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The 2018 Philadelphia Spring Games was held on Saturday, April 28, 2018, at William Penn Charter School. Athletes from Philadelphia and surrounding counties competed in athletics (track & field), basketball, and tennis. To kick off the day, athlete Raymond Anderson and John Boruk welcomed the crowd during the Opening Ceremonies. Frankford High School JROTC lead by Cadet Juvian Lopez and the West Powelton Drumline lead the Parade of Athletes which welcomed Montgomery County’s Track Team, Philadelphia Track Team, Delaware County Tennis Team, Philadelphia Tennis Team; and basketball teams: Chester Alex Avengers A, Chester Alex Avengers B, Chester Alex Avengers C, Philly All-Stars, Philly Bandits, Philly Dreamers, Philly Hoops, Philly Huskies, Philly Phlash, Philly Rebels, Philly Rebounders, Philly Warriors, Philly Wildcats I and Philly Wildcats II. After all the athletes took their seats, Frankford High School’s JROTC presented the colors and Denine Aversa, the mother of a South Philadelphia athlete, sang that National Anthem. New Special Olympics PA – Philalephia Director, Chase Trimmer, and Special Olympics PA President and CEO, Matthew Aaron, then gave welcoming remarks and wished athletes the best of luck as they competed later in the day. After welcoming remarks, Athlete Leadership Chair, Teddy Angerman welcomed everyone and introduced the rest of the Philadelphia Athlete Leadership Team. Victoria Amaradio, an athlete from South Philadelphia, lead all athletes in the Athlete Oath prior to the highlight of the Ceremonies – the lighting of the cauldron.
Deputy Commissioner Dennis Wilson of the Philadelphia Police Department, Cheif Dave Duffy of the Upper Gwynedd Police Department and men, women, and Police Explorers from Philadelphia and surrounding law enforcement agencies along with PECO employees, started their day at the Philadelphia Museum of Art where the Flame of Hope started its journey for the day. The Law Enforcement Torch Run ran 6 miles from the Philadelphia Museum of Art to William Penn Charter to bring the Flame of Hope to Opening Ceremonies to light the cauldron. As the Law Enforcement Torch Run got to William Penn Charter, they joined special guest Bernard Hopkins and Philadelphia athletes for the final leg. As the Flame of Hope came down the track and light the cauldron, everyone cheered and the 41st annual Philadelphia Spring Games officially came to a start!
Athlete then headed to their respective venues on campus to compete. Throughout the day, spectators and coaches saw great competition and sportsmanship between the athletes. After competition, athlete were awarded medals and ribbons based on their order of finish.
After Opening Ceremonies, Special Olympics PA – Philadelphia hosted their first every Unified Shot-put Experience where athletes got together with VIP guests to compete in the sport of shot-put. Athletes from Philadelphia who took part in this experience included Raymond Anderson, Eddie Glover, Jackie Lutts, Teddy Angerman, Sadika Smith. Athletes from Montgomery County included Robert Decker, Chip Tamagni, and Lauren Otterbein. Partners included Philadelphia Charity Ball Board members Jay Devine, Peter Cooke, and Colleen Holt-McCauley; Executive Advisory Board members Ernie Holtzheimer, Robert Croft, and Brian Monihan; Alex McConathey, and Fire Commissioner Adam Thiel. Every participant threw the shot-put twice, with their best score counting. Scores were calculated by adding each pair’s (an athlete and a partner) top throw together. In the end, Ernie Holtzheimer and Michael won with the overall high score.
Wildcats I – 1st Place
Wildcats II – 3rd Place
To view all photos, click here.
THE GISH ROCKFORD FAMILY
HEALTH PARTNERS PLANS
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.
