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March NEWSLETTER

Doherty Announces Retirement

Beau Doherty
Special Olympics Connecticut President and CEO Beau Doherty announced that he will retire on August 29, 2022. Doherty, who's held positions with Special Olympics for more than 40 years, is credited with introducing the concept of Unified Sports® to Special Olympics Founder Eunice Kennedy Shriver. The program provides individuals with and without intellectual disabilities opportunities to play sports together, on the same team.
Doherty began his career at the former Paul A. Dever State School in Taunton, Massachusetts, where he witnessed, firsthand, the isolation and separation that the intellectual disability community experiences. He was hired as Training Director for Special Olympics Massachusetts in 1982 to help provide individuals with intellectual disabilities with opportunities to play sports and soon after in 1986, continued his career at Special Olympics Connecticut, becoming its President and CEO in 1993.
Professional highlights include helping to establish the first Special Olympics program in the country of Jordan, co-chairing the Special Olympics Indigenous People's Initiative in North America and hosting the 1995 Special Olympics World Summer Games in Connecticut. 
Unified Sports® in Schools - Inspiring Inclusion for 30 Years
Unified Sports In Schools Athletes with Basketball
This year marks the 30th anniversary of Special Olympics CT's partnership with the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference (CIAC) to bring Unified Sports to students of all abilities in schools across our state. To celebrate the success of the partnership and this notable milestone, here are ten fun facts about our Special Olympics Unified Sports program in schools:
  1. Special Olympics CT President Beau Doherty (fondly known as the “Godfather” of Unified Sports) originated this outstanding program and was responsible for integrating it into Special Olympics and helping it grow into a world-wide movement with 1.4 million participants!
  2. There have been five (5) Directors of CIAC Unified Sports since its inception - Karen Packtor (Borger), Ann Malafronte, Lou Pear, George Synnott and Bob Hale (current Director) and one Special Olympics CT Director - Beau Doherty
  3. In 1992, 200 athletes participated and the sports offered were soccer, basketball and volleyball
  4. In 1992, Connecticut was only one of two states (along with Minnesota) to offer scholastic Unified Sports programs. 
  5. JFK Middle school in Enfield was the site of the first annual Unified Sports Day. Susan Saint James addressed the group of 200 participants referring to them as "pioneers of one of the biggest programs to grow out of Connecticut" and stated "this is the right place to be!"
  6. Currently, 132 high schools, 81 middle schools and 62 elementary schools offer Unified Sports and 25 schools offer the Special Olympics Young Athletes program.
  7. Special Olympics CT and the CIAC currently offer and or support Unified soccer, basketball, track, bowling, flag football, kickball and cornhole as well as Unified fitness and PE and additional inclusive activities.
  8. More than 15 Unified school coaches have been involved in the program for 20 years or more!
  9. More than 70 Connecticut schools have earned National Banner Recognition for the quality of their Unified Sports programs - more than any other state.
  10. March is a big month for basketball - including Unified Sports basketball - with games and tournaments happening at high schools and middle schools statewide. A highlight will be when our Unified teams play exhibition games during halftime at the CIAC Basketball State Finals at Mohegan Sun March 19th and 20th!
Special Olympics Unified Sports® in schools is made possible through Special Olympics Connecticut’s partnership with the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference (CIAC). Sponsors include: 
Winter Games Returns!
Winter Special Olympics CT Games Bud Meyers Award
Winter Special Olympics CT Games Winter Special Olympics CT Games
Special Olympics Connecticut held its 2022 Winter Games presented by Eversource - in-person - on Saturday, February 26th and Sunday, February 27th. Athletes competed in cross-country skiing and snowshoeing at Eversource, Windsor, on Saturday, where they raced upon snow created by a dedicated team of Eversource volunteers. Athletes also competed in alpine skiing and snowboarding at Powder Ridge Mountain Park both days, supported by volunteers from Otis and Enterprise. During the Opening Ceremony at Eversource, Athlete Angelee Herrera of Special Olympics Bristol was presented with the Bud Meyers Award for the encouragement she gives to her teammates and her commitment to doing her best in sports. The Award was established to honor Bud Meyers, a long-time volunteer snowmaker.
