Inclusion and empowerment for the win
For Coloradans with intellectual disabilities, there’s an organization that actively works to remove barriers to fitness and competition. For 53 years, Special Olympics Colorado has been providing year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities. They offer continuing opportunities for nearly 16,000 individuals to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills and friendship — with their families, other athletes and the community.
“Our athletes do incredible things, on and off the field,” says Sarah Schmidt, director of corporate and community partnerships for the organization. “They inspire people in their communities, and elsewhere, to open their hearts to a wider world of human talents and potential.”
Sarah and her team strive to create a culture of fun, excitement and hope. Along with leadership, unity, bravery and perseverance, joy is a core value. “We work to give athletes opportunities to build self-confidence, healthy habits and lifelong friendships,” says Sarah.
Special Olympics believes everyone should have the opportunity to be healthy, and they work diligently to increase inclusion and access in health care, wellness and health systems for their athletes and others with intellectual disabilities.
“Most people don’t know about Special Olympics’ health programming,” says Sarah. “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, which ultimately leads to poorer, yet preventable, health outcomes.”
This past summer, Alpine Bank supported Special Olympics’ Inclusion Campaign — a global initiative that asks every single person to choose to include one another. It’s a simple idea, yet powerful statement and one that empowers leaders to change their communities, schools and workplaces.
“Our partnership with Alpine Bank allows us to continue to create positive change and build a more inclusive future. Alpine is a true champion of change and works to ensure individuals with and without disabilities are seen, heard and valued,” says Sarah. “By serving as a driving force for meaningful inclusion, Alpine Bank continues to positively impact the lives of countless athletes, and in doing so they combat the hurtful and dehumanizing effects of exclusion.”
Learn more at specialolympicsco.org.
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