Special Olympics is a global organization that changes lives by promoting understanding, acceptance and inclusion between people with and without intellectual disabilities. Through year-round sports training and athletic competition and other related programming for more than 2.8 million children and adults with intellectual disabilities in more than 180 countries, Special Olympics has created a model community that celebrates people’s diverse gifts.
Founded in 1968 by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, Special Olympics provides people with intellectual disabilities continuing opportunities to realize their potential, develop physical fitness, and demonstrate courage, experience joy and friendship. Today, Special Olympics stands as a leader in the field of intellectual disability and has sharpened the focus on its mission as not just “nice,” but critical, not just as a sports organization for with intellectual disabilities but also an effective catalyst for social change. Children and adults with intellectual disabilities who participate in Special Olympics exhibit boundless courage and enthusiasm, enjoy the rewards of friendship and ultimately discover not only new abilities and but “their voices” as well.
Since 1969, Special Olympics Alaska has provided fully accredited year-round sports training and athletic competition for individuals with intellectual disabilities. Special Olympics Alaska is a private, non-profit, 501c (3) corporation with a Board of Directors and 18 local programs statewide with over 1500 athletes that are empowered by thousands of volunteers. Athletes train and compete year-round in 16 different Olympic-type sports with the assistance of their volunteer coaches and their Unified Sports partners.
Through the Special Olympics Alaska Sports, Health and Wellness Center the Special Olympics Alaska Healthy Athlete program offers health services, education and information to youth and adults with intellectual disabilities as well as their families and support systems. Components of the program include year round health promotion and educational opportunities and health screenings for vision, auditory, podiatry, and oral health.