Special Olympics Hamilton County
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History of Special Olympics Indiana
Founded in 1969, Special Olympics Indiana (SO Indiana) provides a wide variety of opportunities for individuals with all levels of intellectual disabilities across all age ranges. SO Indiana is one of more than 50 Special Olympics affiliates in North America. The organization has grown steadily to now include more than 11,000 athletes, approximately 10,000 volunteers and 20 staff members.
The Special Olympics movement is distinct in its vision to empower all people with intellectual disabilities to realize their full potential and develop their skills through year-round sports training and competition. According to the World Health Organization, approximately 170 million people, or three percent of the world’s population, have intellectual disabilities—the largest disability population in the world. Intellectual disability knows no boundaries. It cuts across the lines of racial, ethnic, educational, social and economic backgrounds, and it can occur in any family.
Within SO Indiana, our focus is the growth of our year-round programs so that we can better serve our existing athletes and reach out to those athletes who have not yet had an opportunity to participate locally in Special Olympics. With the unifying power of sports at its core, SO Indiana has grown to be a movement not about “them,” but about all of “us.” We are a movement that invites the world to think, feel and act differently about everything. We believe in creating more unified communities—places where each person regardless of ability or disability, is accepted, respected and welcomed, and where each individual contributes to the strength and vibrancy of the whole.