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Special Olympics Chicago

The Special Olympics movement was born in the great city of Chicago, with the first International Special Olympics Games held on July 20, 1968 at Soldier Field. Since then, Special Olympics Chicago has grown to serve more than 5,000 athletes in 22 sports. Our mission is to provide year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes and the community. Special Olympics Chicago also provides motor activities training programs for persons with severe and profound disabilities. Special Olympics Chicago is a partnership between Special Children's Charities, the Chicago Park District, Chicago Public Schools and Special Olympics Illinois. Because of Special Olympics, the world has witnessed the courage, character, dedication, dignity and worth of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

No snow? No problem! Thanks to your support, our athletes are enjoying a full day of snowshoe competition!

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Check out our online store for great stocking stuffers including a 2016 calendar featuring artwork produced by our talented athletes! With thanks for your support during this holiday season! Click here to start shopping: http://sochicago.org/shop/

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#MotivationalMonday: "Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love." Lao Tzu

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#AthletesSupportingAthletes! A great day for some of our superstars as they visited with The University of Chicago student athletes! New skills learned and training tips shared. Grateful to all for this memorable opportunity. Go Maroons!

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Our attitude is one of gratitude! Thanks in advance for your support this #GivingTuesday! #CanDoThanksToYou

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We are excited to once again be the charitable partner of the F^3 Events Lake Half Marathon & 5k presented by REM-Fit on January 23! Register before the December 1st price increase and reserve your spot in Chicago's original Winter Half Marathon! Register here:

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7th Annual F^3 Lake Half Marathon & 5k Presented By REM-Fit - 2016
http://www.runningguru.com
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On #GivingTuesday you'll be able to reserve your spot at North Avenue Beach for the very fun #ChicagoPolarPlunge! Our 2016 event will take place on Sunday, March 6 so mark your calendars!

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#TBT to when The Today Show's Tamron Hall, Willie Geist, Natalie Morales & Al Roker promised to do the 2016 #ChicagoPolarPlunge!

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"How delightful to find a friend in everyone." - Joseph Brodsky

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#CanDoThanksToYou! These talented athletes are headed to the National Intramural Recreation Sports Association/Special Olympics North America Flag Football tournament in Maryland and made a quick fun lunch stop. Another great opportunity made possible through your support!

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Special thanks to our friends at Bridgeport News for sharing these wonderful stories about our athletes!
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Ajani Powell, 23, is this month’s Southland Area Bridgeport News Athlete of the Month. Ajani has been competing with the Special Olympics Chicago program for about six years. He started competing while attending high school at the Ray Graham Training Center, and since graduating has continued to participate at McGuane Park, as part of the McGuane Magic. Ajani competes in a number of sports including floor hockey skills, volleyball skills, soccer skills, track and field, and football skills. But his favorite sport to compete in is bowling.

Ajani has been with the McGuane Magic for over a year. He is very eager to try new sports and has a genuine passion to learn. Recently, Ajani competed in the soccer skills competition at Warren Park for the first-time ever.

He has experienced a series of accomplishments since joining Special Olympics Chicago. Ajani was so excited when he won his first gold medal in track and field, he threw his hands up in victory while standing on the platform in front of hundreds of spectators. His mother Diana says that to this day that picture hangs over their family mantle.

Ajani lives in the Park Manor area with his parents, Ward and Diana, his siblings, Jabari, Cakiya, Maia, and Kailewa, as well as his grandad and grandma. He is surrounded by an incredibly loving family who loves, supports and protects him. His mother, Diana, says: “Ajani is a happy, kind, and sharing human being. He is a gift from heaven. Ajani is able to teach us every day about true happiness.”

In his free time, Ajani loves to be out and about in the city. He loves going to restaurants, shopping, and visiting the library. He also enjoys reading with his mother. Ajani says his favorite thing to do when he is not competing is, ““I like to go shopping with my mom, and talk to my friends on the phone.”

When asked what he would like people to know about the Special Olympics Chicago program, Ajani says, “Special Olympics is fun. I like to play sports a lot. I want to win first place!”

“Ajani is an absolute to joy to be around,” says Kate McIntosh, Coach of the McGuane Magic. “His happiness and positive energy is contagious and inspiring, and we feel so lucky to have him as a part of our team. Ajani loves to be around his friends and coaches and is genuinely excited to participate in Special Olympics. He is a fast learner, and is always willing to try something new. It is impossible to not smile when Ajani is around. I am honored to call him a friend and upcoming athlete superstar!”

Congratulations Ajani on your success and continued hard work as an athlete of Special Olympic Chicago!

The Special Olympics mission is to provide year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy, and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes and the community.
The Special Olympics Chicago program is the largest in the State of Illinois with over 5,000 athletes participating. For more information on the Special Olympics Chicago program, to donate or to get involved, please visit www.sochicago.org

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VICTORY! Thanks to our Associate Board for hosting last night's "Touchdown for Special Olympics Chicago" event. Our loyal supporters were just the good luck charm the Chicago Bears needed!

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Catch up on our latest newsletter. So many wonderful opportunities made possible through the generous support of our donors and community partners! ‪#‎CanDoThanksToYou‬

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SCC/SPECIAL OLYMPICS CHICAGO NEWS
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Wishing our athletes and their families a safe and fun #Halloween weekend!

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Celebrating Sesame Street as they work to build a community of acceptance and inclusion for all! This week they introduced the world to Julia, a character with Autism. Julia is part of an initiative called “Sesame Street and Autism: See Amazing in All Children.” The online program will provide resources for viewers on the spectrum, as well as educate the general public about Autism.

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Have You Watched Sesame Street's Autism Videos Yet? Because They're Terrific.
http://themighty.com
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With admiration for the dedicated parents of our athletes. Another great feature from our friends at The Mighty Site.

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To My Daughter's Teacher, From 'That' Parent
http://themighty.com
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#MotivationalMonday: Be the reason someone smiles today!

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Enjoy this sneak peak of this Monday's Steve Harvey TV Show! One of our favorite Plungers, Chicago Fire's Taylor Kinney, invites Steve Harvey to join us at the ‪#‎ChicagoPolarPlunge‬ on March 6, 2016 and personally pledges to make a $1,000 donation if Steve accepts the offer!

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Watch Taylor Kinney Challenge Steve Harvey to Polar Plunge
http://extratv.com
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Big congratulations to Team Peter! Our thanks to Peter Kline of Merrill Lynch, for providing our athlete, Peter Ruiz, such a memorable day at the Bank of America Chicago Marathon!

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