Special Olympics Southern California will host A Weekend of Virtual Inclusion on June 6 and 7 as an interactive, alternative experience to the canceled 2020 Summer Games Championship.
Due to the impact of COVID-19, the Spring Sports Season, including Summer Games, was canceled, but SOSC still seeks to unite all people and celebrate the passion of its athletes, volunteers, and supporters through two free virtual events on June 6: The Rafer Johnson Breakfast With Champions and an Athlete and Volunteer Dance. Athletes, volunteers, and the general public are welcome to dance, be inspired, and donate. Learn more at www.sosc.org/VirtualWeekend.
“The global pandemic has affected over 38,000 athletes who usually would be training and competing during this time,” said SOSC President and CEO Bill Shumard. “The Stay at Home orders, while necessary, are having a profound effect on the physical and mental health of Special Olympics athletes. We will continue to unite communities, spread acceptance, and celebrate our athletes through fun, creative ways to keep them engaged and active.”
SOSC’s goal during A Weekend of Virtual Inclusion is to raise $150,000 to provide free health and wellness programming for children and adults with intellectual disabilities during the health crisis and long-term. Since April 6, over 760 athletes and friends have signed up to participate in the Healthy Lifestyle Challenge, an online-based SOSC fitness and nutrition program. SOSC is making preparations to continue to offer virtual experiences as its athletes practice safe social distancing.
The Rafer Johnson Breakfast With Champions
A Weekend of Virtual Inclusion will include many of the same elements of Summer Games, including the annual Rafer Johnson Breakfast With Champions. This year’s virtual breakfast, which celebrates the passion of sports, is free and will take place on Saturday, June 6 at 10 a.m. on Facebook Live. Learn more at www.sosc.org/bwc.
The event will include inspirational speeches from SOSC athlete Joshua Levine and his dad Mark Levine about how SOSC has transformed their lives. During the traditional Parade of Champions, SOSC will pair athletes with volunteer champions and highlight all of what they do to contribute to Special Olympics. Bill Shumard and event chair and SOSC Board Member Tom Stevens will also share encouraging words during the Breakfast.
“Long-time supporter Stuart Matsuda and I believe in the SOSC mission so much that we will match every dollar donated, up to $70,000 made up in our firm and personal contributions,” said Stevens. “Whether you give through your company or make a private donation, every dollar matters. The gifts that you provide will help SOSC continue to provide important health and wellness programming for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, which is critical now more than ever.”
To donate or sponsor an athlete, visit www.sosc.org/bwc/donate.
Athlete and Volunteer Dance
One of the greatest parts of the Summer Games experience is the athlete dance. The moment gives athletes an opportunity to unwind after competing and unite for a fun dance party. Social events, like the dance, are crucial for people with intellectual disabilities growth, as social distancing and isolation can have an even strong impact on them. On June 6, SOSC will host a virtual Athlete and Volunteer Dance from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Zoom, Facebook Live, and Youtube Live. This free virtual event will have a live DJ set, and all athletes and volunteers are welcome. The event is sponsored by Sony Pictures Entertainment. Learn more at www.sosc.org/VirtualWeekend.
Share Your Favorite Summer Games Memory
SOSC is encouraging all members of its community to share their favorite Summer Games memory on social media by using the #SOSCSummerMemories hashtag. We want to connect all of us through our joy and love for Special Olympics so start dusting off those old photos and think about what has made the Games special to you.
A Weekend of Virtual Inclusion is sponsored by Albertsons Vons Pavilions. The co-presenting sponsor is Kaiser Permanente. For more information about A Weekend of Virtual Inclusion, visit www.sosc.org/VirtualWeekend.
Special Olympics Southern California
Special Olympics Southern California enriches the lives of 38,200 athletes and their communities through sports, leadership programs, and athlete health. Our free, year-round programs lead to improved health, self-confidence, and independence among athletes with intellectual disabilities and acceptance and inclusion in the community. Special Olympics Southern California has earned a four-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 more at http://www.sosc.org.