Special Olympics, CRS Prep for World Games

Young athletes and CRS staff celebrate the new partnership between CRS and Special Olympics International.

Young athletes and CRS staff celebrate the new partnership between CRS and Special Olympics International. Photo by Philip Laubner/CRS

On May 26, a group of Catholic Relief Services staff and family members will join in the Special Olympics Unified Relay Across America. The event celebrates the Special Olympics World Summer Games coming in July to Los Angeles. Team CRS will help carry the Flame of Hope through Baltimore on its way from Athens, Greece, to the World Games opening ceremony.

 CRS, Special Olympics partnership

Some 200 million people worldwide live with cognitive disabilities—the largest group of people with disabilities. Yet in many communities, they are forgotten and often neglected. In developing countries in particular, people with disabilities may be misunderstood or even feared.

The work of Special Olympics goes far beyond athletics. In fact, it is the largest global public health organization dedicated to serving people with cognitive disabilities. The mission of Special Olympics is perfectly aligned with our work at CRS.

Through our new strategic partnership with Special Olympics, we will be working together in several innovative ways to:

Pilot Program in Kenya

The Young Athletes project, an innovative new addition to CRS’ THRIVE project, aims to expand services to 100 children with cognitive disabilities and their caregivers, and provide specialized training for teachers and community volunteers. Many of these children have never been to school, do not have birth certificates, have not received critical health services like immunizations and don’t know that there are services available to address their developmental needs. The CRS and Special Olympics partnership will help families and service providers share information so vulnerable children will have the resources they need to thrive.

CRS’ mission calls us to serve the poorest and most vulnerable. This strategic partnership is an important response to that calling. It will help us reach more children living with disabilities so they can achieve their full potential.


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