SEFCU, Special Olympics announce partnership
Daily Messenger - 6/7/2019
Stacey Hengsterman, president and CEO of Special Olympics New York, and Michael Castellana, president and CEO of SEFCU, recently announced a partnership to expand the Young Athletes program in the Capital Region.
Young Athletes provides inclusive play opportunities for children of all abilities, ages 2-7.
The partnership was commemorated by a check presentation at an Arbor Hill Elementary School Young Athletes event in Albany.
"It is an absolute honor for SEFCU to support the development and expansion of the Special Olympics New York Young Athletes program," Castellana said. "Along with giving children with intellectual disabilities opportunities to have fun, develop motor skills and connect with their peers through sports, we are showing them from an early age that they can achieve success in any arena. I look forward to seeing this program -- and the athletes in it -- grow and shine brighter than the gold medals they'll win when they're ready to compete in Special Olympics."
"Families with children who have intellectual differences are challenged to find social networks where their children have the opportunity to play, learn and have fun alongside their peers," Hengsterman said. "Young Athletes answers this issue, and brings awareness and understanding to the next generation, preparing all kids for a better quality of life at an early age. We are so grateful to SEFCU for recognizing the importance of inclusive play and supporting its growth in the Capital Region."
Parents of children with and without intellectual disabilities say the Young Athletes program is a great way to keep kids active while introducing them to new friends.
"Having sports activities geared toward young children with disabilities in Albany has been a great resource for our 5-year-old son who has Down syndrome," said Amarit Rosin, of Arbor Hill. "The support and structure that the staff provide gets the kids moving and energized, plus it is always a nice way to see old friends and meet some new ones. We hope to make it to more Special Olympics New York events as he gets older."
"Young Athletes is a great program that builds confidence and skills in budding athletes, and gives families the opportunity to gather and connect," said Angela VanDerwerken, of Arbor Hill. "My son William is in kindergarten, and always looks forward to coming and playing together with friends."
Young Athletes engages children in activities important to mental and physical development. It teaches skills such as running, balance, throwing and catching. Children learn to share, take turns and follow directions, practices that promote inclusion. Young Athletes is provided at no cost to athletes, families or caregivers.
The program exposes children with intellectual disabilities to Special Olympics programming at an early age, preparing them to participate when they become eligible at age 8.
To implement Young Athletes, Special Olympics New York works with a partner organization, school, group or individual wishing to provide the program. The organization delivers education and training on program content, strategies and techniques, and a qualifying exam is conducted by Special Olympics New York before the program can be launched.
Email email@example.com for information on launching a Young Athletes program or becoming involved.
(c)2019 Daily Messenger, Canandaigua, N.Y.
Visit Daily Messenger, Canandaigua, N.Y. at www.MPNnow.com
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.