The 2017 TD Campaign is coming! Beginning Monday, May 15, 2017, TD Bank launches their ninth Special Olympics Campaign! Again, they have set their sites on raising $1,000,000 across their footprint for Special Olympics programs across the East Coast. Since TD Bank loves seeing our athletes, they will help all Special Olympics Programs across the East Coast to Celebrate their Champions. 

Throughout the campaign, Special Olympics PA, Philadelphia will be visiting the 23 stores that reside in Philadelphia County. Most of these visits will occur on Saturday, June 10th between 10:00 am and 12:00 pm – one week after our athletes get back from Summer Games at Penn State University! Make sure you stop by to join in the celebration!


Because of the huge success of the trading cards introduced during last year’s campaign, TD Bank has issued a new set of Trading Cards. This year, the four athletes representing Pennsylvania in these packs are from Philadelphia! Make sure you stop by your local TD Bank to make a $5 donation to receive a pack of trading cards – try to collect all 50!

Join the TD Bank and Special Olympics conversation by using #CelebratingChampions when talking about the campaign. Throughout the month and a half campaign – we will see many of our Champions Celebrated! Stay tuned for a recap and photos from all of our branch visits!


12 swimmers, 6 basketball teams, 3 tennis players, and 2 individual skills athletes represented Philadelphia at the 2017 Eastern Spring Sectional on Saturday, May 6th at Kutztown University. They joined athletes from Area P, Bethlehem City, Berks, Bucks, Carbon, Chester, Columbia/Montour, Delaware, Lancaster, Lebanon, Lehigh, Luzerne, Monroe, Northumberland/Snyder, Montgomery, and Schuylkill. The total number of athletes at this event was 1150 across six different sports!  With the theme of “Under the Big Top” our athletes performed on the court and in the pool. Although there weren’t any elephants or tigers, our athletes gave wonderful performances in each of their events. 

Things got started at 9:00 am with clouds looming overhead signaling a rainy day, but the rain held off, even though it pushed Opening Ceremonies indoors. Although everyone was indoors for Opening Ceremonies, the gymnasium was loud with excitement. Rebecca Konen from KutzTones, Kutztown University’s a cappella group sang the national anthem. Kutztown University’s Cheerleading team escorted athletes during the Parade of Athletes. Kutztown University President, Dr. Kenneth Hawkinson, spoke words of encouragement and pride that his school hosts the Eastern Spring Sectionals before wishing athletes the best of luck. Kutztown Dance Team performed for our athletes and it got the crowd energized for the competition that would soon follow. After their performance, the games were declared open and everyone scattered to see what the big top had in store!

After preliminary competitions, our basketball teams found out their course – and it gave them a welcomed challenge. In their final games, they were able to show off the skills they had been working on and captured a spot on the podium. In the pool, there were some close races as our athletes sprinted down the pool and paced themselves in the longer distances. On the tennis courts, one of our athletes showed off their individual skills in the forehand volley, backhand volley, forehand groundstroke, backhand groundstroke, serve – deuce court, serve ad court, and alternating strokes with movement. 




Emmet Abdo
25M Freestyle :25.75 1st
50 Backstroke 1:52.36 1st
50 Freestyle 1:05.03 2nd
Joseph Barut
25M Freestyle :34.89 3rd
50 Backstroke 1:47.51 2nd
50 Freestyle 1:22.98 5th
Ian Capacio
800 Freestyle 13:38.45 2nd
200 Butterfly 3:22.89 1st
200 Individual Medley 3:16.28 2nd
Kelsey Greenwald
200 Freestyle 4:08.45 1st
100 Freestyle 1:59.85 4th
400 Freestyle 8:56.19 1st
Katelyn Joyce
50 Backstroke 1:10.80 2nd
100 Freestyle 2:33.94 5th
100 Butterfly   DQ
Heather Lutts
100 Freestyle 2:41.91 2nd
25 Butterfly :45.28 1st
50 Breaststroke 1:41.47 1st
Jackie Lutts
50 Backstroke 1:08.98 1st
100 Freestyle 2:01.34 5th
50 Freestyle :52.65 3rd
Matthew Malyj
100 Breaststroke 3:37.15 3rd
25 Backstroke :28.81 3rd
100 Freestyle 2:14.97 1st
Brian Meehan
100 Backstroke 2:16.17 3rd
  25 Breaststroke :37.75 2nd
  200 Freestyle 4:38.69 3rd
Katie Moore
100 Butterfly 2:26.16 1st
200 Individual Medley 5:04.42 1st
400 Freestyle 10:25.23 1st
Anthony Powell
25M Freestyle :58.47 2nd
  50 Backstroke 2:16.00 1st
  25 Butterfly :46.41 1st



