INSIDE SOSC: What a Week It Was at SOSC

There was so much going on this first half of April within Special Olympics Southern California, we thought we would bring you up to speed. 

The first half of the month ended on Saturday with five competitions throughout Southern California, including the Los Angeles/San Gabriel Valley Regional Spring Games at Azusa Pacific University and Santa Clarita Valley/Tri-Valley Regional Spring Games at Crescenta Valley High School.

It also included the continuation of an amazing partnership with the John R. Wooden Award and an opportunity for SOSC Athletes to play against college’s best players in an annual tournament. SOSC President and CEO Bill Shumard was also honored with the inaugural Tommy Hawkins Game-Changer Award.

The month also includes the annual partnership with Albertsons, Vons and Pavilion, as well as Claim Jumper. The annual giving campaign at the grocery stores allows shoppers to give at checkout all this month. On April 12, the 18 Claim Jumpers throughout Southern California held the annual Tip-A-Cop with local law enforcement agencies. There was also Capitol Hill Day in Sacramento where April 11 was designated Special Olympics Day in the state of California.

Here is more on all these amazing moments.

Bill Shumard Named Wooden Award’s Tommy Hawkins Game-Changer

The John R. Wooden Award steering committee honored Bill Shumard, President/CEO of Special Olympics Southern California (SOSC) as the inaugural recipient of the Tommy Hawkins Game-Changer Award.

The Tommy Hawkins Game-Changer Award, named in honor of the late Tommy Hawkins who was a Wooden Award Board Member and former Co-National Chairman of the steering committee, was presented on Thursday, April 5 at the Los  Angeles Athletic Club during the annual “Dukes Dinner.” The dinner is a coming-together of the 2018 Wooden Award women’s and men’s All-American basketball team members, their collegiate coaches and a small gathering of the most important people to the success of the JRWA program.

At “Duke’s Dinner” (named in honor of Wooden Award founder and former National Chairman, Duke Llewellyn), the Tommy Hawkins Game-Changer Award trophy was presented by Tommy’s wife Layla Hawkins, LAAC President Steve Hathaway and Wooden Award Chairman Sam Laganà.  Bill spoke to the gathering of guests for this private dinner at the Millennial Ballroom of the Los Angeles Athletic Club.

Adopted in 2017, The Tommy Hawkins Game-Changer Award recognizes a sports organization leader that uses their platform to create a positive experience in sports and community engagement. The Wooden Award has had a long-standing relationship with SOSC, hosting an annual basketball tournament. The Wooden Award/SOSC one-day tournament features the Wooden Award All-Americans and their coaches assisting SOSC teams selected to play in the event on the Wooden Award Court at the Los Angeles Athletic Club (LAAC).

The JRWA program includes the honors for women and men of the Wooden Award Most Outstanding Player of the Year, honors the Wooden Award All-American Team, the Wooden Award Legends of Coaching Award and the Tommy Hawkins Game-Changer Award.

SOSC Spends Day at the Hill; April 11 Marked as Special Olympics Day

Athletes and representatives from Special Olympics Southern California (SOSC) and Special Olympics Northern California (SONC) converged on the California State Capitol Building to advocate as part of Special Olympics Hill Day on Wednesday, April 11.

Assemblyman Jim Frazier (D–Oakley) has been instrumental in the planning and execution of Special Olympics Hill Day and continues to be a champion for SONC and SOSC athletes. Frazier was honored as SONC’s Volunteer of the Year in 2016, authored a Special Olympics Day proclamation last year and carried a legislation (AB 2371) that allowed taxpayers to donate to Special Olympics in California directly from their California income tax forms. He has also volunteered at SONC Summer Games, held annually at University of California, Davis, for the past 13 years.

Following Special Olympics Hill Day, SONC and SOSC were recognized on the assembly floor during session on the afternoon of Thursday, April 12. A resolution (ACR 210) sponsored by Frazier received 67 co-authors and it was adopted during the Floor session, making it official that April 11, 2018 is Special Olympics Day in California. Read more HERE.

Claim Jumper Tip-A-Cop ‘a Big Success’

PHOTOS: 2018 Claim Jumper Tip-A-Cop

The Fountain Valley Police Department and LAPD Devonshire organize two of the stronger Claim Jumper Tip-A-Cop fundraisers each year, and this year was no different. And we were at both on Thursday.

In Northridge, LAPD Devonshire pulled out all the stops, including the volunteer calvary. Horses included. Santa Clarita Valley/Tri-Valley athlete Samantha Doner was there. She is an employee for the Claim Jumper in Northridge and was working her shift as host during the event. Also there were athletes Elijah Rayner, Destry Walker, Luke Rose and Allen Wales.

In Fountain Valley, the FVPD was joined by members of the Fountain Valley Fire Department, and the agency treated restaurant goers to a canine demonstration in addition to visiting tables with local Special Olympics athletes.

Athletes in attendance included Ryan Scobell, who has been part of Special Olympics Southern California for 23 years.

“It raises money and helps people,” Ryan said. “It’s teamwork.”

Brian Mosher, a police corporal and detective for crime suppression unit, coordinated the Fountain Valley location’s event.

“It’s a big success,” he said. “That’s based on our community, along with the officers that help volunteer their time.

“[The athletes] love to be part of it. Seeing the smile on their face is what makes us happy.”

Spring Action Continues

PHOTOS: 2018 Tri-Valley Regional Spring Games
PHOTOS: 2018 Azusa Pacific Regional Spring Games – Athletics

Athletes from as far as Kern County and as close as Glendale took part in the 2018 Tri-Valley Regional Spring Games at Crescenta Valley High School on Saturday. The athletes participated in bocce, basketball, and track and field events.

The school’s students, including the baseball team, were among the volunteers, and Los Angeles County sheriffs from the Crescenta Valley station handed out medals and ribbons. Attendees included Special Olympics Southern California Board of Directors Chairman Jeff Krieger and state Sen. Anthony Portantino (D–La Cañada Flintridge).

“It’s about families,” the senator said after addressing the crowd. “To me, this is a quintessential family event.

“I always say life is about how you approach hurdles, and hurdles can be approached as an obstacle that deters you or something you go over. The athletes and the families that are here are moving forward with joy. Whatever curveballs life has thrown them, they hit to the best of their ability and try to maximize their potential. … I think society can learn a lot from that.”

Sen. Portantino also stressed the importance of continuing to provide the necessary funding in support of the athletes.

For athletes like Ashlee Bahr, a track and field standout from Santa Clarita Valley, the benefits of Special Olympics programs go beyond the competitions. Ashlee, who has cerebral palsy and epilepsy, noted the health and social aspects.

“It’s helped me get stronger and it’s helped me make new friends,” said Ashlee, who will be among the 70 Southern California athletes headed to Seattle for the 2018 Special Olympics USA Games in July.

Inside the SOSC is a blog written by staff member Tracy McDannald. John Shaffer, manager of public relations and social media, contributed to this report. It is a more feature-style approach to looking inside what makes Special Olympics Southern California so unique, so special. It is meant to explore the people and their stories. One word at a time.

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