Local Program News
AREA M - Kay Straw, Program Manager for Special Olympics PA, Area M, recently received the 2nd Annual Dunkin' Donuts “Thanks To You” Community Hero Award, which recognizes those in Central Pennsylvania who go above and beyond to keep their community running every day. The program honors individuals based on their community accomplishments and their ability to impact, improve and inspire society. Dunkin’ Donuts awarded Kay Straw and 9 additional outstanding heroes with a $500 American Express Gift Card and coffee for a year.
Area M serves more than 1,400 athletes that reside in Dauphin, Cumberland, Perry and Northern York Counties, and offers training in 19 different sports. Congratulations are extended to Kay!
LEBANON COUNTY - Special Olympics Pennsylvania, Lebanon County athletes joined Lebanon Valley College (LVC) art major students in creating a project that the county program could auction off during a fundraising dinner in March. The finished product was five decorated panels representing some of the sports Lebanon County offers. LVC student Abby Wise drew and painted the panels, then the athletes themselves helped to decorate them by adding yarn, beads, and much more.
After a great deal of hard work went into this special project, the Special Olympics county program decided to dedicate the panels to LVC instead of auctioning them off. The panels were dedicated on April 26, 2011 to Arnold’s Sports Center at LVC, where they currently hang with a descriptive plaque for all to see.
CARBON COUNTY - John DeVore was the first of the 13 young adults with special needs to receive his Ben Yorgey Memorial Award, May 13, 2011 at Lehighton High School. Ben’s father, Kent Yorgey, attended the Senior Awards Assembly at the high school to present John with his award. The Ben Yorgey Foundation is one dedicated to honoring the legacy of Ben Yorgey and generating funds for graduating high school students with special needs across the Lehigh Valley. The foundation provides high school graduation scholarships to a total of 14 special education students who most demonstrate Ben's love for life and people. Thirteen $500 scholarships are awarded to graduating students from Lehigh and Carbon Counties and one $5000 scholarship is awarded to a student from Lehigh County who most exemplifies Ben's character.
CRAWFORD COUNTY - Calista Pierce, 10, from Crawford County was one of 12 young girls chosen from 30 finalists in the Discovery Girls Magazine Role Model contest. The contest asked girls who thought they exemplified what the magazine stands for (Hardworking, confident, and resilient girls) to apply. She was among thousands of applicants from across the U.S and Canada that subscribers of the magazine had to vote for to see featured in the magazine. Winning the contest and becoming a “role model” allowed Calista to travel with the 11 other girls to San Francisco, California for a photo shoot. Pictures from the shoot were featured on the back cover of a Collectors Addition issue of the Discovery Girls Magazine. Click here to read Calista's Discovery Magazine Blog!
CENTRE COUNTY - Special Olympics Pennsylvania, Centre County athletes and their families joined members of the Penn State University football team for a food and beverage social on Thursday, July 28, 2011. Those who attended the social received autographs from the PSU players as well as a tour of the Lasch Football Building.
ADAMS COUNTY - On Saturday, July 30, 2011, athletes of many ages gathered at Codorus State Park to compete in the Adams County’s Special Olympics Kayaking Competition. Adams County is the first and only Special Olympics program to offer a Kayaking event at this time. York County’s Special Olympics program was also in attendance at the competition.
The competition expanded over 100 meters of Marburg Lake where about 16 athletes raced to the finish. Before the athletes could compete, they were required to attend eight training sessions where volunteers helped them practice the beginning line up, what to do if the boat tips, paddling techniques and other skills needed for the kayaking competition. As a result, Adams County athlete Becky Mummert was chosen to receive the first Kayaking Athlete of the Month Award.
The kayaking event was started by Hanover local Ed Ball, who after retiring from his position as kayaking director in Maryland and moving to Pennsylvania, started the sport in Adams County. Click here to see Fox 43 News Coverage.
DELAWARE COUNTY - Ron Nagel, a Delaware County program athlete and member of the Marple Newtown Swim Team, was recently presented an award named after him for his years of inspiration, dedication, determination and teamwork. The Ron Nagel Inspirational Award will now be given each year to another deserving athlete. Nagel was also featured in a recent Marple Newtown Patch news article. Click here to read his story.