IUS Athlete receives Jimmy Medal

On Friday, November 27th, three athletes along with their dates attended the 136th annual Philadelphia Charity Ball. Special Olympics PA has been the beneficiary of the ball for multiple years, and was the beneficiary again this year. Special Olympics athletes Ian Capacio and Ally Rutizer attended the Ball along with Interscholastic Unified Sports (IUS) athlete Brandon Velez-Roa who took IUS partner, Katlyn Geist as his date.

Brandon Velez-Roa, who is a student at Abraham Lincoln High School, received the Jimmy Award at the 2015 Philadelphia Charity Ball. The Jimmy Medal identifies and celebrates individuals who make a positive difference in the lives of others. Though their actions they exemplify the virtues of resiliency, humility, empathy and loyalty.

Brandon participates as an athlete in both Unified Bocce and Soccer with Special Olympics at his school. “Brandon is a fantastic athlete who loves competing and displays tremendous effort and attitude both on and off the field,” said his coach Michael Turchi. His peers and teachers would describe him as kind, friendly, coachable and very lovable young man. Brandon’s outgoing and optimistic demeanor have made him not only a great athlete, but also a wonderful friend and role model for all the students at Abraham Lincoln High School. He has participated with his fellow team and classmates in the Spread the Word to End the Word Campaign at Abraham Lincoln High School, which is a Special Olympics initiative that brings education and light to the word ‘retard’. Through the Spread the Word to End the Word Campaign, students pledge not to use the ‘R’ word and by making that pledge they promote respect and an inclusive climate for all students. Brandon truly embodies the four pillars of the Jimmy Award: Resiliency, Empathy, Humility and Loyalty and Coach Turchi along with Special Olympics Philadelphia are honored to nominate him to receive this accolade.

Check out the photos of the event by Bowden Photographics.