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KPMG hosts banquet for its Special Olympics volunteers

July 20, 2010


Tim Shriver speaks to volunteers from KPMG at Monday’s employee banquet

Photo and Story: Chelsey Wahlstrom, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Dana Foote, local Omaha audit partner, took the idea of involving KPMG employees in the 2010 Special Olympics USA National Games to the company’s disabilities network in Dallas and never looked back.

As a result, about 150 KPMG staff members from 30 offices across the nation volunteer at the golf venues as the USA National Games continue in Lincoln this week.

To be part of the volunteer squad at the games, the auditing firm’s employees needed application and to explain why they wanted to volunteer. More than 300 non-local applicants applied and about 80 were flown to Lincoln all expenses paid. About 75 employees — including Foote — raised $25,000 from local chapters so they could be present at the venues.

“We’re all about inclusiveness and bringing people together,” Foote said.

Tim Shriver, CEO of Special Olympics International, encouraged listeners at Monday’s banquet to think about the lessons they are learning from their volunteerism.

“This movement is on the move,” he said. “We want people to come to our movement to find role models. We’re going to find a way to blow the sports world up.”

KPMG also sponsored golf in the Special Olympics 2009 National Invite in Lincoln and continues to sponsor golfer Phil Mickelson on the PGA Tour.

Shriver told KPMG employees that cooperation is the key.

“We’re going to do this,” he said. “I think we’re going to do this together.”

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U.S. Department of Education helps launch 2010 USA National games

July 15, 2010

U.S. Department of Education
Office of Communications & Outreach, Press Office
400 Maryland Ave., S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20202

EVENT DATE: Sunday, July 18, 2010
Contact: Jim Bradshaw
(202) 401-2310 or


Assistant Secretary Alexa Posny will participate in the 2010 National Project UNIFY Education Leadership Roundtable Sunday at the Nebraska Governor’s Mansion in Lincoln. The two-hour discussion, co-hosted by the U.S. Department of Education, will help launch the Special Olympics USA National Games Week.

Posny, who heads the Education Department’s Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, will join others in discussing issues related to Special Olympics, Project UNIFY and society at large.

Project UNIFY, funded in part by the U.S. Department of Education, strives to foster respect for people with intellectual disabilities by utilizing the programs and initiatives of Special Olympics.

Alexa Posny, assistant secretary for the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services

Participates in the 2010 National Project UNIFY Education Leadership Roundtable

Nebraska Governor’s Mansion, 1425 H St., Lincoln, Neb.

11:30 a.m. Sunday, July 18, 2010

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Details of 2010 USA National Games Cessna airlift to be discussed

July 14, 2010

Contact: Sarah Van Dalsem, Media Manager

2010 Special Olympics USA National Games

(402) 889-3412,

When:  10 a.m. Friday, July 16

Danley Building, Duncan Aviation, 3400 W. Luke St., Building 5003

What:   The press conference will discuss details for the week ahead and what the public can expect during the 2010 Special Olympics USA National Games including Special Olympics Town, competition venues, Opening and Closing Ceremonies, and more. It will also include a briefing from Jack Pelton, the chairman, president and CEO of Cessna, on how the Cessna Citation Special Olympics Airlift will run on Saturday, July 17.


Who: Charles Cooper, president and CEO of the Games

Dave Heineman, governor of Nebraska

Chris Beutler, mayor of the City of Lincoln

Jack Pelton, chairman, president and CEO of Cessna

Robert Duncan, chairman emeritus of Duncan Aviation

Bob Gobrecht, managing director of Special Olympics North America

Christian Beard & Linda Buchanan, Special Olympics Athlete Ambassadors

Media Opportunities: interviews with the leaders of the Cessna Airlift and the Games, and b-roll and photo opportunities of the speakers and the set-up for the Airlift.

About the 2010 Special Olympics USA National Games

The 2010 Special Olympics USA National Games in Lincoln, Neb. will showcase and celebrate the Special Olympics movement and athletes from across the United States, while illustrating the power of sports to educate and inform about the true abilities and achievements of people with intellectual disabilities.

From July 18-23, 2010, nearly 3,000 athletes will compete in 13 Olympic-style sports, with the support of 1,000 coaches, 8,000 volunteers and an estimated 15,000 family and friends. In addition to sports, the USA National Games will offer various programs in health, wellness and education. To learn more, please visit


SARAH VAN DALSEM  •  MEDIA MANAGER •  p 402.889.3412 • f 402.467.0031
2010 USA NATIONAL GAMES  •  7600 NORTH 70th STREET  •  LINCOLN, NE 68517

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Special Olympics Project Unify® gathers to talk about acceptance

July 13, 2010

WASHINGTON D.C./July 13, 2010–The Special Olympics Project UNIFY® National Education Conference (NEC) and the National Youth Activation Summit (YAS) will take place simultaneously on the University of Nebraska, Omaha campus beginning Sunday, July 18th. Special events throughout the conferences include a Leadership Roundtable at the Governor’s Residence, debut of Project UNIFY’s play “It’s Our School, Too!”, numerous collaboration sessions, activities around the 2010 Special Olympics USA National Games as well as a Youth Rally which will serve as the Closing Ceremony of the National Games. Participants of both the NEC and YAS will spend time together, learning from one another and taking back the lessons, ideas and strategies for creating more inclusive environments to their respective school communities.

