Special Olympics Southern California Athlete Hits Capitol Hill to Urge for Critical Government Support
Pushing to Advocate for Passage of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver Act of 2012
Long Beach, CA – February 8, 2012 – Special Olympics athlete Nicole Nelson of Cypress, CA and Special Olympics Southern California (SOSC) Chief Program Officer Jan Palchikoff are joining delegations from more than 40 states to participate in the annual Capitol Hill Day on February 8 in Washington, DC. This event will focus on urging continued commitment to the work of the late Eunice Kennedy Shriver and to meet with America’s elected leaders ensuring that people with intellectual disabilities are considered when critical decisions are made for the country.
Nelson has been a Special Olympics athlete in gymnastics, floor hockey and bocce for 15 years and spends her free time competing in sports, dancing for her local Hi-Tops Dance Team, and working at Ralph’s Supermarket. As a trained Global Messenger, Nicole acts as a spokesperson for SOSC.
“I like Special Olympics because it is good for your health, for your body, for your heart, and for your strength. You get to hang out with the best people,” said Nelson.
Palchikoff said she looks forward to joining Nelson on the visit. “Shriver dedicated her life to providing opportunities for children and adults with intellectual disabilities to become fully integrated into society,” she said. “This Hill Day is one simple way for our programs all over the U.S. to work together in changing the way not only our elected officials stand up for our athletes and others with disabilities, but also how the entire nation, and for that matter, the world stand up for those with intellectual disabilities.”
Shriver, who passed away in August 2009, founded Special Olympics in 1968 and was a longtime advocate and board member of Best Buddies, founded in 1989.
Throughout the day, participants will meet face-to-face with their Members of congress, followed by a special candlelight vigil to be held around the Capitol Reflecting Pool at 5:30 PM EST. The vigil will be a tribute to Eunice Kennedy Shriver and a poignant reminder of everyone’s ability to aid in the fight for the civil rights of everyone.
Because people with intellectual disabilities continue to lack access to essential human services - ranging from employment opportunities to access to healthcare - Special Olympics supporters will urge members of Congress to support critical government programs that address these needs.
They will also advocate passing The Eunice Kennedy Shriver Act, which will continue a national commitment that the U.S. Congress made with passage of the 2004 Special Olympics Sport and Empowerment Act. The Eunice Kennedy Shriver Act incorporates the Best Buddies Empowerment for People with Intellectual Disabilities Act passed by the U.S. House of Representatives in April 2009. This combined legislation continues the legacy of Shriver by authorizing funds for specific programs supporting people with IDD in sports, health, education and employment program initiatives.
About Special Olympics Southern California
Special Olympics Southern California has been changing lives through the power of sport for more than 40 years. Special Olympics offers opportunities for children and adults with intellectual disabilities to participate in year-round sports training and competition. Founded by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, Special Olympics provides people with intellectual disabilities continuing opportunities to develop fitness, demonstrate courage and experience joy as they participate in the sharing of gifts and friendship with other athletes, their families and the community. For more information about how to compete, volunteer, coach or donate to Special Olympics Southern California, visit www.sosc.org.