October 2014

Greetings Supporter,

The weekend of September 27 brought attention to the legacy of our founder by celebrating Eunice Kennedy Shriver (EKS) Day. Not coincidently, on September 22, the week started with the launch of a global initiative focused on youth activation and awareness building through the Play Unified campaign.

Mrs. Shriver would have been proud to see the schedule of events here in Maryland that was simply part of our existing plan. Over the weekend her legacy played out across the state as athletes practiced and competed on soccer fields, flag football fields, tennis courts, golf courses, in gyms for powerlifting and on roads for cycling.

Most notably Washington College hosted the state Kayaking Championships on the Chester River, where over 100 athletes competed in the 100m, 200m and 500m races (click here for the results). Mrs. Shriver would have loved watching those kayakers compete on this Olympic caliber course set up by 1972 USA Olympic Kayak Team member Jack Brosius, who also coaches the Upper Shore team.

In addition to competing over the weekend we had athlete leaders helping raise awareness and money on Saturday in Annapolis. In partnership with the Maryland Saltwater Sportfishing Association and Mike's Crab House, we hosted the first ever Maryland Rockfish Open where 45 boats raised over $27,000 for Special Olympics Maryland. Event participants were able to meet athletes Jimmy Myrick, Ezra Graham and Michael Heup, all of whom shared a little bit of themselves with the crowd during the post-tournament festivities.

The beauty of Play Unified is that it can come to life in many forms. The traditional form pairs Special Olympics athletes with their non-Special Olympics peers to form teams that compete against one another fostering the most inclusive pure sports experience on earth. But as the campaign unfolds, we will see Play Unified manifest itself in unique and spontaneous ways, all resulting in a transformative experience for all involved.

And so it was on Sunday at the Special Olympics Maryland Montgomery County Inspiration Walk. Right in Mrs. Shriver's backyard at Georgetown Prep in Bethesda, where the football team volunteered their time to support the 5k run and 2k walk/run, both of which included Special Olympics athletes and their non-Special Olympics peers among them families, friends and supporters. As the crowd waited for the remaining walkers, the football team noticed that Special Olympics athlete David Goday, who uses crutches to walk, was one of the last two individuals to finish. As they spotted him about 200 yards from the finish line they instinctively ran to David and followed him in, urging him the whole way with chants and words of encouragement. When David crossed the finish line, one of the players turned and spotted one of our "senior" athletes, Nan Gootenburg who at that point was about 150 yards from the finish. The player shouted, "We gotta go back, there is still one more…let's go." They afforded Nan the same triumphant journey that David experienced and the crowd went wild with a full range of emotions. A fitting tribute to the legacy of Mrs. Shriver who always challenged us to secure a better future by engaging youth. With an indelible stamp imprinted by David and Nan among others, the lives of these boys who played unified on this 4th annual EKS Day weekend will never be the same.


#PlayUnified,


James C. Schmutz
President and CEO

Athlete News & Views

Adam competing in Cyclocross at the 2014 USA Games

Social interaction is a very important need within a human being's life, especially to those withintellectual disabilities. For many years people with intellectual disabilities were treated with little respect and were seen as unable contribute to society. Then Eunice Kennedy Shriver came along and began Special Olympics, which has thrived and given athletes a place to shine and feel respected in our community! Special Olympics Maryland is an organization I am proud to be part of as an athlete, leader, and employee.
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Upcoming Events

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Change doesn’t happen from the Sidelines

History has demonstrated with clarity the absolute powerful role sports can play in igniting social change, raising awareness, and achieving social justice. Jackie Robinson. Billie Jean King. Jesse Owens. Loretta Claiborne. These athletes represent just a few of the countless numbers of athletes and coaches who have helped to shape opinions, open doors, and change people’s hearts and minds.
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Meet the Brow Family

Back Row, From L-R: Tevin Sanders, Syndey Windsor, Andrew Brow, Greg Brow
Second Row, from L-R: Madeline Guay, Ben Stevick, Lindsay Brow, Heather Brow
Center, Sitting: Chief Doug Holland – Hyattsville Police Dept.

Meet the Brow Family: Parents Peggy & Roger and their children: Andrew, Greg, Heather & Lindsay. Like most families, we enjoy being involved in things like sports, school activities and community events. One thing that sets us apart from others is that our entire family has been involved with the Special Olympics Maryland Prince George’s County Aquatics team.
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Spaulding Joins Elite Class in the LETR Hall of Fame

Chief Jeff Spaulding, Westminster Police Dept.
In early September, the 2014 International Law Enforcement Torch Run (LETR) Conference was held in New Orleans, Louisiana. Did you know that the Maryland LETR was recognized as the 5th highest grossing program in the world? And did you also know that Chief Jeff Spaulding, from the Westminster Police Department, was inducted into the International Torch Run Hall of Fame, the most prestigious award in the Torch Run community?
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Wawa and Leidos Help Dreams Come True

Ask 160 athletes where the summer went and the will gladly share their memories of Princeton, New Jersey which hosted the 2014 Special Olympics USA Games from June 14 to 21. With over 3,500 athletes from all 50 states and the District of Columbia, these Games were the largest sporting event in the world in 2014. By comparison, the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi had 2,873 athletes and the 2014 World Cup in Brazil with only 35 teams had less than 1,000 athletes.
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Myth: Special Olympics only serves individuals with intellectual disabilities.

FACT: Thanks to Unified Sports®, people with and without intellectual disabilities compete on the same team. It was inspired by a simple principle: training together and playing together is a quick path to friendship and understanding. Traditional unified teams are made up of people of similar age and ability, which makes practices more fun and games more challenging and exciting for all. Having sport in common is just one more way that preconceptions and false ideas are swept away. The Unified Sports concept has grown to include player development unified where the non-Special Olympics teammate helps facilitate play in a non-dominant role. Recreational Unified sports opportunities are just that, roll out the ball, pick teams and go play. These programs allow for broader participation and contribute to helping build more inclusive communities of dignity and respect.

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We need your support

Athletes don't pay to play

Did you know that an athlete does not pay to participate in Special Olympics Maryland? A gift of $100 will cover the cost of an athlete to compete at the Fall Sports Tournament at the end of this month. You can help make this possible…it's only a click away.

Volunteer Opportunities

If you’re inspired by the lives being transformed through Special Olympics Maryland, there are dozens of ways you can get involved. Visit us online to learn how you can volunteer.

Giving Tuesday

Spending Wisely in Maryland

86% of every dollar raised is spent on sports training and competition, and athlete retention and recruitment.

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