This year Special Olympics Texas celebrates 40 years of providing year-round sports training and competition for individuals with intellectual disabilities [mental retardation]! Support from Speedway Children's Charities helped us serve over 8,000 athletes living in the Greater Dallas/Fort Worth areas during 2008 who participated in one or more of the seventeen sports we offer throughout the year.

Special Olympics is far more than a "feel good" organization. Year-round sports training and competitions are a tool we use to help our athletes overcome the significant impairments they experience in their daily living skills. Coaches work with their athletes not only on sports skills, but also on their social skills in getting along with teammates, their ability to follow instructions, and their self-control in sportsmanship issues. Each athlete learns that ALL these skills translate into a successful life - at home, in school and in the work place. Additionally, our sports provide an opportunity for physical fitness to a population that is typically very sedentary, while also allowing for critical education and/or respite for the families and caregivers of these athletes.

What cannot be expressed with words, however, are the confidence, joy, empowerment and personal growth which each athlete gains as a direct result of the experiences they have in our programs. If you are interesting in volunteering for a day at one of our competitions or in becoming a coach, please call our area offices for more information (Dallas at 214-943-9981 or Fort Worth at 817-332-3433) or visit our website at www.sotx.org.

Susan Steves Thompson
Senior Development Director
Special Olympics Texas