Delaware North Partners with Special Olympics New York to Grow Unified Sports in Schools
Hospitality Giant Commits To $100,000 Investment in Inclusion Over 4 Years
Buffalo, NY – Special Olympics New York President & CEO Stacey Hengsterman and Delaware North Chief Corporate Affairs officer Jack McNeill today announced a 4-year, $100,000 partnership to grow Unified Sports and inclusion in local schools.
“Delaware North is proud to support Special Olympics New York and salutes our talented local athletes. We share the belief that every student should have the opportunity to feel the thrill of competition and learn the leadership and confidence-building lessons that come from participation in sports,” said Jack McNeill.
“When you give students the opportunity, they will choose to include,” said Hengsterman. “We are proud and grateful to be working with Delaware North to bring the opportunity of inclusion, friendship and acceptance to more and more Western New York schools.”
The Special Olympics New York Unified Champion Schools program offers students with and without intellectual disabilities the opportunity to play on the same sports team. Participating students also lead events and activities throughout the year that encourage their peers to practice and value inclusion.
There are currently more than 300 Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools in New York that directly engage more than 6,000 students with and without disabilities, including 50 schools in the Western Region.
The program reduces bullying and teasing, overturns negative stereotypes and spurs healthy social interactions among students.
The partnership announcement was made at Delaware North headquarters today in Buffalo, where company executives and Special Olympics New York athletes also teamed up for a competitive game of Unified Bocce.
Cheektowaga High School Unified Coach Brian Pane said: “There was an immediate change in school culture when our students started playing unified nearly 10 years ago. Students with and without disabilities at Cheektowaga are more than teammates. They are friends on and off the court and leaders in and out of school. Thank you to Special Olympics New York and Delaware North for giving this program the room it needs to grow.”
About Delaware North
Delaware North is a global leader in the hospitality and entertainment industry. The company annually serves more than a half-billion guests across three continents, including at high-profile sports venues, airports, national and state parks, restaurants, resorts, hotels and casinos. Building on more than a century of enduring partnerships and a commitment to local communities and sustainability, Delaware North’s vision is to delight guests by creating the world’s best experiences today while reimagining tomorrow. Learn more at www.DelawareNorth.com.
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 300 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 and a four-star rating from Charity Navigator, 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.