Say YES to SOMO Athletes

SOMO says YES

 
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Special Olympics Missouri (SOMO) is committed to helping our athletes experience “YES.” Recently, we hosted our very first Outreach Expo powered by Procter & Gamble in Cape Girardeau. During this event, we hosted more than 50 current and prospective athletes and coaches. Athletes, coaches and families said that this event deepened their understanding of SOMO programming and allowed them to recognize the scope of care and level of services provided. That's our total-athlete approach. Families and coaches expressed that they were blown away by the range and quality of the programs SOMO offers and were thankful that their athletes could experience so much more than just sports. They were especially grateful for the free health screenings provided to their athletes.

Say Yes

 

Health & Wellness
The Healthy Athletes Program is a key component to our total-athlete approach. At the Outreach Expo, Health Messenger and trainer Lynn Shuffit led her ”Fit 5 Healthy Plate” class to teach her fellow athletes how to live a healthy lifestyle by focusing on proper nutrition. We also offered free health screenings in two of our disciplines: audiology and dentistry, also knows as Healthy Hearing and Special Smiles. We are celebrating the results of this wonderful engagement:

  • Special Smiles served 33 athletes. Of these athletes screened, 45% required follow-up care.
  • Healthy Hearing served 31 athletes. Of these athletes screened, 68% failed their hearing test.

Following their screenings, athletes were provided with a list of clinics near them for access to follow-up care.

“It is an honor to serve Special Olympics athletes as a Special Smiles dental team member," said Dr. Jayne Scherrman, a trained Special Olympics clinician. "As dentists, we are called to serve. Often, these athletes are under stress in the dental office, so when the dental team can be seen out of the office in a very positive and encouraging environment, it allows us to teach them that we do indeed care. The athletes were happy, honest and willing to hear our advice. I was so pleasantly surprised at the joy I felt the entire day.”

Lynn Shuffit   Dr Schermann

Outreach ExpoSports Training
Our athletes not only received free health screenings at the Outreach Expo, but also learned and strengthened their individual skills in three different sports: basketball, softball and volleyball.

Fifteen local professional trainers volunteered their time for this portion of the Expo.

“It was a pleasure getting to work with the Special Olympics athletes," said basketball trainer Matt Rubel. "I thoroughly enjoyed the enthusiasm, energy and effort put forth by all of them in the ball handling drills we did.”

 

Athlete Leadership
Athletes also learned about Athlete Leadership Programs (ALPs), a program that provides training for athletes who wish to expand their role in Special Olympics Missouri beyond the field of competition. ALPs teaches them how to feel just as empowered while off the field as respected leaders and spokespeople in their communities. Athletes can attend weekend courses, called Athlete Leadership Programs University, and work toward graduating with a degree and life skills that they are passionate about.

 

Training for Life
The Outreach Expo was truly a one-stop shop where athletes, families and coaches could come together to learn and grow. They were able to experience all of the life-changing programs that SOMO is proud to offer. This was just a taste of what our athletes, coaches, families and volunteers will experience at the Training for Life Campus once we reopen in 2020! We hope to offer more Outreach Expos in early 2020; keep an eye on our calendar for more information. 

Our athletes hear a profound “YES” through your donations. Please consider making an impactful gift today. Reach out to Travis Bourbon, Major Gifts Officer, at 816.678.9670 for more information. 

Say Yes

Special Olympics Missouri is proud to return 85% of every dollar back to program services. We are privileged to be recognized with these honors: BBB Accredited Charity, Charity Navigator 3-star rating and Guidestar Gold Level. We take pride in being good stewards of your donations! Check out our 2018 Annual Report