Three-Year Strategic Partnership to Support Athlete Leaders & Provide Workforce Training

Albany, NY – New York State Industries for the Disabled, Inc. (NYSID) and Special Olympics New York today announced a three-year $90,000 sponsorship to support an expansion of the Special Olympics NY Athlete Leadership Program, which empowers select athletes as messengers for the organization by providing public speaking training as well as opportunities to mentor their fellow athletes.

Graduates of the six-week program often accompany Special Olympics New York executive leadership at speaking engagements, fundraise on behalf of the organization, are featured in media interviews, and encourage and support athletes in their region as they train, compete, and go for the gold.

Drawing on NYSID’s expertise throughout the state, Special Olympics NY athletes will now also receive workforce training and internship opportunities from NYSID member organizations.

“NYSID is an organization that helps empower people of all abilities by providing job training, employment opportunities, and much more,” said NYSID President and CEO Maureen O’Brien. “Together, NYSID and Special Olympics New York are removing boundaries for people with disabilities and putting them in a position to lead a higher quality life, not only for themselves but for those around them. This sponsorship is the beginning of a powerful long-term partnership between our organizations, one we are proud to have in place ahead of the 50th anniversary of Special Olympics New York.”

“Special Olympics New York athletes are leading an inclusion revolution, showing the world all that’s possible when individuals, schools, and communities choose to include people of all abilities,” said Special Olympics New York President & CEO Stacey Hengsterman. “Our Athlete Leadership Program fosters their dedication and commitment to the movement and positions athletes to put their talents to work as volunteers, coaches, fundraisers, and spokespeople. We are so grateful to Maureen O’Brien and NYSID for helping us grow this program and take it to the next level by creating new employment opportunities for our graduates.”

“Because of the Athlete Leadership program, I have learned how to tell my story to companies like Google that want to support Special Olympics New York and athletes like me,” said Special Olympics New York Athlete and Employee Jude Killar, a graduate of the program. “It has also helped me become a valued employee. I am happy to be able to help support my fellow athletes by sharing what I have experienced by being a part of Special Olympics New York and the inclusion revolution!”

“American Maintenance is proud to support Special Olympics,” said Chris Alex, president of NYSID Corporate Partner, American Maintenance, said. “As an employer of over 200 individuals with disabilities, we understand that people of all abilities are capable of amazing things. When their potential is realized, they become leaders in their communities and improve their lives and the lives of those around them. We are delighted to join the partnership with NYSID and Special Olympics as we remove stigmas and barriers for people, enabling them to live better lives.”

Participation in Special Olympics New York sports helps people with intellectual disabilities achieve joy, acceptance, and success. The confidence they gain through athletic achievement impacts them beyond the playing field and helps them succeed in all areas of life. The Special Olympics Athlete Leadership Program, carried out in partnership with local media outlets, colleges and universities, and public and private businesses, teaches athletes to effectively develop their personal story and present it to an audience.



NYSID is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit business with the mission of “advancing employment and other opportunities for individuals with disabilities.” Established in 1975, NYSID facilitates employment opportunities for nearly 6,000 New Yorkers with disabilities annually through New York’s Preferred Source Program. NYSID’s community rehabilitation member agencies and corporate partners are located throughout the state, providing jobs in the community and in production facilities. For more information, visit www.nysid.org.


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.