California Governor Gavin Newsom and lawmakers recently finalized the state budget for 2019-2020 and confirmed an unprecedented amount in funding to support Special Olympics California.
“I am incredibly excited and so thankful that our efforts were successful. This money is so crucial in supporting nearly 70,000 Special Olympics athletes in our state and making sure they’re able to continue life-changing programs, such as Unified Champion Schools, the Young Athlete program as well as Healthy Athletes,” said Assemblymember Tim Grayson. “My staff and I were so lucky to be able to volunteer at the Summer Games this year and see the difference these programs were making in these very, very special lives. The Special Olympics are helping to make a more inclusive world, where everyone is celebrated; and I am so proud to be a support for them.”
The Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools Program is a unique education program in K-12 schools that unifies students with and without intellectual disabilities through sports, leadership, and whole-school involvement activities, promoting inclusion and understanding at an early age. The program uses sports to create bonds between students who may not otherwise have an opportunity to interact, fostering a more nurturing and accepting campus for all students. Healthy Athletes promotes athlete well-being, offering free health screenings, education and resources to Special Olympics athletes, and the community Sports program is year-round, giving athletic opportunities to tens of thousands of people with intellectual disabilities.
“We are incredibly grateful to Governor Gavin Newsom, Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, Assemblymember Timothy Grayson and Assemblymember Jim Frazier for their continued support in securing funds for children and adults with intellectual disabilities and the nearly 70,000 Special Olympics athletes across California,” said Bill Shumard, President and CEO of Special Olympics Southern California, and David Solo, President and CEO of Special Olympics Northern California, in a joint statement.