Special Olympics Oath:
"Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt."

First Special Olympics
The first Special Olympics International Summer Games held in Chicago, IL in 1968
at Soldier Field with Founder Eunice Kennedy Shriver in the foreground.

The Special Olympics movement began in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s when Eunice Kennedy Shriver, the sister of President John F. Kennedy and Rosemary Kennedy (born with intellectual disabilities) wanted to show the world what individuals with intellectual disabilities could do, rather than focus on what they couldn’t. In fact, the first Special Olympics International Summer Games were held at Soldier Field, here in Chicago, IL in 1968. And since 1968, the Knights of Columbus have raised and donated more than $600 million to programs for individuals with intellectual and physical disabilities; with Special Olympics being one of the larger programs the Order donates to. Although the Order’s involvement in Special Olympics originated in Illinois, it has expanded to all states nationally, and within the past few years has expanded internationally, as evidenced by the Order’s involvement in the 2015 Special Olympics International Summer Games held in Los Angeles, CA. The Knights of Columbus commitment to Special Olympics is an ongoing expression of our belief in the intrinsic worth of every human being.

In fulfilling this commitment, St. Mary of Vernon Council 8022 has offered to provide resources at as many Special Olympic Area games as possible. These resources will be used to 1) speak during the opening ceremonies to welcome athletes and their families on behalf of the Knights of Columbus, 2) facilitate one or more of the athletic events and/or hand out awards, and 3) man tables to invite qualified Special Olympic Athletes along with their brothers, fathers, and grandfathers to join the Knights of Columbus.

As members of the Knights of Columbus we have the unique ability to influence and raise awareness that individuals with intellectual disabilities want to be accepted and included not only in our schools and businesses; but within our communities. And what better way to accomplish this than getting directly involved with Special Olympics. As Knights it’s charitable to stand on the sidelines and give or receive donations for the cause; but it’s intrinsically rewarding to stand on the sidelines to cheer on the athletes and witness firsthand the courage, compassion, and competitive spirit these athletes – and their families - have for one another.

I ask that you join our council and consider giving an hour - or a couple of hours – at one or more of these events to help make a difference in the lives of these athletes. Help them show the world, and themselves, what they can do; instead of what they can’t. Help us carry on the legacy Eunice Kennedy Shriver started years ago. And as a brother Knight, help us uphold the belief in the intrinsic worth of every human being.

Vivat Jesus,

Steve Cerve
Special Olympics Chairman, St. Mary of Vernon Council 8022

Special Olympics
Special Olympics Websites for Reference

Knights of Columbus Special Olympics website: http://www.kofc.org/un/en/members/programs/partnership-programs/special-olympics.html#/

Special Olympics of Illinois website: http://www.soill.org/

Brenden Cannon / Area 13 Director / Special Olympics Illinois / bcannon@soill.org

Special Olympics
Nearly 3.5 Million Special Olympic Athletes worldwide
226 Programs around the world
More than 170 Countries around the world
Seven Regional Offices
32 Olympics-type sports
805,000 volunteers worldwide
250,000 coaches around the world

Special Olympics 2019 Calendar