Since 1968, the Knights of Columbus has raised and donated more than $600 million to programs for people with intellectual and physical disabilities – Special Olympics ranks among the larger gifts the Order makes annually of time and money.
In 2005, the Knights of Columbus announced a partnership with Special Olympics; committing $1 million over four years to grow the program in North America in addition to pledging increased volunteer support for state and local games. The Order also pledged to work with Special Olympics North America to expand its program to underserved countries. The Knights of Columbus has subsequently extended that commitment through 2016.
The Knights of Columbus commitment to Special Olympics and to hundreds of grassroots programs for people with intellectual and physical disabilities is an expression of our belief in the intrinsic worth of every human being.
In April, 2005, the Order gave its highest honor, the Gaudium et Spes Award, to Jean Vanier, the founder of l’Arche, a network of faith-based communities that care for people with developmental disabilities in a community setting.
Jean Vanier founded the first l’Arche community in Toronto in 1969, and today there are 29 communities throughout Canada, serving more than 500 people with disabilities. It has also expanded around the world, and there are now more than 146 l’Arche communities in 35 countries on six continents, with over 5,000 members. Vanier exemplifies the call to self-giving and Christ-centered community involvement that is a central theme in Gaudium et Spes, and his life and dedication are an inspiration to all.
The Knights of Columbus believe that the Special Olympics are nearly unparalleled in their ability to show the intrinsic worth and dignity of every single human being. These games don’t just build strength and character in the athletes and participants; it only takes a few moments with the competitors to be inspired by the force of their determination, and the true sense of God’s love.
Although the Special Olympics have grown in recent years, they still need our continued support. We encourage chapters and parishes around the world to organize fundraisers, events, and donation drives that will continue to benefit this magnificent event. The Special Olympics are too wonderful to overlook, and the Knights of Columbus are committed to bringing the games to all corners of the globe.
About Special Olympics Louisiana
Special Olympics Louisiana is a state-wide organization that changes lives by promoting understanding, acceptance and inclusion between people with and without intellectual disabilities. Special Olympics Louisiana offers year-round programs for 14,600 children and adults with intellectual disabilities in all 64 parishes with the help of 15,000 volunteers. We have health, education, leadership, family, training and sports programs for people beginning at age 2 and there is no upper age limit. There is no cost to participate in Special Olympics. For more information about Special Olympics Louisiana, please visit www.laso.org.
The mission of Special Olympics Louisiana is to provide year round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for intellectually disabled children and adults, giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy, and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills, and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes and the community.
“Let me win, but if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”
CONTACT: SPECIAL OLYMPICS LOUISIANA: 1-800- 345-6644, or visit our website at http://www.laso.org.
Additional information will be provided by the Knights of Columbus Council 1819 for active participation for upcoming events in the “news” and “event” sections of www.kofc1819.com.