Special Olympics Arkansas

Locations: 2115 Main Street North Little Rock
Phone: (501) 771-0222
Website: http://www.specialolympicsarkansas.org

“Let me win, but if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”

Mission:  Our mission is to provide year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic type sports for all children and adults with intellectual disabilities giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes in the community.

About: In 1968, the Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. Foundation created Special Olympics.  Since then it has become the world’s largest program of sports training and athletic competition for children and adults with intellectual disabilities.  For these individuals, sports and physical activities are the quickest, surest road to good health, personal growth, and self-confidence.  Being always told “You can’t do it,” Special Olympics says “You can do it.  All you need is a chance.”

Special Olympics Arkansas is a non-profit organization, providing approximately 14,000 individuals with intellectual disabilities the opportunity to excel.  The direction of the program flows through numerous volunteers.  Arkansas is divided into 17 areas, each headed by a volunteer Area Director and various volunteers serving on team management committees.  The Area Directors support all the local events in their area.

Originating in 1970, Arkansas held its first Summer Games with 283 athletes competing in various track and field events and has grown to a competition program for athletes wanting to train and compete in athletics, aquatics, softball, volleyball, unified football, powerlifting, bocce and cycling.  Other Special Olympics Arkansas sports include: basketball, bowling, ice speed and figure skating, floor hockey and gymnastics.

Special Olympians are athletes and just like other successful athletes they need to be properly trained.  We are proud of our program to have access to the finest national training plan ever.  Certification in Special Olympics coaching is offered in all official sports.  Certification is open to anyone interested in becoming a Nationally Certified Special Olympics Coach.  Our goal is to properly train our special athletes by training their coaches first.  Training workshops are held each year, in all areas of the state.
The success of Special Olympics Arkansas has been made possible by the love and dedication of many volunteers who, know that individuals with intellectual disabilities have important contributions to make to society.  But the need is still great.  In the United States alone, only 33 percent of the individuals with intellectual disabilities who need the program are being reached.  Help make Special Olympics a growing program.  No matter how you choose to help, your efforts will have an impact on the athletes.  Any time or talent you and your family contribute will be appreciated.  Financial support is always needed and your contribution will be tax-deductible to the extent of the law.  We hope that you will become an active part in helping special people grow and excel.

Services: Special Olympics Arkansas provides a variety of training and opportunities for both athletes and coaches.  They also proudly work alongside with Healthy Athletes.  The Healthy Athletes initiative is dedicated to providing health services and education to Special Olympics athletes, and changing the way health systems interact with people and intellectual disabilities.  Through free health screenings, training for healthcare professionals, and evaluation of the health status of people with intellectual disability, Healthy Athletes has become a powerful public health organization worldwide.

Volunteer Opportunities: Class A Volunteers have daily interaction with athletes and are in a position of authority, supervision and trust. These types of volunteers include: Coaches, Chaperones, Unified Partners, Games Management, Team Members, Heads of Delegations and Area Directors. Class B Volunteers are people who assist in event planning and/or participate at SOAR events, but are not necessarily in contact with the athletes on a regular basis. This includes: Day of Event Volunteers, Civic Groups and Fundraising event volunteers handling less than $1000 cash. Find out more about how you can volunteer on the website.