SOMO plans dynamic training campus

The holiday season is a perfect time to give something special to those who need our help. Resolve to make a bigger difference this year with a donation to support the SOMO Training for Life Campus, the planned new home for Special Olympics Missouri.

For 40 years, our athletes, coaches, volunteers and staff have not had their own place to call home. The Training for Life Campus will be their transformative place to train, compete and learn the lessons of sport and life that inspire all of us.

The planned Training for Life Campus will serve current and future generations of individuals with intellectual disabilities, and will be the largest such facility in scope in the United States. The 44,000-square-foot Center will be set on 11 acres in Columbia, and will offer year-round training opportunities for athletes, coaches and volunteers from throughout Missouri.

This is your chance to give our 16,000+ athletes – and the thousands more who will follow – the place they want most, so they can keep giving so much to all of us. 

3 SOMO athletesDonate to the Training For Life Campaign here.  

Choose monthly, annual or one-time gifts.

Committed Leadership for the Campaign

Special Olympics Missouri realized an important step in its vision for a place we can call our own with the announcement of a lead gift from Centene Charitable Foundation.

University of Missouri Head Football Coach Gary Pinkel joined with St. Louis business leader Michael F. Neidorff, CEO and President of Centene Corporation, to announce their vision for an innovative year-round training facility for Special Olympics Missouri at a press conference recently in Columbia, MO. In case you missed it, you can click to watch Coach Pinkel and Michael Neidorff make the announcement.

“Athletics provides everyone, regardless of age and ability, a reason to push themselves beyond their comfort zone and into places they have only dared to dream,“ said Pinkel.

A lead gift of $1 million from the Centene Charitable Foundation is the largest gift in Special Olympics Missouri history and is hoped to spark other such gifts from companies, foundations and individuals throughout the state to fulfill the first phase of the $12.5 million project.

"At Centene, we recognized the need to step up and provide significant support and I highly encourage and challenge the community to invest in this once-in-a-lifetime project that will take health, wellness and fitness opportunities for these children and adults to a level never before experienced," said Neidorff.  As passionate advocates for those of all abilities, Pinkel and Neidorff are honorary chairpersons for the Training for Life Campus Campaign. 

Special Olympics was recently ranked as the #1 non-profit organization serving people with disabilities by a subsidiary of GuideStar.

About the Training for Life CampusTFL Campus partial

The first of its kind in the United States, the campus will include:

- a 16,000-square-foot sports facility featuring basketball and volleyball;

- a “Sports Leadership Training Center Hall of Heroes”

- a Health and Fitness Center with cardiovascular and weight training; and

- a central office for coordination of state-wide efforts.

In addition, the facility will be surrounded by courts for seasonal play and professionally-styled fields to support 21 sports, including soccer, softball, bocce (Italian lawn bowling), flag football, track and field and golf. The campus will exceed ADA requirements with seamless application and design integration. Also, the multi-purpose facility will be available for other organizations, companies, schools and service providers to utilize for their efforts.

The Training for Life Campus will offer a comprehensive set of programs including: Training for Life camps, an extended specialty; “Healthy Athletes,” a lifetime wellness program designed to provide on-site screenings including dental health, vision and hearing screenings as well as physical examinations; Coach and Volunteer Training, to provide a comprehensive training and certification in all Special Olympics sports located within two hours of most of Missouri’s population; and a “Young Athletes Program” to provide needed screening and intervention services for children as young as three.

 
Meeting Critical Needs for Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities 

“There are approximately 112,000 people who would qualify for Special Olympics in Missouri and this facility will expand our ability to provide vital health assessments to more athletes. In addition, we will now be able to provide extended camp programs, opportunities for children as young as three to benefit from early intervention, and fitness experiences for those of all ages and abilities,” said Mark Bussen, President of Bussen Quarries, volunteer coach, Chairman of the SOMO Endowment Fund and Chairman of the Campaign.  

Mark Musso, Special Olympics Missouri’s CEO was quoted as saying, “For 40 years Special Olympics Missouri has relied on the support of private donors.  Without partners like the Centene Charitable Foundation, who recognize the value of health and wellness for individuals with intellectual disabilities, our future would not be so promising.” 

Follow Centene’s lead. Make a contribution today

 
About Special Olympics Missouri and its Supporters

Supporters can contribute to the campaign here.

For additional information, contact Laurie Shadoan at 573-635-1660 or email shadoan@somo.org.

Special Olympics Missouri is a year-round program of sports training and athletic competition for children and adults with intellectual disabilities. More than 16,000 athletes participate in 21 Olympic-type sports throughout the state.  Special Olympics provides people with intellectual disabilities continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, and experience joy as they participate in the sharing of gifts and friendship with their fellow athletes, their family and friends, and communities across Missouri.

Learn more at somogift.org. Engage with us on Twitter @somissouri; fb.com/specialolympicsmo.