Floor Hockey skills competition will take place at Pratt & Whitney, East Hartford on March 12th and gymnastics competition will be held at Farmington Valley Gymnastics and More, Plainville, on May 1st. Athletes also participated in virtual Contemporary and Hip-Hop Dance lessons as part of our Winter Games series.
Winter Games 2022 Event Sponsors
Simsbury High School Basketball Team to Travel to Special Olympics USA Games
Kelsey Alonzo
Kelsey Alonzo
Megan Alonzo
Megan Alonzo
Jameson Bodenberg
Jameson Bodenburg
Avery Dawe
Avery Dawe
Joey Deliz
Joey Deliz
Josh Lubetkin
Josh Lubetkin
Justin Slattery
Justin Slattery
Charles Steniger
Charles Steniger
Maggie Sullivan
Maggie Sullivan
John Taggard
John Taggard
Coach Brooke Bulmer
Coach Brooke Bulmer
Coach Matt Spector
Coach Matt Spector
Members of the Simsbury High School Unified Sports® basketball team will represent Connecticut at the 2022 Special Olympics USA Games in Orlando, Florida, June 5th - 12th. Teammates who will be going to the Games include sisters Kelsey and Megan Alonzo, Jameson Bodenburg, Avery Dawe, Joey Deliz, Josh Lubetkin, Justin Slattery, Charles Steniger, Maggie Sullivan and John Taggard. The coaches who will be supporting them are Brooke Bulmer and Matt Spector.
Kelsey has been a Unified Sports® basketball and soccer player for five years and has also participated as a soccer mentor. Other pastimes include field hockey, rugby and babysitting. Kelsey says, “I am so excited to proudly represent my school and state. This is an opportunity of a lifetime. I am really looking forward to every minute!"
Megan has been participating in Special Olympics for five years, playing Unified Sports® soccer and basketball, and is a soccer mentor. She is also a member of her school’s floor hockey, basketball and rugby teams. “I can’t wait to work with my team to do our absolute best in the (USA) Games,” Megan says.
Jameson has been involved in Unified Sports® for four years and, along with basketball, plays Unified flag football and Unified soccer. He also enjoys, golf, tennis and playing the violin. “This is a once in a lifetime opportunity,” Jameson says about the Games, adding, “I am thrilled to participate with athletes from all over the country.”
In addition to playing on the school’s Unified basketball team, Avery participates in Unified flag football. He also enjoys wrestling. Other interests include cooking and building things and seeing “how all the pieces go together.” Avery says, “I would like to attend the 2022 USA Games because I want the world to know that just because you have a disability doesn’t mean you can’t chase your dreams. If you work hard, you can achieve anything! I look forward to working as a team and showing what Simsbury High School, Connecticut, can do.”
Joey has been involved in Special Olympics Unified basketball for a year. Other interests include wrestling, football, music and spending time with his family. "I look forward to spending time with my teammates and making memories that we'll remember and can maybe tell our kids one day," says Joey. "Attending the 2022 USA Games means the world to me as I get recognized on a national scale, while team building and practicing," he adds.
This is Josh's first year participating in Unified basketball at Simsbury High School. When he's not playing sports, he enjoys "flying airplanes, videoing and creating forts." What is Josh looking forward to most when he goes to the USA Games? "Being a part of a team with some of my friends," he says.
This is Justin’s first year on the Unified basketball team. In addition to sports, he enjoys video games, drawing and karate. "Being part of the 2022 USA Games makes me overwhelmed with joy and gives me a sense of accomplishment," he says. "It means being part of something bigger than myself and part of a group of athletes. I am looking forward to getting to know my team more and making new friends while at the games."
Charles has been involved in Special Olympics Unified Sports for a year. In addition to Unified basketball, he plays Unified Soccer, Top Soccer and Miracle League Baseball. Along with sports, he enjoys playing video games. Charles is looking forward to a new experience. "I like being on the team to represent Connecticut because I've never done it in my life and I like sports," he says.