“For the first time, we are bringing national education leaders, general educators and special educators together to enhance their understanding and skills for creating true inclusive service-learning and youth leadership in their classrooms. Having their conference side by side with our youth-led YAS provides a tangible example to teachers of the readiness of young people of all abilities to be leaders for change in their communities,” said Andrea Cahn, Senior Director of Project UNIFY. “This is a crucial, collaborative step in launching young people and educators forward with a strong call to action– making change towards greater acceptance and a broader vision of inclusion of all people in their communities as a result of their experiences at the conferences.”

To start off the week of activities, a Leadership Roundtable–supported by the U.S. Department of Education, and co-hosted by Timothy Shriver, Chairman and CEO of Special Olympics, and Sally Ganem, Nebraska First Lady and a former educator and school principal–will engage national education leaders and policy makers around making a broader, more unified vision of inclusion a national priority within education reform. Invited participants will address the critical issues that have implications for Special Olympics, their Project UNIFY initiative and society at-large and commit to a statement of purpose behind which all constituencies can align their work. The Roundtable will be held in the Governor’s Residence in Lincoln on Sunday, July 18 at 11:00am CT.
The YAS is a completely youth-designed and facilitated week of activities–from Sunday, July 18 to Friday, July 23– that will provide a forum where participants acquire and enhance knowledge and skills needed to activate youth around the country. Through the YAS, youth leaders will increase their understanding of how social justice movements effect change and learn how to apply these tactics in their communities, using Special Olympics as the catalyst for inclusion.

Co-hosted with the University of Nebraska, Omaha, the NEC will be facilitated by both educators and youth with and without intellectual disabilities. Special and general educators from across the United States will participate from Sunday, July 18 to Wednesday, July 21, focusing on best practices of acceptance in the classroom, and how to use inclusive opportunities to enhance the school climate. There will be significant overlap and interaction between the YAS and the NEC in order to promote a laboratory effect with cross-over topics including advocacy, social networking, diversity and youth engagement.

Commissioned by Special Olympics Project UNIFY and based on interviews with youth, It’s Our School, Too! is a play that explores the current realities for high school youth with intellectual disabilities. Told with honesty and humor, the story examines the barriers faced by youth, as well as the world of possibilities when young people with and without disabilities come together to create meaningful school change. It’s Our School, Too! is written by Suzy Messerole and Aamera Siddiqui–co-Artistic Directors of Exposed Brick Theatre in Minneapolis, MN–and will have two performances at the Strauss Performing Arts Center in Omaha, NE on Monday, July 19 and Tuesday, July 20 at 7:00pm CT. Tickets can be purchased the day of performance at the box office and are $10/adult, $5/child, and $20 for a family of 4.

The National Youth Rally will be the culminating event held in conjunction with the Closing Ceremony of the 2010 Special Olympics USA National Games on Friday, July 23. The Rally will celebrate a week of athletic achievements and will launch a legacy of commitment to youth service. An estimated 5,000 young people, with and without intellectual disabilities, will be in the audience for an inspiring and motivational event that will be a call to action for renewed commitment to respect, dignity and acceptance for all.
The full schedule of the NEC, speaker bios and more are available at; YAS schedule and additional information are available by contacting Andrea Cahn at

Project UNIFY, as well as the education and youth activities at National Games, are made possible in large part through funding by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP).

About Project UNIFY
Special Olympics Project UNIFY ® is a strategy that takes the concept of inclusive, unified, sports opportunities learned on the playing field and brings them into the school hallways and classrooms. Project UNIFY extends the important lessons about teamwork and the contributions each child can make through sport and non-sport school-based education activities, promotes understanding, acceptance, and appreciation for each other’s gifts. Almost 2,000 schools in 45 states, and more than 626,000 students participated in the first 18 months of Project UNIFY activities. To learn more, please visit
Jennifer Brooks
Special Olympics

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Special Olympics torch arrives in Lincoln this Friday

July 12, 2010

Lincoln Mayor Chris Beutler is inviting area residents to help welcome the Special Olympics’ “Flame of Hope” to Lincoln at a ceremony at 4:30 p.m. Friday, July 16 on the north steps of the State Capitol Building.  The Final Leg of the Law Enforcement Torch Run began Sunday, July 11 at Iowa State University in Ames, site of the last USA National Games in 2006.  The 2010 Special Olympics USA National Games will take place in Lincoln from Sunday, July 18 through Friday, July 23.

