Shannon Piro via Crowdrise
September 20, 2014
Special Olympics of Northern California is near and dear to my heart. My younger brother,Erick, has down syndrome and competing in the Special Olympics has been a very special part of his life. My husband, Michael, and I have even had the opportunity to coach one year of swimming, which was one of the best experiences I have ever had.
The concept for Special Olympics was born in the early 1960s, when Eunice Kennedy Shriver started a day camp for people with intellectual disabilities at her home in Rockville, Maryland. Her vision quickly gained recognition and momentum, and in 1968 the first International Special Olympics Games were held at Soldier Field, Chicago, bringing together over 1,000 athletes with intellectual disabilities from 26 states and Canada.
Since then, Mrs. Shriver's vision has grown into one of the largest and most successful sports and volunteer organizations in the world. There are Special Olympics chapters in every state of America and in more than 150 countries worldwide, serving more than three-million Special Olympics athletes.
Special Olympics Northern California opened its doors in 1995. What started originally as a small grass-roots organization has since become a powerful voice for athletes with intellectual disabilities, encompassing Northern California from the Oregon border to Monterey and Tulare counties