dedication, coach!
Country’s Largest Special Olympics Chapter Celebrates 50 Years of Sports & Inclusion
Albany, NY – Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has proclaimed tomorrow, March 6, 2020 “Special Olympics New York Day” across the state as the nonprofit organization marks the 50th anniversary of its founding.
“For 50 years, Special Olympics New York athletes, and those who support them, have cultivated a climate of inclusion that continues to grow throughout New York’s schools and communities,” said Special Olympics New York President and CEO Stacey Hengsterman. “We are so grateful to Governor Cuomo for recognizing the impact of our movement and encouraging New Yorkers to reflect on the value of including people with intellectual differences on ‘Special Olympics New York Day.’”
Attached Photo Caption: President & CEO Stacey Hengsterman and Athletes (from left) Matt Graham, Kevin Brown and Ed Lawless receive “Special Olympics New York Day” proclamation.
The Governor’s Proclamation reads as follows:
Whereas, we all recognize the importance of maintaining healthy lifestyles and the benefits of lifelong fitness and exercise for everyone; since 1970, Special Olympics New York has been providing training in a variety of Olympic-style sports for children and adults with special needs and intellectual differences, giving them the opportunity to participate in challenging competitive and recreational events; and
Whereas, Special Olympics New York is the largest state chapter in the country and the sixth largest in the world; the nonprofit organization serves more than 67,000 athletes, including children, youth, and adults, from all over the Empire State, providing them with an opportunity to compete in 22 sports, throughout the year; and
Whereas, in addition to these athletes and their devoted fans and families, the Special Olympics New York community includes more than 40,000 dedicated volunteers and more than 8,000 students in more than 220 Unified Champion Schools, where teams of students, both with and without intellectual disabilities, play competitive, inclusive, interscholastic Unified Sports; and
Whereas, this year, Special Olympics New York celebrates a remarkable 50 years of giving athletes not only the opportunity to play and enjoy a sport, but to become a champion; in the summer and winter, qualifying athletes come together for Olympic-style competitions at the exciting Special Olympics New York State Games that recognize a participant’s determination, training, goal-setting, and achievements and can even lead to the USA Games and the World Games; and
Whereas, today, on behalf of the people of the State of New York, I commend President & CEO Stacey Hengsterman, the Board of Directors, the hard-working staff of Special Olympics New York, the athletes, coaches, families, volunteers, partners, and all supporters on celebrating the milestone anniversary of the founding of this dynamic agency which will long continue to instill motivation, confidence, and wellness in aspiring athletes with special needs, now and in the generations to come;
Now, Therefore, I, Andrew M. Cuomo, Governor of the State of New York, do hereby proclaim March 6, 2020 as Special Olympics New York Day throughout the Empire State.
About Special Olympics New York
Celebrating its 50th anniversary, Special Olympics New York is the largest state chapter in the country, serving more than 68,000 athletes across New York with year-round sports training, athletic competition, and health screenings. The organization also partners with more than 220 schools statewide to offer Unified Sports. All Special Olympics New York programs are offered at no cost to athletes, their families or caregivers. For additional information about Special Olympics New York, to learn more about getting involved, or to make a donation, visit www.specialolympicsNY.org.
The Special Olympics New York Winter Games are coming to Rochester on February 21 and 22 with more than 1,000 athletes and coaches from around the state going for the gold in six sports: Alpine & Cross Country Skiing, Figure Skating, Floor Hockey, Snowboarding, and Snowshoe.
To celebrate, we’ve collected nine inspiring stories from each of our nine regions. Congratulations and best of luck to all competing!
Miguel Rivera – Western
When he was just 24 years old, Miguel Rivera was voted Team Captain of the Friends United floor hockey team. Now at 26, he’s hoping to lead his team to gold at the 2020 Winter Games.
Hailing from Akron, NY, Miguel has played numerous sports over the past eight years. He’s supportive by nature, which is part of the reason his coaches and teammates elected him.
“I like to help people,” Miguel said. “I can help my teammates learn the sports we play. We are a family and I love being a part of it.”
Miguel and Friends United will compete in our Floor Hockey competition.
Rory Palmer – Genesee
For Rory Palmer, skating isn’t just a sport. It’s a huge part of her life!
Rory has been a Special Olympics NY athlete for four years, during which time she’s competed in Figure Skating and Track & Field. In addition, she’s a member of U.S. Figure Skating and participates in dance figure skating and synchronized skating. She enjoys both self-improvement and helping her friends become better.
Rory will compete in Figure Skating at Winter Games.
Steve Williams – North Country
When it comes to Special Olympics NY events, Steve Williams has done it all.
In addition to competing in Snowshoe, Basketball, Softball, Track & Field, Golf, and Bowling, Steve also volunteers for Law Enforcement Torch Runs, Polar Plunges, Cops on Top, and most other events happening in the North Country. In all, he’s been a Special Olympics NY athlete and supporter for over 25 years.
