December 2015

Greetings Supporter,

There is no off season in Special Olympics. On December 6th, we culminated our Fall season with our state Bowling Championships presented by The Sons of the American Legion and hosted by our good friends at Bowl America in Gaithersburg, along with support from a dedicated team of volunteers.  Click here to view the results of the competition.

Basketball teams, Alpine Skiers and Snowshoe athletes are practicing as the winter season starts. And our spring season will be fast upon us.

On December 17th at the I-STEP Fitness Center in Rockville power lifting Coach LJ Belsito provided Special Olympics Maryland Power Lifter Thomas Moore the opportunity to achieve a personal record in the dead lift. At the power lifting state championship competition on October 24th Thomas pulled 375 lbs. in the dead lift to win a gold medal in his weight class division. His previous personal best in competition was 390 lbs at the 2014 Special Olympics USA Summer Games. Coach Belisto provided the opportunity on December 17th to draw attention to Thomas’ passion for power lifting. Thomas delivered and made Coach Belisto, his parents and a small gathering of supporters proud as he pulled 402 lbs (easy according to LJ), then went to 410 lbs and hit 418 lbs on his third and final lift of the night.

Back on December 1st, we celebrated Giving Tuesday in a number of ways which included an Evening with Champions celebration at Argyle Country Club in Silver Spring which is highlighted in an article in this issue.  Montgomery County athletes David Godoy, Julian English and Loren Plaxen demonstrated their leadership in spreading awareness about Special Olympics Maryland. They wowed the crowd in their unique way and provided a glimpse of the potential of individuals with intellectual disabilities to impact their communities. They shared compelling stories of triumph and how Special Olympics has helped transform their lives. Four year old Bella Hicks and her parents Chris and Kari represented the next generation of athletes with a story of hope. And 2015 Special Olympics World Games Bronze medalist in sailing, Terrel Limerick was recognized as the Montgomery County athlete of the year. The evening was featured online in Bethesda Magazine’s social scene. Click here to read more about the event and view several photos.

Our athletes continue to change the world having made over 450 athlete leadership public appearances this year. They will continue to play a pivotal recruiting role in our relentless pursuit of getting more athletes off the sideline and into the game. Together we run hard, knowing that for every one athlete on the track, court or field there are 14 on the sideline. 

And you can help. Because our athletes train and compete at no cost, we need financial resources to the tune of an average of $203 per athlete per season. Think about it, a $1000 donation will fund five athletes, that’s only a portion of one basketball roster. If you want to make a year-end contribution you can click here to donate now. If you are interested in volunteering you can click here to learn more about volunteer opportunities and register to become a certified volunteer so you’re ready to go when the right opportunity arises. 

So as we run through the finish line of the calendar year and head for 2016, I want to thank all of our coaches, family members, volunteers and donors for their commitment to our athletes. And I ask that you join me in celebrating our 7,169 athletes as the greatest individual gifts to our communities across the state


James C. Schmutz
President and CEO

This is a photo of David Godoy speaking at the "Evening with Champions" event.

Elaina Camacho

Hometown:  Owings Mills, MD

Joined Special Olympics: 1996

Sports:  Soccer, Aquatics, Basketball, Snow Shoe & Bowling

Excited about: being a Global Messenger and the Vice Chair of Athlete Congress.

Wants you to know: she may be shy at first, but she is kind, warm-hearted and very giving. 

Video link:  click here to meet Elaina and hear her message

Upcoming Events


Special Events:

An Evening with Champions

Several athletes from Montgomery County attended an
Evening with Champions at the Arglye Country Club.  

Special Olympics Maryland hosted an Evening with Champions at Argyle Country Club on December 1st. Montgomery County Athletes David Godoy, Julian English, Loren Plaxen shared compelling stories of triumph and how Special Olympics has helped transform their lives. Bella Hicks and her parents Chris and Kari represented the next generation of athletes with a story of hope. And 2015 Special Olympics World Games Bronze medalist in sailing, Terrel Limerick was recognized as the Montgomery County athlete of the year. 