Individual Skills

Jason Sobrinno

Team Members
Derrell Sutton, Brian Stulz, Charlie Zisette, Matthew Everett, Carl Irvis, Derrick Jackson, Josh Harris, Corey Sweet, Danny Charlton, Jason Bixby Ryan Milanaik 3rd
Joshua Gaskin, Robald Atkins, Sam Fioravanti, Matt Beckman, William Strauser, Miguel Lebron, Allison Rutzier, Ernest Swanson, Danny Amrik Walt Beckman 2nd
Michael Castillo, Aida Ortiz, James Shelton, Stanley Dluzniewski, Jonathan Naissance, Kristie Walls, Kelly Dluzniewski, David Brent Williams, Zachary Hollinger Jon Garvey 3rd
Matthew Grabowski, Kwanted Crummy, Ryan Bogan, Vernon Mayfield, Joe Rynkiewicz, Angel Rodriguez, Luis Cotto, Mitchell Stahl Chris Muzi 3rd
Nicole Stanley, James Fulton, Lateef Hiller, Corbin Whittington, Frank Olevsky, Nakisha Johnson, Benjamin Liken, James Trotman, Sebastian Zeiss, Trevor Thompson Myra Ausberry 3rd 
Lavar Gladden, Anthony Glannigan,  Davon Clements, Demetrius LeFlore, Abdul Muhammad, Derrick Slef, Denzel McFadden, Kenneth Lamont, Michael Henderson, Christopher Ray Will Holman 1st 




Shawn Moton


Elijah Williams & Christopher Newton

Special Olympics PA, Philadelphia held four 2017 IUS Soccer League Play Days for the nine high schools participating in soccer this year. These four games lead up to the Unified Soccer Championship on May 30th. With typical spring weather, two of our league play days were postponed due to rain, but in the end, all of the League Play Days were filled with the sun, friendship, and most importantly sportsmanship.

League Play Day 2

The first day of the IUS Soccer League Play Days was held on March 30, 2017, as the first one was rained out and rescheduled. Thomas Edison graciously hosted Frankford High School, George Washington High School and School of the Future. The day was chilly but dry with the sun peeking out at times. Each of the four schools had two soccer teams representing their school and each team was able to play twice.

Field 1
Field 2
Round 1
GW1 (1) vs. TE1 (2) FRNK1 (0) vs. SOF2 (3)
Round 2
TE1 (2) vs. SOF 1 (0) FRNK2 (0) vs. GW2 (0)
Round 3
SOF1 (1) vs. GW1 (1) TE2 (0) vs. SOF2 (1)
Round 4
TE2 (3) vs. FRNK 2 (1) GW2 (1) vs. FRNK2 (0)

Frankford (FRNK), George Washington (GW), School of the Future (SOF), Thomas Edison (TE)

League Play Day 1

The original date of the IUS League Play Day was on Tuesday, March 28th. This league play day was postponed due to heavy rains to Tuesday, April 4th. Abraham Lincoln, Audenried Charter, Furness, and Sayre all came to Martin Luther King High School who was the gracious host for the day. We saw a lot of sportsmanship during this league play day. In one of the Player Development games, we saw an Audenried partner (individual without an intellectual disability) help coach a Furness athlete (individual with an intellectual disability). This typically happens between teammates, but the circumstances arose where there wasn’t a partner near the athlete to help guide them.

Field 1
Field 2
Field 3
Round 1
AL 1 (5) vs. AUD1 (0)   MLK2 (0) vs. SAY1 (0)
Round 2
MLK1 (2) vs. AL1 (2) FURN2 (1) vs. AUD2 (3) FURN1 (6) vs. SAY2 (2)
Round 3
AUD1 (1) vs. MLK1 (5) SAY1 (0) vs. AL2 (0)  AUD2 (4) vs. SAY2 (0)
Round 4
AL2 (1) vs. FURN1 (4) FURN2 (0) vs. MLK2 (1)  

Abraham Lincoln (AL), Audenried Charter (AUD), Furness (FURN), Martin Luther King Jr. (MLK), Sayre (SAY)

League Play Day 4

The fourth league play day occurred on a Thursday, April 27th. School of the Future hosted Abraham Lincoln, Geroge Washington, and Sayre for their second league play day. It started as a cloudy and cool day, but as the games were underway, the sun came out and it felt like summer. The next time these teams will meet will be at the Unified Soccer Championship on Tuesday, May 30th.