“I enjoy participating in Special Olympics New York programs because it is a lot of fun and it keeps me going,” he said. “I enjoy it the most when you get to see other athletes compete, and hang out with them. Plus the coaches and volunteers are fun to be around too.”
Steve will compete in Snowshoe at Winter Games.
Omar Barry – Southern Tier
Omar Barry (left) may just be 17 years old, but that doesn’t mean he’s new to our competitions. He’s already been an athlete for six years!
Omar loves the comradery of team sports and enjoys meeting new friends from other regions. His best advice for competitors at Winter Games: “You got this.”
Look for Omar at our Alpine Skiing competition.
Vincent Femia – Central
Vincent Femia’s love of sports competition began with a phone call.
When his middle school teacher informed him about an upcoming Special Olympics NY Alpine Skiing competition, Vincent jumped at the opportunity. Within his first year, he became a gold medalist.
Now three decades later, Vincent is still competing and still earning gold medals. He’ll be on the slopes of Rochester this month, and don’t blink. If you do, you just might miss him!
Charlie, Lucas, and Joshua – New York City
Charlie Wint commutes over one hour to practice with his teammates. Lucas Perez is loving his first year of organized sports. And Joshua Delacruz is a vital member of his team, despite being just 17 years old.
Together, these athletes play for the P177Q-Panthers. They began this season with a gold-medal performance…and they’d like to end it with another! Look for them at Floor Hockey.
Liza Ambrosini – Capital District
Liza Ambrosini has been a Special Olympics NY alpine skier for nearly a decade. But she admits she wasn’t always ready to plunge down the mountain.
“I don’t like trying new things but my parents thought it would be a good idea to join Special Olympics,” Liza said. “I was very nervous…Now I love it. I love practicing with my teammates and have made new friends…Skiing is my favorite sport in the winter.”
Liza will compete in Alpine Skiing.
Curtis Waller – Long Island
For Curtis Waller (right), sports are all about steady improvement. He started training in Snowshoe just four years ago, yet he’s already advanced from the 25 meter event to the 100M. He’ll be competing in Snowshoe at Winter Games this year, and he can’t wait.
“I like everything about Special Olympics,” Curtis said. “I like Bocce and I like Snowshoe racing. I like my team and I like my coach.”
Louis Jost – Hudson Valley
For Louis Jost, Special Olympics competition has led to success on and off the field. As a five-sport athlete with 15 years of experience, he’s earned more than 80 medals at various competitions. As a member of his community, he works as an assistant sous chef in Hastings, NY.
Find Louis at Floor Hockey, where he hopes to add another medal to his collection.
Good luck athletes!
If you would like to support our athletes with a donation, please do so here.
Fans Who “Give $10, Get 10” on Social Media Entered To Win VIP Experience at Falcon Park
AUBURN, NY – The Auburn Doubledays today announced a fan contest to help bring back Special Olympics New York State Fall Games. Fans who donate $10 to the campaign and challenge 10 friends to donate $10 on social media using the hashtag #DOUBLEDAYSGIVESBACK will be entered to win VIP Experience including throwing out the first pitch, autographed team ball, $50 Doubleday Gift Card and 4 tickets to an Auburn Doubledays game. With each $10 donation with the hashtag #DOUBLEDAYSGIVESBACK, the fan will receive two vouchers for a game during the Doubledays 2020 season.
Special Olympics New York Fall Games were eliminated four years ago due to a lack in funding, leaving 19,000 fall sports athletes without an opportunity to compete at the statewide level. The organization, which serves children and adults with intellectual disabilities, aims to bring back Fall Games as it celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2020.
“This is a great opportunity to bring the Special Olympics New York Fall Games back and provide opportunities for athletes to participate and compete along with establishing lifelong friendships,” said Auburn Doubledays General Manager Adam Winslow.
“The absence of Fall Games has been a significant disappointment for our athletes, families and coaches, and has resulted in a decrease in overall participation in our sports programs, which can be life changing,” said Special Olympics New York President & CEO Stacey Hengsterman. “We’re so thankful to the Auburn Doubledays and its fans for supporting our campaign to bring back Fall Games, returning this vital opportunity to our athletes in 2020.”
To be entered to win, fans are asked to “Give $10, Get 10” by copy and pasting or personalizing the posts below into their status on social media:
I just donated $10 to bring back Fall Games for @SpecialOlympicsNewYork athletes. Now I challenge these 10 people to do the same! Friends, after you make your donation, copy/paste this to your status and tag 10 friends of your own to Give $10 Get 10. http://bit.ly/Give10_Get10 #SONY50 #DOUBLEDAYGIVESBACK
I just donated $10 to bring back Fall Games for @SpecOlympicsNY athletes, and I challenge these 10 people to do the same! Friends, after you make your donation, copy/paste this to your status and tag 10 friends of your own to Give $10 Get 10. http://bit.ly/Give10_Get10 #SONY50 #DOUBLEDAYSGIVESBACK
I just donated $10 to bring back Fall Games for @specialolympicsny athletes. Now I challenge these 10 people to do the same! Friends, after you make your donation, copy/paste this to your status and tag 10 friends of your own to Give $10 Get 10. Link to donate in @specialolympicsny bio. #SONY50 #DOUBLEDAYSGIVESBACK
Special Olympics New York fall sports include: bocce, bowling, cross country running, cycling, equestrian, flag football, golf, soccer, and softball. All donations are tax-deductible.