Delegate Eric Luedtke was among the 60 guests which included families, volunteers and friends. Delegate Luedtke shared his experience with this Facebook post, “Awesome to have the chance to join the amazing athletes and volunteers…” This Giving Tuesday event showcased these athlete leaders as the best advocates for influencing us to recognize and embrace their abilities.

Special Olympics Maryland transforms the lives of over 7,100 individuals with intellectual disabilities, their families and communities, every day through meaningful sport experiences, health promotion, leadership programs and expanded awareness. Our athletes lead the way in helping to build interactive inclusive communities of dignity and respect on and off the field throughout the state. Click here view more photos from the event posted by Bethesda Magazine. 

Finish Line Donates Athletic Shoes to
Athletes in Washington County

Last Wednesday, Dec. 16th, ten athletes in Washington County received their first gift of the holiday season...a brand new pair of athletic shoes.  The employees from the Finish Line store at Valley Mall in Hagerstown were eager to help each of the athletes pick out a new pair of shoes.  Many different bold colors and styles were chosen expressing personal style. This was a great opportunity to buy specific shoes for certain sports as well.  This is all part of the "One Sole Purpose" campaign with Finish Line and Special Olympics programs throughout the United States.  Many thanks to Finish Line and congratulations to the following athletes in Washington County: Donnie Harmon, Jordan Scardina, Nova Boward, Patrick Speaker, Rebecca Sullivan, Richie Dobson, Sarah Rooney, Scott Ashworth and Steve Corderman. 

Adam Powell Pays Tribute to
Eunice Kennedy Shriver


Adam Powell, 7th Grader at Franklin Middle School in Baltimore County was nominated to apply for a Ben Carson scholar award, based on grades. Each school chooses one representative to continue on to the overall county nomination process. As part of the application each student has to write a short article or essay based on the following prompt. 

I admire Eunice Kennedy for many reasons. One reason is because I volunteer for Special Olympics. I am an assistant coach for track and field and I play on a Unified soccer team, as a unified partner. Special Olympics has given me an opportunity to interact with people with disabilities and to understand them better. I have been involved with Special Olympics for my whole life. The second reason why I admire Eunice Kennedy Shriver is that she was brave enough to speak up for people with disabilities in a time when many people did not agree with her. Another reason I admire her is that she could have done anything she wanted with her time and money but she chose to help other people. In addition to starting Special Olympics, Eunice served on many committees to help people with disabilities get more rights and services. Special Olympics exists in countries all over the world and Eunice Kennedy Shriver is recognized around the world for starting Special Olympics and for helping people with disabilities. She won many awards including the U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom. This is the highest honor that a civilian can earn in the United States.

Click here to read Adam's entire essay.

MYTH:  Special Olympics receives most of its donations through corporate sponsorship.

FACT:  The majority of our donations come from individuals and not from our corporate sponsors. In 2014, individual gifts given through special events and personal donations accounted for 72% of the revenue received by Special Olympics Maryland.  

Keep Special Olympics Maryland in your Year End Giving Plans

It's more than just sports for Julia and Carmen. Their friendship as a result of Unified Sports has helped both of them grow in ways they never expected.  Help us reach more athletes and provide life changing experiences with your support.  It's only a click away! 


The countdown for the 2016 Polar Bear Plunge has begun. Special thanks to all our sponsors! 


Do you donate through an 
Employee Giving Campaign?

Employee Giving Campaigns are in full swing. Here's a list of designation codes if you would like your donation to benefit Special Olympics Maryland:

United Way of the National Capital Area: 8888
Combined Federal Campaign (CFC): 1992
Combined Charity Campaign: 4264
Maryland Charity Campaign: 4525

United Way of Central Maryland: There is no code for this campaign. You need to "write in" Special Olympics Maryland to designate your donation.

Questions? Contact Sue Jacobs at


Bravelets will donate $10 back to Special Olympics Maryland for every item purchased. Click here for more information


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