The mission of Special Olympics is to provide yearround
sports training and athletic competition in
a variety of Olympic-type sports for 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 and the community.
• Founded in 1968 by Eunice Kennedy Shriver
• Made up of local programs in each of North
Carolina’s 100 counties
• Registered athletes have full access to Special
Olympics programming at no cost to the athletes
or their families.
• Provides a program called Unified Sports where
athletes with and without intellectual disabilities
train and play together on the same team.
• Trains volunteers to become certified Special
• Trains athletes to become Global Messengers or
spokespersons for the organization who help share
the message of the Special Olympics movement
• Supports more than 300 Unified Champion
Schools, bringing youth with and without intellectual
disabilities together through sports and education to
create school communities of acceptance and respect.
• Improving athlete health through Healthy Athlete
screenings, Healthy Communities programming
and other health initiatives.
• Values the power of athletes as movement leaders
through a variety of Athlete Leadership Programs,
including a 15-member Athlete Council that
provides input to the president of Special Olympics
North Carolina on issues in the movement