In addition to basketball, Maggie plays Unified flag football and Unified soccer with her Simsbury teammates. She also enjoys going for walks and listening to music. "This is an amazing opportunity and I am so excited to be able to play and experience the 2022 USA Games," Maggie says about being a member of the Connecticut delegation.
John, who’s played Unified Sports® for more than six years, participated in the Unified Sports® programs at his elementary and middle schools before coming to Simsbury High School. In addition to Unified basketball, John participates in Unified soccer and flag football. Other interests include hockey, lacrosse and playing the trombone. “I’m excited to help the athletes, and make it an enjoyable experience for everyone,” he says about going to the Games.
Medfest Provides Free Health Screenings For Athletes
Medfest Screening for Athlete
Twenty-four athletes received the sport physicals they need to participate in Special Olympics sports training and competitions at no cost during our MedFest event on February 5th. The event was held at Yale Medicine Orthopedics and Rehabilitation in Milford, and made possible by licensed providers and medical students representing Yale University, UConn, Quinnipiac University, OPTIMUS Health Care and private practice.
Oxford Students Advocate for Special Olympics (Virtually) on Capitol Hill
Oxford Students Advocate for Special Olympics (Virtually) on Capitol Hill
Sara Haliti and Lily Zuscin, Unified teammates and Jennifer LaCapra, their Unified Sports Coach from Oxford High School participated in Special Olympics' Annual Capitol Hill Day event on February 9th. Held virtually for a second consecutive year, the Capitol Hill Day event was an opportunity for Special Olympics representatives from across the country to share personal Special Olympics stories with their state's Senators and Representatives and their staff and advocate for continued Federal government funding for Special Olympics' education (Unified Sports) and health programs. During the meetings, Sara shared a compelling story about how moving from a non-inclusive school to Oxford was life-changing for her.
Jersey's Mike's "Month of Giving" Will Benefit Special Olympics
This year, for the first time, Jersey Mike’s owners and operators are excited to unite behind the 2022 Special Olympics USA Games and Special Olympics State Programs. During the month of March, customers can make a donation at any Jersey Mike’s restaurant to support 50 local Team Connecticut athletes, their coaches and the 2022 Special Olympics USA Games, coming up June 5th-12th in Orlando.
The Month of Giving campaign will culminate with Jersey Mike’s “Day of Giving” on Wednesday, March 30th, when local Jersey Mike’s restaurants will give 100 percent of the day’s sales – not just profit – to the 2022 Special Olympics USA Games and Special Olympics State Programs. To find a Jersey Mike's near you, click here
Annual Awards Dinner Set For March 29th
Join us for our Annual Awards Dinner Presented by Tokio Marine HCC at the Aqua Turf Club on Tuesday, March 29th! The event will celebrate athletes who exemplify the spirit of Special Olympics and individuals and groups who have made significant contributions to our organization
Keynote speakers will include Loretta Claiborne, Chief Inspiration Officer for Special Olympics International and Abby Snyder, Special Olympics CT Global Messenger. Special Guests will include Renee DiNino of iHeart Radio, Ryan Hanrahan from NBC Connecticut and Kevin Negandhi from ESPN. For more information and to purchase tickets, click here.
March SOCT Zoom Room Events for Athletes
St. Patrick's Day Dance, Friday, March 18th at 7 p.m. Register here
Bingo, Monday, March 21st at 7 p.m. Register here
The Maritime Aquarium presents the Hide Seek Chomp! Tour on March 30th. Register here
The SOCT Zoom Room is brought to you by the TD Charitable Foundation and Special Friends Charities.
Become a Member of Our Champion's Society
It's Easy to Plan for the Future with These Free Resources
If you're like many people, creating or updating your will or trust and other important documents often falls to the bottom of your 'to do' list. We have made it easy for you to get started today with free publications to help you get organized and complete your plans while gaining peace of mind: https://solegacygiving.org/resources


We welcome your feedback and contributions. Contact us at 203-230-1201 or specialolympicsct@soct.org.

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