CHARLESTON -- Vanessa Duncan, regional assistant director for development for Special Olympics Illinois, recently gave Charleston Rotary an overview of the organization.
Duncan spoke of the recent restructuring in Illinois and upcoming events.
Founded 50 years ago in Chicago by Eunice Shriver, 2018 also marks the 40th Special Olympics Spring Games. This year’s Special Olympics will be held again at Eastern Illinois University on April 27. Special Olympics Illinois has expanded to include basketball, swimming, softball, bowling, volleyball and bocce, she said.
Other events include the annual Polar Plunge fundraiser, held March 3 at Lake Sara in Effingham, and Special Olympics Family Festival at Lake Land College, this year to be Sept. 15.
Special Olympics is free to all participants, their families, and spectators. This includes all needed equipment and facilities. To participate, athletes must take a physical that qualifies them for two years. Region I, which includes Charleston and Mattoon, has served 1,485 Special Olympics athletes out of 22,836 participants statewide.
The programs are assisted by hundreds of volunteers. Special Olympics Illinois is currently taking nominations for the Lifetime Service Award for those who have logged 25 or more years of service. A variety of fundraisers are held throughout the year and throughout the region. In the state, 18 Areas have been reconfigured into 11 Regions to enhance administration. Region 1 serves the central southeast area of Illinois, and is made up of 17 counties, from Logan and Vermillion in the north to Effingham and Crawford in the south. This region basically has added the Decatur and Champaign-Urbana areas to the area served by the local Special Olympics organization.
For more information, contact Duncan at 217-345-2424 or log onto www.soill.org.
The Charleston Rotary Club meets at noon on Tuesdays in the Rotary Room of the Charleston Public Library. Charleston Rotary presents leadership awards to Jefferson Elementary School students, sponsors the Charleston High School Interact Club, provides a scholarship to a CHS graduate attending EIU and sponsors Rotary Youth Exchange students. In addition, the club is partnering with the Excellence in Education Foundation to provide technology equipment to kindergarten, sixth grade and high school classes.
In addition, the club is partnering with the Excellence in Education Foundation to provide technology equipment to kindergarten, sixth grade and high school classes.