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The Philadelphia Charity Ball celebrated 138 years of tradition on Saturday, November 25, 2017. The mission of The Philadelphia Charity Ball is two-fold: to raise funds for non-profit organizations focused on youth in Philadelphia, and to inspire the young people of Philadelphia to make philanthropy a central part of their lives. It is a formal celebration and gathering that has raised millions of dollars for a variety of worthwhile charities over the years. Representing Special Olympics PA – Philadelphia were Jimmy Medal Winner, Bria Townse and mom, Yvette Rivers, Parkway West Athletic Director, Brian Beaton, Special Events and Marketing Manager, Kristin Craven and her husband, Frank Craven, Special Education Teacher at George Washington, Lori Solomon and her husband, Michael, an athlete at George Washington, Kalif Bledsoe, Executive Advisory Board Member, Robert Croft, and date Tiffany Wildfong.
This year, Special Olympics PA – Philadelphia was the beneficiary. In addition to being the beneficiary, one of our Partners (an individual without an intellectual disability who plays on a Unified Team made up of individuals with and without intellectual disabilities) received the honored Jimmy Medal. The Jimmy Medal identifies and celebrates individuals who make a positive difference in the lives of others. Through their actions, they exemplify the virtues of resiliency, humility, empathy, and loyalty.
Bria Townes is a senior at Parkway West. Raised in West Oak Lane. Bria has four siblings, an older sister and two older brothers, and one younger sister. She is a dedicated, hardworking student who does well in school. Volleyball, basketball, softball, and bocce are just a few of the sports in which Bria participates. Whether she’s a key player or helping on the sidelines, she is a valuable teammate. When she’s not dedicating her time to her studies or sports, Bria also has a part-time job during the school year and works full time during the summers which show her dedication and commitment to her future. Her friend and family would describe her as kind, compassionate, and loyal. She also loves children!
Bria has been a partner (a participant without an intellectual disability) with the Special Olympics Unified Program at Parkway West for two years. During her time as a Unified Partner, she has participated in bocce and their Unified Youth Leadership Club. One of her favorite memories of her time as a Unified Partner was meeting the other bocce ball participants for the first time. Bria says that every day since then they always give her a big hug and ask how her day is going. No matter what her mood is, it always helps to put a smile on her face. As a Partner, Bria has been a shining example of how every person in our community should be: kind, friendly, and welcoming to all. She has experienced firsthand through Unified Sports that training together and playing together is a quick path to friendship and understanding. We cannot thank her enough for her commitment to this program and for leading the way to inclusive communities for all. Congratulations, Bria!
Everyone had a wonderful time meeting each other and talking, then after dinner, dancing the night away.