GW1 (3) vs. SOF1 (1) AL2 (2) vs. SAY2 (6)
AL1 (2) vs. GW1 (3) SAY1 (0) vs. SOF2 (4)
SOF1 (0) vs. AL1 (1) SAY2 (4) vs. GW2 (4)
SOF2 (3) vs. AL2 (0) GW2 (0) vs. SAY1 (2)

Abraham Lincoln (AL), George Washington (GW), School of the Future (SOF), Sayre (SAY)


League Play Day 3

The original date for the third IUS League Play Day was on Tuesday, April 25th. After being rained out the first day, it was nothing but beautiful blue skies on the new date, May 2nd. Frankford High School hosted Audenreid, Furness, Martin Luther King and Thomas Edison for their second league play day – and what would end up being the final league play day of the year. The next time these teams will meet will be at the Unified Soccer Championship on Tuesday, May 30th.

TE1 (1) vs. AUD1 (0) TE2 (4) vs. MLK2 (0) FRNK1 (1) vs. FURN 2 (0)
AUD1 (3) vs. MLK1 (4) AUD2 (2) vs. FRNK2 (0) FURN1 (4) vs. FRNK1 (2)
MLK1 (0) vs. TE1 (2) TE2 (5) vs. FURN2 (1) MLK2 (1) vs. FRNK2 (0)

Audenried Charter (AUD), Frankford (FRNK), Furness (FURN), Martin Luther King (MLK), Thomas Edison (TE)

Our program is growing and we need your help! Special Olympics PA – Philadelphia is Seeking Management Team Volunteers! Our management team will be comprised of volunteers who are dedicated and passionate about SOPA Philly to help us grow in a variety of areas. These individuals will work on the administrative/back-end of SOPA Philly and help us advance the program’s best interests throughout the year. Below is the descriptions of the management team positions we are looking to fill. Several of these positions are recommended by Special Olympics PA and will all be considered for use in the Philadelphia Program. Additional positions have been added based on our program’s needs.

Image result for team

Competition & Training Coordinator

Assisting in the organization and success of sports training for coaches and athletes. Additionally responsible for the collaborating with program’s Sports Director to ensure paperwork, deadlines and other needs are met in order to for athletes to participate in  Area/County/Statewide competitions (in compliance with Olympics sports rules and SOPA policies)

Family Coordinator:

Recruiting and coordinating the activities of family members of Special Olympics athletes to encourage participation.

Fitness & Health Coordinator:

Working with an Athlete (similar title) to encourage and develop plans to sustain healthy and active lifestyles beyond an athlete’s sports training. Providing suggestions and recommendations to the SOPA Philadelphia staff on how we can be a healthier program (menus for events, additional active/fitness opportunities, website resources, etc.)

Fund Raising Coordinator

Working with families, athletes and teams to engage them in fundraising activities and initiatives to help support the local program budget. This can be through engaging athletes to participate in current fundraisers (Leprechaun Run, Philadelphia Polar Plunge) or by creating new fundraisers (dance, raffles, etc.)

 Transitions Coordinator

Working with our school program to help transition participants into our community program both during their time as a student and after they graduate from high school. Connecting with city service groups to promote Special Olympics for individuals with ID through their support coordinators.

Unified Sports Coordinator

Focus on growing Unified Sports offerings in the community. Adding Unified Sports opportunities to existing training sites and seeking new opportunities. Responsible for recruiting Athletes and Partners to participate on these Unified teams. Will work closely with Manager of Interscholastic Unified Sports (school program) and Sports Director.

*Unified Sports is a program that brings together individuals with and without intellectual disabilities on the same teams promoting inclusive communities and a shift in focus on a person’s abilities instead of their disabilities. These teams can be a ‘player development’ model where the partner (no intellectual disability) is in a mentorship role to the athlete (person with ID), but it can also be a ‘competitive’ model where both the partners and athletes have a similar skill level in that particular sport. Currently, SOPA Philly plays Unified bocce, soccer and track and field during our school program, and has Unified bocce and bowling in our community program.

Volunteer & Outreach Coordinator (Volunteer and Athlete)

Responsible for volunteer and athlete recruitment and registration. Works closely with our Database Coordinator.