The Final Leg team will include 110 law enforcement runners, Special Olympics athletes and support team members.

Mayor Beutler, Lincoln Police Chief Tom Casady, Lancaster County Sheriff Terry Wagner and Colonel Bryan Tuma, Superintendent of Law Enforcement and Public Safety for the Nebraska State Patrol, will be among the speakers, along with two members of the Final Leg team – Lincoln Police Officer Chris Weber and Evan Davis, a Special Olympics athlete.  Cheer and Dance Express will lead a pep rally and perform at the ceremony, which will be emceed by Brian Eckleberry, morning co-host on FROGGY 98 FM.

“The Special Olympics’ Flame of Hope symbolizes the light of spirit, knowledge and life,” said Lincoln Police Sgt. Jeri Roeder, a member of the Final Leg support team.  “The flame is entrusted in the care of the law enforcement community, and it symbolizes the courage and celebration of diversity that the Special Olympics movement represents.”

For more information on the Final Leg of the Law Enforcement Torch Run, contact Final Leg Committee Chair and team captain Michael Teem at  More information on the Special Olympics is available at

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Special Olympics provides free health screenings, care to athletes with intellectual disabilities

Lincoln, Neb., July 13, 2010 Expecting to provide approximately 5,000 free health screenings as well as follow-up care like dental work and prescription eyeglasses to those in need, Special Olympics’ Healthy Athletes initiative will be available to Special Olympics athletes July 19-23 during the USA National Games in Lincoln, Neb.

Screenings will be given in six different health areas (vision, hearing, dental health, healthy lifestyles, general fitness and foot care).

“We are extremely proud to be able to bring our Healthy Athletes program to Nebraska,” said Dr. Timothy Shriver, Chairman and CEO for Special Olympics. “With more than 1,000,000 free health screenings provided worldwide since its launch in 1997, Healthy Athletes represents the largest public health initiative that focuses on people with intellectual disabilities.”

  • In addition to screenings, Healthy Athletes also provides eyeglasses, sunglasses, hearing aids, mouthguards and other free items to athletes who attend. Thanks to partnerships with local organizations, other services and products not normally included in Healthy Athletes will also be available in Lincoln.
  • The Nebraska Dental Association will be providing a range of dental services, from cleanings to tooth extractions, to athletes in need free of charge.
  • M.A.D. DADS of Lincoln will give 150 bicycles to children with intellectual disabilities from Nebraska who are participating in the Special Olympics Young Athletes and Healthy Young Athletes program on Monday, July 19, 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. The health portion of the program includes vision, hearing, and dental screenings, as well as health education (including helmet use and bike safety) for athletes aged 2-7.
  • Rocky Mountain Sunscreen from Arvada, Colo. provided sunscreen for Healthy Athletes to give away at the “Sun Safety on the Field” table at the Abbott Sports Complex from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., July 21-22. Health experts will also provide tips for hydration and sun safety.
    All Healthy Athletes activities are open to members of the media. Screenings will take place from 2-9 p.m., July 19-22; and 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., Friday, July 23 in Pershing Hall, lower level, in Lincoln. All Special Olympics Nebraska athletes are invited to attend Healthy Athletes, regardless of whether they are competing in the Games.

The need for Healthy Athletes is great. Despite a mistaken belief that people with intellectual disabilities receive the same or better health care than others, they typically receive sub-standard care or virtually no health care at all. Special Olympics has shown that many health concerns are more common and significant for people with intellectual disabilities.

Among Special Olympics athletes in the United States, 29% have obvious, untreated tooth decay; 27.8% fail hearing tests; 22% have low bone density; and 16.0% have eye disease.

Media Contact: Karl Hejlik
Sr. Manager, Health and Research Communications
Cell: 202-459-1273 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              202-459-1273      end_of_the_skype_highlighting

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About Special Olympics

Special Olympics is an international organization that changes lives by encouraging and empowering people with intellectual disabilities, promoting acceptance for all, and fostering communities of understanding and respect worldwide.

Founded in 1968 by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, the Special Olympics movement has grown from a few hundred athletes to more nearly 3.5 million athletes in over 170 countries in all regions of the world, providing year-round sports training, athletic competition and other related programs.

Special Olympics now takes place every day, changing the lives of people with intellectual disabilities in places like China and from regions like the Middle East to the community playgrounds and ball fields in every small neighborhood’s backyard.

Special Olympics provides people with intellectual disabilities continuing opportunities to realize their potential, develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage and experience joy and friendship. Visit Special Olympics at


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