Are you a fan of courage, inspiration, competition and fun. Then you have already made the leap to be a fan of Special Olympics Oklahoma. There are countless ways to be a fan and support the more than 9,500 fantastic special Olympics athletes right here in Oklahoma!
We're so certain that you are going to want to join our fan club that we have tons of ideas to help you do just that.
Here are some easy starter steps that most any fan can do!
- Bookmark our website, sook.org so everything you need to know about Special Olympics Oklahoma is easy to find.
- Sign up for our monthly e-newsletter, Photo Finish
, so you're always in the loop with what's going on around the state and in your area.
- Check out our Photo Galleries. We have some of the best volunteer photographers in the State and they love taking photos of the athletes, volunteers and sponsors. Why not join the amateur photographers and help us take a photo or two. You might even see some of your photos on our website.
- Bookmark and visit Special Olympics Oklahoma's very own YouTube Channel . (SpecialOlympicsOK). We have new and exciting videos that tell the Special Olympics Oklahoma story.
- Wear cool (and exclusive) Special Olympics Oklahoma fan gear. We've got apparel, accessories, and much more that you can get on-line. Show the world that you're a fan of Special Olympics!
- Follow us on Twitter at SOOKlahoma.
- Go cheer at an event. There are more than 100 events all year long to choose from. Go to one or go to them all. We post all events on our calendar.
- Talk to your children, families, friends and/or colleagues about Special Olympics and why we're encouraging everyone to "change the conversation" and not use the R-word (retard) as a derogatory term in their day-to-day conversations.
- Take the pledge <http://www.r-word.org> to not use the "R-word" in your daily conversation
- Include us on your FaceBook or My Space pages, blogs, etc.
- Create a custom auto-signature for your e-mails, like...
Be a fan of Special Olympics Oklahoma. I am! (and have all of the text in your auto-signature be a hyperlink to our web page - specialolympicsoklahoma.org
- Add a "fan since" date to your e-mails or correspondences and/or add it to your auto-signature line. Example:
Be a fan of Special Olympics Oklahoma. I am!
Fan since 1998
- Watch our shows on Cox Communications Cable network!
- Become enlightened and encourage others to do the same. The reality is that many people simply haven't had much interaction with people with intellectual disabilities and are unsure how to act around them and may be a little uncomfortable.
There's no better or quicker fix for that than volunteering at an event and spending a little time with our athletes, families and volunteers in a fun, positive environment.
Once you do, you'll understand that our athletes have the same interests, hopes, dreams and challenges as anyone else - and you'll see people with intellectual disabilities in a whole new light!
Ideas for Volunteerism
Get the best seats in the house and experience the fun, joy and excitement of Special Olympics first-hand by volunteering at a competition!
- Volunteer at a games or event near you - Check out the Calendar to find an event.
- Volunteer at a Special Olympics Oklahoma State Games.
- Volunteer behind the scenes. It takes a lot of volunteers from all walks of life with all kinds of skill sets to make Special Olympics a reality: teachers, public relations pros, fundraisers, sports experts, people who are good with data entry or organizational skills, etc.
- Coach: take your volunteer experience to a whole new level by becoming a Special Olympics coach. Never coached before? No worries! Special Olympics provides free resources, classes and mentoring so you can coach with confidence!
Ideas for Financial Support: Big or Small (it all helps!)
Special Olympics never charges its athletes a fee for participation, so we are reliant upon the generosity of individuals, companies, foundations and civic groups to fund our annual programs.
- Donate now!
- Attend a special event/fundraiser: we offer an array of fundraising events throughout the year and throughout the state. There's sure to be something of interest for you!
- Make a major or "planned" gift to Special Olympics Oklahoma through your will, a bequest, a gift of life insurance, stock donations and more.
- Have your company become a sponsor on the local or state level!
- Support those who support Special Olympics Oklahoma: be a consumer who cares!
Ideas for In-Kind Support
In-kind support of donated goods or services are very important! These budget-relieving donations allow more dollars to go directly to our athletes. No matter what kind of business or resources you have, there's a way we can use them!
- Have a school, gymnasium, pool, skating rink, bowling alley or any other kind of athletic facility? One of our programs' largest expenses is facility rentals. Opening up your facility to our athletes for practices and competitions could make the difference between athletes being able to or not being able to participate in a sport.
- Parks and Recreation Departments: do you have facilities, staff or resources you could make available to your local Special Olympics program? It may strengthen your Special Populations programs!
- Transportation: the #1 cost for Special Olympics programs is transportation. It is also usually the single biggest obstacle to participation for our athletes, as most are dependent upon others for their transportation.
If you are with a charter bus company, a school system, group home or similar community-based agency that has its own transportation, perhaps you can help address one of our biggest challenges!
- Services for Games: whether at the local, area or state level, for the health, safety and enjoyment of our athletes and fans, we usually need food, tents, security, entertainment and more to conduct quality games.
Ideas for Families
- Start by visiting the "Families" page on our website, if you haven't done so already.
- Help your family member with special needs become a Special Olympics athlete.
- Don't want to sit on the sidelines? Become a Unified Partner to your son, daughter, brother, sister, brother, sister, aunt, uncle...and compete side by side with your loved one with special needs.
-Become a volunteer or coach! No need to let the athletes have all the fun!
- We recommend that all parents and care givers read the "Special Olympics Protective Behaviors Program Guide for Parents and Care Providers." This brochure provides information on what Special Olympics is already doing to protect its athletes and how you, as a parent or care giver can support our efforts by understanding your role in protecting your athlete(s).
Ideas for Educators and Schools
In a mainstream world, there are lessons in life and sport. Today, these are the facts of modern educational life:
People with intellectual disabilities attend schools where competitive sports are not available to them.
Students of all kinds need opportunities to serve their communities and experience diversity.
- Teachers: bring a class to volunteer at a local Special Olympics event.
- Physical education teachers: organize a one-day clinic.
- Teachers and students: help start, manage and coach a Special Olympics team.
- School public service clubs or athletic teams: volunteer to raise funds or help with local or state games.
- Incorporate the "SO Get Into It!" curriculum into your school or classroom. SO Get Into It! is a free curriculum for regular education students that involves students in learning about those who are different but who can nonetheless inspire the world with the lesson that we all have gifts to contribute no matter what our limitations.
- Start a Unified Sports® team or program at your school! Special Olympics Unified Sports® combines people with (traditional Special Olympics athletes) and without intellectual disabilities (called Partners) on sports teams for training and competition; dramatically increasing inclusion in the community and using sports to help break down barriers that have historically kept people apart.
- Principals and Athletic Directors: make your school's athletic facilities available to Special Olympics for practices and/or competitions. One of our programs' largest expenses is facility rentals. Opening up your facility to our athletes for practices and competitions could make the difference between athletes being able to or not being able to participate in a sport.
- Pre-K and Elementary Schools: start a Young Athletes Program - an innovative sports play program for children ages 2-7 with intellectual disabilities and their peers, designed to introduce them into the world of sports!
- Encourage your students to learn more about Special Olympics' youth-lead effort to "change the conversation" and not use the "R-word" (retard) as a derogatory term in their day to day conversations.
- Encourage students to take the pledge <http://www.r-word.org/> to not use the "R-word"