Young Athletes Coordinator

Continue the ongoing success and growth of our Young Athletes Program. Ensuring sessions are running twice per year at various sites throughout the city. To include recruitment of participants and athletes, as well as identifying new potential host sites. Help develop and implement a sustainability plan for Young Athletes.

*Young Athletes is an 8 week-long early childhood sports play program for children with intellectual disabilities aged 2 to 7 years old. It includes games, songs, and other fun! Our young athletes learn basic sports skills like kicking and throwing a ball and playing with others! While young athletes practice their sports skills, they gain motor skills like balance, flexibility, strength, and coordination.


To learn more about the positions available, contact Britt Kleine, at or 215-671-5063. Deadline for applications is Wednesday, May 31st.


On Tuesday, October 25, 2016, thirteen high schools came together for training to be student leaders in their respective schools at Special Olympics Philadelphia’s “I Have a Voice” Unified Youth Summit. The Philadelphia School District hosted the summit at their headquarters with support from HOBY, and The Philadelphia Foundation. Schools in attendance at the Unified Youth Summit were: Abraham Lincoln High School, Frankford High School, Furness High School, George Washington High School, High School of the Future, Hill Freedman High School, Martin Luther King Jr High School, Parkway West High School, Sayre High School, Simon Gratz High School, South Philadelphia High School, Thomas Edison High School, and Universal Audenried Charter High School.

The day started with opening remarks from President and CEO of Special Olympics PA, Matthew Aaron, Director of Special Olympics PA – Philadelphia, Britt Kleine. After opening remarks had been made, Brandon Velez-Roa and Kenny Brough from Abraham Lincoln High School shared how the Interscholastic Unified Sports (IUS) Program has it brought them together and made a huge impact on their lives. Superintendent, Dr. Hite, gave some remarks and inspired the students in attendance to learn as much as the could during the summit to continue making a positive change within their school. 

The main part of the day was a presentation from by Kevin Grace, from Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership (HOBY). Kevin lead the students in exercises about working together and setting goals. At the end of the presentation, students constructively discussed issues in their schools and how they could implement change in those situations by creating a game plan that the could execute in the academic year.

Youth Leadership is one of the components of the Interscholastic Unified Sports (IUS) Program, a program that brings individuals with and without intellectual disabilities together to train and compete on the same sports team as well as make a change in their school through a Unified School Club. Through these clubs, students act as leaders and promote inclusion through Whole School Engagement Activites. 


The Philadelphia Polar Plunge is coming back to town!
Mark your calendars for Friday, December 2nd and get excited to take an icy cold dip in one of our two above ground pools at Drexel University’s Fitness Plaza.
Join us as hundreds of brave individuals jump into an icy cold pool to warm the hearts of our Special Olympics Philadelphia athletes. The goal of the #PhillyPlunge is to raise funds for Philadelphia athletes and to build awareness of the many activities we offer to our athletes free of charge.
How do YOU want to participate?
Plunge during one of our time slots into one of our icy cold pools!
Be the leader of your celebration (group of polar bears) and let the fun begin!
Come be part of the fun, but stay on warm, dry land.
Can’t make the date? Sponsor a Plunger
Past participants can login with your old username/password
New participants must create a new profile

#PhillyPlunge Schedule:

Cool Schools Plunge for High Schools
10am – 12pm
Business Plunge for Business Executives
12pm – 2pm
General Public Plunge for everyone!
5pm – 7pm
University Plunge for College Students
7pm -9pm
Need some help signing up online? Click for step-by-step instructions:

A Unified Soccer Team from George Washington High School will be participating in the 2016 MLS Works Exchange Game as the Philadelphia Union! On Saturday, May 28th, our athletes will face off a Unified Colorado Rapids team at 9:00pm at Dicks Sporting Goods Park. Major League Soccer (MLS) started a relationship with Special Olympics and together created the Unified Exchange Program in 2013 to promote inclusion at all levels of soccer. Through the MLS Unified Exchange Program, Special Olympics athletes in an MLS city form a team. From there, Unified soccer teams travel to other MLS soccer markets and receive training from MLS players and coaches and compete against each other on the same fields the pros play on. 


Meet the Team:


About Unified Sports:

Special Olympics Unified Sports® creates an opportunity for people without intellectual disabilities to join in the sports experience by playing on a team with athletes with intellectual disabilities. Not only do the players all have fun, but attitude change and transformation happens on the playing field and the experiences create lifelong friendships.

