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For over 50 years, Special Olympics has enriched the lives of children and adults with intellectual disabilities. We are proud to support Special Olympics Northern California by providing over 7,500 healthy lunchboxes at Special Olympics sports competitions. Special Olympics Northern California does so much more than coach athletes. Their programs have a powerful impact on the athletes’ physical, mental and emotional health while educating other community members about respect and inclusion.
Offering year-round access to training and over 300 competitions annually in 14 sports, Special Olympics Northern California’s sports programs serve nearly 24,000 individuals throughout the region. The programs create an inclusive atmosphere where athletes can make friends, gain confidence and challenge themselves. And parents of athletes enjoy cheering for their child as they watch them gain lifelong social skills and independence.
The School Partnership Program unites pre-K through transition students (18-22) with and without disabilities through sports and in the classroom. Providing leadership opportunities for youth, the program leads to huge culture shifts on campuses. In Unified Sports, special education students compete on the same field with other students—and the resulting camaraderie tends to spill over into the cafeteria and the classroom. This program lessens bullying which in turn increases regular attendance in special education students who feel happier and safer about going to school.
During competitions, Healthy Athletes pavilions are set up where participants can be screened and provided with follow up care information. These health screenings were borne of the realization that practitioners don’t always know how to work with intellectually disabled adults and that those with disabilities weren’t always getting the same level of care. Volunteer practitioners provide general, dental, vision, audiology, podiatric and mental health services to athletes for free. In addition, they educate athletes about hydration, relieving stress and other wellness topics.
If you’re 14 or over, or over 10 years old and accompanied by an adult, you can help support the mission of Special Olympics Northern California. Some of the ways that you can pitch in are to be a coach, an assistant coach, on a games management team that runs a specific competition, an event volunteer and more. Or you can provide professional assistance, such as legal, marketing, medical or dietician services. Discover volunteer opportunities and access a volunteer calendar on the Special Olympics Northern California website.
Be sure to share your volunteer efforts on social media to inspire and encourage others to help! Use the hashtag #goodneverstops and tag @raleys on Instagram for a chance to have a $250 donation made to one of our food bank partners in your community, as well as win a $50 Raley’s gift card!
“My family and I have gotten so much joy from Special Olympics.”
“Special Olympics has shown me that I can do ANYTHING if I am given the opportunity to try.”
“We love to compete in sports and we love having people out there cheering for us. It’s awesome!”
“I love Special Olympics because I love sports and I love to meet new friends.”
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