About Special Olympics Illinois
Special Olympics Illinois
Welcome to Special Olympics Illinois, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to unleashing the human spirit through the transformative power and joy of sports. With a global presence and a local focus, we offer year-round training and competition in 18 sports to a vibrant community of over 55,000 individuals, including traditional athletes, Young Athletes, Unified partners, coaches, volunteers, and more. Our headquarters are located in Marion, IL, where we work tirelessly to empower individuals with intellectual disabilities and help them realize their full potential in both sports and life.
Since its inception in July 1968, when the first games took place at Soldier Field, Illinois has played a crucial role in the Special Olympics movement. Thanks to the tireless efforts of Eunice Kennedy Shriver and her peers, Special Olympics has grown into a global phenomenon, with over 6 million athletes and Unified partners across 170 countries. At Special Olympics Illinois, we remain true to our roots, striving to create a world where everyone, regardless of their intellectual disabilities, can thrive.
Our mission is at the heart of everything we do. We provide year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities. Through these activities, we create opportunities for our athletes to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy, and foster a sense of belonging within their families, our community, and the Special Olympics family worldwide. We firmly believe that sports have the power to transform lives, and we witness this transformation every day.
Our vision is to be a global leader in shaping a culture that fully integrates people with and without intellectual disabilities into the community. We aim to achieve this by providing year-round opportunities in competitive sports, health education, leadership development, and personal growth. Through these initiatives, we aspire to create an inclusive society where everyone can flourish, regardless of their abilities.
There are numerous ways for you to get involved with Special Olympics Illinois and make a meaningful difference in the lives of our athletes. Whether you're interested in becoming a volunteer or committee member, contributing to fundraising efforts, or even participating as an athlete yourself, we warmly invite you to join our community. If you reside in the Marion region or surrounding areas and wish to learn more about our local program, please don't hesitate to reach out to one of our dedicated team members.
Together, let's unleash the human spirit and create a world where everyone can experience the joy, camaraderie, and personal growth that sports offer. Join us at Special Olympics Illinois, where sports truly transform lives.