Our 39th Spring Games were held on Saturday, April 23, 2016 had dreary and wet weather, but our athletes still shone in bright yellow shirts! With the rain steadily coming down, Opening Cermonies moved indoors. Athelte, Emmet Abdo and  Marc Zumoff, Philadelphia 76ers sportscaster for Comcast SportsNet, emceed the Opening Ceremonies where Frankford High School, Junior ROTC Color Guard presented the colors and athlete Michael Caporole and his mother Denine Latanzo Avera of South Philadelphia led the crown in an inspiring rendition of the National Anthem. Before the games were declared open, our Law Enforcement Officers Torch Run ended their 6 mile journey from the Philadelphia Museum and brought the Flame of Hope to help open the games. The runners were led by Chief Inspector Dennis Wilson of the Philadelphia Police Department, Chief Dave Duffy of the Upper Gwynedd Police Department, men and women from Philadelphia and surrounding law enforcement agencies and PECO employees.

Unfortunatly, as the rain continued, Special Olympics Philadelphia had to make the tough decision of cancelling tennis and  field events for the safety of our athletes competing. Basketball went on as and our athletes took every chance they got to make a basket. South Philadelphia’s basketball team the Philly Wildcats made their Special Olympics debut at the 39th Annual Spring Games. Young Athletes held a demonstration from 10:00am – 11:00am. They showed off their skills as they jumped, ran, and tossed balls with our volunteers. Members of the Drexel Women’s Basketball Team played two Unified Games. One against the Philly Phlames and the second against the Philly Warriors. The Drexel Lady Dragons put up a good fight but were no match for our two basketball teams. The lady Dragons lost both games, with the first game ending at Philly Phlames 28, Drexel Dragons 21 and the second game finishing at Drexel Dragons 22, Philly Warriors 23.


On Saturday, April 2nd 2016, The Hatboro YMCA and Special Olympics Pennsylvania Montgomery County hosted a gymnastics competition. Teams from Lebanon, Bethlehem and Area M joined Philadelphia and host program Montgomery to compete for the gold. Philadelphia had 5 athletes compete at this tournament who joined another 95 athletes in this day-long competition.

On the women’s side, we had Jasmin and Megan representing Philadelphia. Jasmin made Special Olympics Pennsylvania – Philadelphia history by being our first rhythmic gymnastic competitor! At the tournament, Jasmin competed in Ball, Ribbon, Rope, and Hoop and after all four events – won her age group! Megan competed in Floor, Valut, Beam, and Uneven Bars. At this tournament, Megan debuted a new floor routine set to music from the Broadway play “Chicago” and took home the gold in her age group! Congratulations, ladies! 

Our three male athletes, Luke, Shawn and Trevor competed in all six events that are available in men’s gymnastics – Parallel Bars (also known as P-Bars), High Bar, Rings, Floor, Vault, and the Pommel Horse. This was the first time both Shawn and Trevor competed in all six events! What made the day even better for both Shawn and Trevor, is they both won their age group! Luke showed growth in his performance and came in second in his age group. Congratulations to all of our male athletes! 

Our gymnastic team’s next meet is on Sunday, April 24th in Allentown, PA. Best of luck to our athletes! 




Spread the Word to End the Word is an ongoing effort by Special Olympics, Best Buddies and our supporters to inspire respect and acceptance through raising the consciousness of society about the R-word and how hurtful words and disrespect can be toward people with intellectual disabilities.

The campaign, created by youth, is intended to engage schools, organizations and communities to rally and pledge their support at and to promote the inclusion and acceptance of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.


The annual day of awareness is held the first Wednesday of every March – in 2016, Spread the Word to End the Word will fall on March 2nd. While most activities are centered on or near that annual day in March, people everywhere can help spread the word throughout their communities and schools year-round thru pledge drives, youth rallies and online activation.


Spread the Word to End the Word was founded by college students Soeren Palumbo (Notre Dame 2011) and Tim Shriver (Yale 2011) in 2009, and continues to be led by passionate young people, along with Special Olympics athletes and Best Buddies participants across the United States and in many other parts of the world.


Respectful and inclusive language is essential to the movement for the dignity and humanity of people with intellectual disabilities. However, much of society does not recognize the hurtful, dehumanizing and exclusive effects of the R-word.

Language affects attitudes. Attitudes impact actions. Make your pledge for #Respect today at


Visit to learn how you can Spread the Word to End the Word.


For more information, contact:

Christy White, Special Olympics or 202-824-0307

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