Thursday, September 3, 2015

First U.S. Tennis Association SOPA Tournament

On Saturday, August 8, 2015, twenty-four athletes from Lancaster, Lebanon and York counties competed in the first U.S. Tennis Association Special Olympics Pennsylvania Tournament at Hempfield Area Recreation Center in Landisville, PA. In a collaboration between Tennis Central, Special Olympics Pennsylvania and USTA Middle States,the athletes competed across three divisions in round-robin format, with players matched up by age and skill level.  Above Photo Credit: Dan Marschka/Lancaster Online.

A championship round was played in the Stadium court to determine the winners of the open division.  Awards were then given out for all the divisions for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place, and participation ribbons were awarded.  Participants also received backpacks, ear buds, and t-shirts courtesy of the USTA Middle States.
Following the round robin matches, sandwiches, snacks foods, water and Gatorade were provided.  

To view images from the Tournament, visit USTA’s Facebook page or view the Lancaster Online news article.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Home Community Honors Special Olympics World Games Athlete

Amanda Swazey’s home community of Selinsgrove welcomed her home with a hero`s reception after she won two medals in the Special Olympics World Summer Games. She was honored at one of the summer concerts at a park in the borough, and her employer Weis Markets provided her with a congratulatory cake, flowers, entrance sign and outdoor banner!  Way to Go!  

Click here to read the Channel 16 news story.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Interscholastic Unified Soccer Team Wins 2nd MLS Exchange

On Saturday, August 1, 2015, members of our Interscholastic Unified Sports soccer team played against a New Jersey team of players from Rowan University’s Special Olympics College unified group at PPL Park prior to the Philadelphia Union game vs. New York Red Bulls.  Students from Martin Luther King and Chester High Schools received Union jerseys with their last name on the back, shorts and socks.

Throughout the game, some Philadelphia Union members came to wish our team luck including midfielder Jimmy McLaughlin, forward Andrew Wenger, defender Raymond Lee, goalkeeper John McCarthy, and manager Jim Curtin. With high fives all around, our team was ready to play! Our Unified Philadelphia Union team looked great on the field. In a very exciting on field experience, our players walked away victorious 4-2 over New Jersey.

After the Exchange Game, our Philadelphia athletes and partners were able to enjoy the Philadelphia Union vs. New York Red Bulls game. During halftime, both Unified teams were brought on the field one last time to be awarded their medals. Sons of Ben (Philadelphia Union’s fan club) gave both Unified Teams roaring applause and support as the athletes and partners received their awards. Following the Union/Red Bulls game, both exchange teams and their families were invited to a reception before heading home.

Philadelphia Union’s Hometown Hero

Prior to the kickoff of the highly anticipated Philadelphia Union vs. New York Red Bulls match at PPL Park, Myra Ausberry was awarded the Hometown Hero Award.  The Hometown Hero Award recognizes those men and women who have made a difference in the lives of others. These heroes are ordinary people that have made an extraordinary impact through their service, dedication, knowledge and spirit. The Philadelphia Union looks to salute those heroes who have inspired people to improve the lives of their cities, towns, communities and neighbors.  Traditional values of teamwork, effort, accountability, trust and selflessness are the cornerstones of Philadelphia Union’s Hometown Heroes.

Myra Ausberry has volunteered countless hours as a coach to athletes in some of the most under served areas of the city for Special Olympics Pennsylvania’s Philadelphia program. She ensures that those she engages with know about the opportunities available through Special Olympics, and provides resources and personal support to them wherever needed. The energy that Myra brings to her role as a coach is contagious.  It is easy to see why the athletes and families enjoy being around her.

Myra’s support and commitment to her sports teams every season has not gone unnoticed.  She has personally helped athletes compete on both the local and national level.  In addition, her passion for Special Olympics goes beyond the seven sports she is certified to coach within the community program. She is also an active supporter of the Unified Sports program and is particularly known for her current coaching position with the Martin Luther King High School Unified Soccer Team.

Congratulations, Myra! We are so lucky to have such a committed volunteer!

Friday, July 31, 2015

2nd Annual Special Olympics Unified Sports All-Star Soccer Match

On Tuesday, July 28, 2015, Special Olympics PA - Philadelphia athlete Angel Rosa and Unified Partner Edwin Leon traveled to Colorado for the second annual Special Olympics Unified Sports All-Star Soccer Match, presented by MLS WORKS.  The Major League Soccer (MLS) Match featured a 7-v-7 East vs. West All-Star format for which eleven MLS teams sent Special Olympics athletes and Unified Partners to Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colorado. 

Angel and Edwin played for the East in a match consisting of two 20-minute halves wearing uniforms provided by ADIDAS. The two athletes, both Northeast High School students, represented Philadelphia well.

MLS WORKS and Special Olympics are working together to leverage the power of sports to promote an environment of social inclusion and acceptance, by uniting people with and without intellectual disabilities through Special Olympics Unified Sports.

MLS participating celebrities included on-air talent Brian Dunseth who provided commentary and interviews with both players and coaches, Colorado Rapids players who acted as on-hand coaches, and LA Galaxy and U.S. National Legend Landon Donovan who presented the athletes and partners with medals after the game. The Western Conference All-Stars defeated the Eastern Conference All-Stars, 3-2. 

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Philadelphia’s Interscholastic Unified Sports (IUS) Youth Summit

Special Olympics Pennsylvania – Philadelphia’s Interscholastic Unified Sports (IUS) Youth Summit on June 10, 2015 was a huge success! Athletes and partners represented a few of our IUS Philadelphia schools, and they all did a great job. Many things were discussed during the day, and the athletes and partners had talks about what they enjoyed about the IUS program, as well as what can be added to make the program run smoother.  Both the athletes and partners had fun while participating in the program, and they also made lifelong friends in the process.

They started the day by listening to two guest speakers and then split into different groups to work on team-building and ice-breaking exercises.  The ideas that they gave us for next year’s IUS program were awesome, and we can’t wait to see if we can put them into practice. The energy and excitement that everyone had while participating is what really made this IUS Youth Summit such a huge success.  Hearing from the kids who are directly involved with the program gives us a great opportunity to upgrade the program for the future.  We would like to thank everyone who came out and spoke or helped.  We would also like to extend a huge thank you to The School District of Philadelphia for its hospitality! 

Monday, June 22, 2015

Selinsgrove Woman Saddles Up for World Games

Congratulations once again Amanda Swazey for being one of the chosen few to participate in the upcoming 2015 World Summer Games in Los Angeles!

Click here to read The Daily Item article about her upcoming participation.

Friday, June 19, 2015

ESPN: Phelps Clinic with LA2015 Swimmers

ESPN Reporter Amy Rosewater wrote: Michael Phelps is using his star power as the world's most decorated Olympian to grow the sport and teach children and young adults all over the world. And he spent Saturday (May 30th) at that same swim club to share the techniques he used as a youngster with five swimmers who will compete at the Special Olympics World Games, which will be held July 25-Aug. 2 in Los Angeles (ESPN, WatchESPN). The participants included Special Olympics Pennsylvania athletes Janine Calabrese from Erie City, Adam Smith from Area M, and Assistant Aquatics Coach Mark Euliano from Erie City.

Pictured above are images of Michael Phelps with Special Olympics Pennsylvania athletes Adam Smith, Janine Calabrese, and Assistant Aquatics Coach Mark Euliano.