SPECIAL OLYMPICS TO HOST A UNIFIED SOCCER DEMONSTRATION AT THE CALIFORNIA STATE CAPITOL
SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Athletes and representatives from Special Olympics Southern California (SOSC) and Special Olympics Northern California (SONC) will converge on the California State Capitol Building for a Unified Soccer demonstration, a proclamation and more as part of Special Olympics California Hill Day beginning at 11 a.m. on Monday, May 22.
Assemblyman Jim Frazier (D – Oakley) will host the unique event in an effort to raise awareness and increased funding for Special Olympics programs throughout the state. Frazier worked to secure a $1 million appropriation in the budget last year to expand Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools Program, which resulted in 300 additional schools in the program within a year. The Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools Program combines Unified Sports, inclusive youth leadership and whole-school engagement to create more accepting and inclusive school campus communities.
Special Olympics athletes and staff will meet with key representatives within the capitol to advocate for a renewal of government funding for the upcoming year. To showcase the programs firsthand, Special Olympics will invite members of the capitol to witness a Unified Soccer demonstration on the north lawn of the building beginning at 11 a.m. Students from nearby Whitney High School and Rocklin High School will compete in the Unified match, which brings together students in special education with their general education peers to play on the same team. SONC President and CEO David Solo and SOSC President and CEO Bill Shumard will be in attendance.
Following the Unified match, Special Olympics athletes will join Solo and Shumard on the senate floor to receive a proclamation from California Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, which honors Special Olympics and the impact felt within the community.
Frazier was honored as SONC’s Volunteer of the Year in 2016 and, along with securing funds in 2016 for Unified Strategy for Schools, carried a legislation (AB 2371) that allowed taxpayers to donate to Special Olympics in California directly from their income tax forms. He has also volunteered at SONC Summer Games, held annually at University of California, Davis, for the past 12 years.
SONC and SOSC provide free year-round sports and competition programs to more than 51,000 children and adults with intellectual disabilities across the state. In addition, Special Olympics encourages inclusion and anti-bullying through the Unified Champion Schools Program and is committed to improving the health and well-being of athletes through a variety of screenings and programs.
About Special Olympics Northern California
Special Olympics Northern California (SONC) is dedicated to enriching the lives of children and adults with intellectual disabilities through sports, education and athlete health. The 501(c)3 nonprofit organization offers free year-round training and competition programs for 21,250 athletes who compete in a combined 236 competitions in 14 sports. In addition, SONC is increasing its presence in schools through the Schools Partnership Program to promote inclusion at an early age; and is encouraging the growth of Unified Sports®, bringing together athletes with and without intellectual disabilities to play as teammates. Along with athletic programs and work in the classroom, SONC is committed to improving the overall health and well-being of individuals with intellectual disabilities through Healthy Athletes events, offering screenings and services free of charge. SONC relies on the support of 20,490 volunteers and funding from individuals, organizations, corporations, government and foundations. More information may be found by visiting www.sonc.org and following on Facebook and Twitter @SONorCal and Instagram @SpecialOlympicsNCA.
About Special Olympics Southern California
Special Olympics Southern California enriches the lives of more than 29,753 athletes with intellectual disabilities and their communities through sports, leadership, and health programs. Founded in 1969 by Olympic decathlon gold medalist Rafer Johnson, Special Olympics Southern California provides free year-round sports training and competitions to children and adults with intellectual disabilities. Participation develops improved physical fitness and motor skills and greater self-confidence. Special Olympics has become the world’s largest movement dedicated to promoting respect, acceptance, inclusion, and human dignity for people with intellectual disabilities. Using sports as the catalyst and programming around health and education, Special Olympics is fighting inactivity, injustice and intolerance. As a result, people with intellectual disabilities become accepted and valued members of their communities, which leads to a more respectful and inclusive society for all. Special Olympics Southern California has earned a 4-star ranking from Charity Navigator for exceeding industry standards. This ranking is the highest Charity Navigator offers to an organization and is given because Special Olympics has demonstrated strong financial health and a commitment to accountability and transparency. Learn how you can get involved at www.sosc.org.