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Training & Competition Opportunities: Special Olympics Texas - Corpus Christi Area

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Community , Healthcare
Location
South Texas
Cycle Year
2012
Special Olympics Texas - Corpus Christi
http://www.sotx.org
Alice Fulton Garza
361-857-5679
agarza@sotx.org
4639 Corona, Suite 70
Corpus Christi
TX
78411
Used for
Funds will support training and competition opportunities in six sports for adults and children with intellectual disabilities in the counties of Aransas, Bee, Brooks, Calhoun, Duval, Goliad, Jim Wells, Karnes, Kenedy, Kleberg, Live Oak, McMullen, Nueces, Refugio, San Patricio and Victoria. Special Olympics Corpus Christi area serves 1,450 athletes with the support of 1,078 local volunteers and 88 certified coaches.
Benefits
Participation in Special Olympics substantially improves the lives of the athletes. Our mission is to provide year-round training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in the sharing of gifts, skills and friendships with their families, other athletes and the community.
Proposal Description
A significant aspect of Special Olympics programming is our sports training process, which helps to build our athletes’ adaptive skills (daily living skills). In order to be diagnosed with an intellectual disability, an individual must have an intellectual functioning level (IQ) below 70 and significant impairments in two or more adaptive skill areas. This means athletes often come to our programs lacking the social skills to get along with their teammates, the capability of following directions from a supervisor/coach and the developmental maturity to deal with every day “ups and downs.” Our sports training process requires a minimum of eight weeks of training prior to competing. The 88 coaches in the South Texas area are certified annually in each sport to work with our athletes as they set goals, follow coaching directions, work with their peers and strive to achieve their competition dreams. Area and statewide competitions are the core of our mission to improve the lives of our athletes as they demonstrate mastery of the life skills learned and fostered during training. Coming together in competition reinforces the skills they developed during training, such as listening and following instructions in a large group, working together as a team and demonstrating good sportsmanship, no matter what the outcome of the competition. It also involves lessons in traveling - staying overnight in hotels, managing spending money (as many athletes travel with their coaches and volunteers, not their families) and eating out in public. Many of our athletes have secondary disabilities in addition to the ones already covered. Whatever “causes” the qualifying disabilities often causes additional impairments as well, both developmental and physical. For this group of athletes, the opportunity to have regular, physical exercise can be critical. Their disabilities often result in a sedentary lifestyle which compounds the likelihood of obesity and its related health risks. Overall, competition events give the athletes a chance to put all the skills they have learned to work and enhance their self-esteem as they achieve those things that come so much easier to the rest of the world.