On Monday, August 21, the Philadelphia Charity Ball crashed soccer practice. Philadelphia Charity Ball Board Members, Debutantes, Young Men’s Committee Members and friends and families of the Philadelphia Charity Ball attended soccer practice. South Philadelphia has practice on Monday evenings at Marconi Plaza (Broad St. & Oregon Ave) in Philadelphia. The Philadelphia Charity Ball members joined, Special Olympics PA – Philadelphia Director, Britt Kleine, and the South Philadelphia Wildcats and their families to kick off the 2017 fall season.
The Wildcats are looking to compete at the Eastern Fall Sectional on Sunday, October 1st at East Stroudsburg University and Fall Fest, held Friday, November 10th and Sunday, November 12th at Villanova University. The Philadelphia Charity Ball crew didn’t just stand on the sidelines and cheer, they got involved on the field to truly experience Special Olympics!
Many Philadelphia Charity Ball folks enjoyed running drills and making friends in the spirit of the united sports movement. At the end of practice, everyone was tired, b knew they had a great workout and a great time.
To find out more about our soccer programs in Philadelphia, click here.
On Friday, November 25th the 137th Annual Philadelphia Charity Ball took place. That evening, the Jimmy Medal awarded to Michael Caporale. 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.
Mikey, diagnosed with autism, preferred being alone in his early years, watching and playing video games. His parents and stepparents felt that Mikey needed more engagement with the real world. He needed human connection. Mikey had shown some interest in videoing. Self-taught, he eventually started to capture video. At the age of 13, he discovered video blogs and started his very own YouTube channel and Mikey Cap Productions was born. The video camera got him out of the house and into the community, making friends both online and off. His YouTube channel and social media presence got a big boost from fellow local YouTubers with an international following exposing Mikey to others like him around the world. He made it his mission to show them that they are never alone, that they always have a friend in Mikey Cap. He is making a positive difference already in those he has reached, and encourages them to do the same, with the promise of a “shout-out” or repost as a reward.
Now in high school, Mikey followed in his big brother’s footsteps, by joining Special Olympics. He participates in bowling, athletics, volleyball, basketball, and soccer! Special Olympics is not only an outlet for much needed physical activity, it’s an opportunity every day for Mikey to build strong, lasting friendships with kids his own age, and to learn more about himself. He loves to record all his practices, capturing his feelings, egging on his coaches, cheering on his teammates. Special Olympics helped to round out the potential that everyone who knew him could already see: his compassion, his competitive nature, his strong spirit. And he plans to continue to participate in Special Olympics, to video for Mikey Cap Productions, and to spread the word that anyone can make a difference, if they try.
Philadelphia Charity Ball attendees and our athletes entered the Crystal ea Room under the sword arch of the First Troop Philadelphia City Cavalry, At the ball, Mikey was joined by his supportive family and fellow South Philadelphia teammates, Victoria Amaradio and Bianca Pedulla as he accepted the award. Mikey, Victoria, and Bianca indulged in a wonderful meal and, in true Special Olympics form, when it was time to hit the dance floor, Mikey grabbed his teammates and escorted them to the dance floor and showed the crowds their moves.
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.
On Saturday, November 29th, three athletes including Philadelphia’s own Dadly Thenor, attended the 2014 Philadelphia Charity Ball as guests of honor. Founded in 1881, the Philadelphia Charity Ball celebrated its 135th annual ball. In a new partnership with the Philadelphia Charity Ball, Special Olympics has been named the benefiting charity of this incredible event over the next few years.
The 2014 Philadelphia Charity Ball was an absolute spectacle and felt like a storybook come to life! The athletes, their guests, and SOPA staff representative, Britt Kleine, had a magical time and created memories that will be cherished for years to come.
A highlight of Saturday evening’s festivities was the awarding of the Jimmy Medal. The Jimmy Medal, a medal that identifies and celebrates individuals who make a positive difference in the lives of others, was given to our very own Dadly Thenor! Dadly’s smile and positive outlook inspire many of us daily, but on this particular night, he touched the lives of everyone in the ballroom.
Thank you, Philadelphia Charity Ball! We cannot wait to be a part of it again in 2015!