About Special Olympics New York
Special Olympics New York is the largest state chapter in the country, serving more than 67,000 athletes across New York with year-round sports training, athletic competition, and health screenings. The organization also partners with more than 170 schools statewide to offer Unified Sports. All Special Olympics New York programs are offered at no cost to athletes, their families or caregivers. For additional information about Special Olympics New York, to learn more about getting involved, or to make a donation, visit www.specialolympicsNY.org.
Member of New York State Law Enforcement Also Recognized for Outstanding Achievement
Aurora, CO – Athletes and a law enforcement partner representing Special Olympics New York earned several distinguished awards and recognitions at last week’s Law Enforcement Torch Run (LETR) International Conference in Aurora, Colorado. The statewide Special Olympics New York program earned the most prestigious fundraising award, the Diamond Award, for raising $2.1 million in 2019.
Athletes Kayla McKeon, of Syracuse, and Ed Lawless, of Albany, received the LETR International Executive Council Athlete Award, the highest honor bestowed upon an athlete by LETR recognizing those who positively impact both LETR and Special Olympics. Three athletes from across the country receive this award annually.
Additionally, retired Captain of Yonkers Police Department and current New York State LETR Director Joe Barca earned the John Carion Unsung Hero Award. Statewide Volunteer Photographer Ken Smith, of Cheektowaga, won the 3rd Place Professional Award for a photo he took at the 2018 Peter Aquilone Memorial Floor Hockey Tournament.
New York’s leadership was a centerpiece of the international conference, as Special Olympics New York Athlete Kevin Brown addressed participants and spoke on behalf of the 6 million athletes across the country who benefit from LETR programs. Brown was selected last year as a member of the LETR International Executive Council and serves as a member of the Special Olympics New York Board of Directors.
“Each year, we are fortunate to work with more than 6,000 law enforcement members across the state on activities and fundraising events that engage tens of thousands of New Yorkers in support of our athletes,” said Special Olympics New York President and CEO Stacey Hengsterman. “New York’s LETR team is the best of the best; and Joe, Ed, and Kayla each bring their own strengths to the program. Our sincerest congratulations to each of them on these international recognitions, and thanks to all of our LETR partners throughout New York for their continued support.”
“I have learned a great deal from participating in Special Olympics,” said Ed Lawless during his acceptance speech. “Not just how to play the game, but things like physical fitness, strength, confidence, determination, competition, sportsmanship, pride, independence, acceptance, friendship, and courage.”
“I am so very honored and humbled to accept this award,” said Kayla McKeon during her speech. “I have to give so much credit for my life achievements to Special Olympics. It was at a Special Olympics event that I did my first speech and found out how much I really liked it. It led me to speak to schools, colleges, and now all over the nation as the first federal registered lobbyist with Down syndrome.”
“I accept this award on behalf of all torch runners across these United States and the world,” said Joe Barca during his speech. “You all out there do the same thing that I do, just going out and doing what we can for the athletes.”
The LETR International Conference is the signature award presentation for the Law Enforcement Torch Run, which is Special Olympics’ largest national fundraiser. Law enforcement who volunteer for LETR are the ceremonial Guardians of the Flame, carrying the Flame of Hope throughout our country to local, regional, state, and national competitions. The International Conference, this year held in Aurora, CO, is LETR’s way of thanking those who make their runs possible.
About Special Olympics New York
Special Olympics New York is the largest state chapter in the country, serving more than 67,000 athletes across New York with year-round sports training, athletic competition, and health screenings. The organization also partners with more than 150 schools statewide to offer Unified Sports. All Special Olympics New York programs are offered at no cost to athletes, their families or caregivers. Learn more at www.specialolympicsNY.org and #SpecialOlympicsNY.
Monday May 6, 2019
ALBANY, NY — Special Olympics New York Unified Basketball season is underway, with games beginning in high schools throughout New York state last week.
More than 6,000 students from more than 150 schools in New York currently participate in Unified Sports, where an approximately equal number of students with and without intellectual disabilities play on the same team. In addition, youth leaders who participate in Unified sports are creating inclusive school communities where students of all abilities are accepted and celebrated.
Media planning to attend a game are encouraged to confirm with the host school, as games are subject to scheduling changes.
About Special Olympics New York
Special Olympics New York is the largest statewide Special Olympics chapter in the country, serving more than 67,000 athletes across New York with year-round sports training, athletic competition, and health screenings. The organization also partners with nearly 150 schools statewide to offer unified sports. All Special Olympics New York programs are provided at no cost to athletes, their families or caregivers. Learn more at www.specialolympicsNY.org and #SpecialOlympicsNY.
Robyn Armando, Vice President Marketing & Branding, (518) 930-4890, firstname.lastname@example.org