A Brief History:
In the early 1950’s, people with mental disabilities were treated much differently than they are today. Most of us would be greatly shocked or offended to see the lack of respect shown to these individuals, solely because of their disabilities. Luckily, Eunice Kennedy Shriver took a stand to make a difference and stop the injustice.
Her goal was to create a place for disabled children to thrive. She began by starting a summer day camp for young people with handicaps in her own backyard. She focused on what these children could do in sports and other activities – and not dwell on what they could not do.
Throughout the 1960s, Shriver continued her work, serving as the driving force behind President John F. Kennedy’s White House panel for those with intellectual disabilities and also as the director of the Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. Foundation. Her passion for the disabled eventually grew into the Special Olympics movement.
The first International Special Olympics Summer Games were held at Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois on July 19-20 of 1968. One thousand people with intellectual disabilities from 26 U.S. states and Canada competed in track and field and swimming events.
The foundation reached a milestone in December of 1971, when the U.S. Olympic Committee gave Special Olympics official approval as one of only two organizations authorized to use the name “Olympics” in the United States.
After reading the history behind this great organization, it’s exciting that our own community here in Arlington, Texas is now a contributing supporter to the Special Olympics!
On May 21-24th, 2015, The University of Texas in Arlington will be hosting the Special Olympics 2015 Texas State Summer Games!
You can show you support by coming out as a fan to watch the events and help enrich the lives of people with intellectual and physical disabilities.
For more information about the event, plus inspirational stories, photos, donation and volunteer opportunities, and more background history about the Special Olympics, visit: http://www.sotx.org/
We hope you’ll mark your calendar and attend this event to represent our great community and show support for a meaningful cause!