Special Olympics is a global movement of people creating a new world of inclusion and community, where every single person is accepted and welcomed, regardless of ability or disability. We are helping to make the world a better, healthier and more joyful place—one athlete, one volunteer, one family member at a time.
Special Olympics Indiana – Ripely Ohio Dearborn Counties is a nonprofit organization that is a part of the global Special Olympics movement, using sport, health, education, and leadership programs every day around the world to end discrimination against and empower people with intellectual disabilities.
Founded in 2005, Special Olympics Indiana – Ripley Ohio Dearborn Counties is part of a network of accredited Special Olympics Indiana programs that reaches more than 18,000 athletes with intellectual disabilities statewide. With the support of over 100 coaches and volunteers, Special Olympics Indiana – Ripley Ohio Dearborn Counties provides year-round sports training and athletic competition in more than 15 Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities at no cost to the participants.
Special Olympics Indiana – Ripley Ohio Dearborn Counties receives no federal or state-appropriated funds, is not a United Way Agency, and relies entirely on corporate, civic and individual donations.
The Special Olympics movement is distinct in its vision to empower all people with intellectual disabilities to realize their full potential and develop their skills through year-round sports training and competition.
According to the World Health Organization, approximately 170 million people, or three percent of the world’s population, have intellectual disabilities—the largest disability population in the world. Intellectual disability knows no boundaries. It cuts across the lines of racial, ethnic, educational, social and economic backgrounds, and it can occur in any family. Beginning at age 8, anyone with an intellectual disability can participate in Special Olympics.
Within Special Olympics Indiana-Ripley Ohio Dearborn Counties our focus is the growth of our programs so that we can better serve our existing athletes and reach out to those individuals who have yet not had the opportunity to participate locally in Special Olympics. While we currently serve more than 200 children and adults with intellectual disabilities, Special Olympics Indiana-Ripley Ohio Dearborn Counties still reaches only a fraction of the number of eligible athletes in the three-county service area.
It is estimated that in Ripley, Ohio and Dearborn counties there are approximately 2,500 individuals who are eligible for participation.
To provide year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, offering 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.
At the core, Special Olympics is a sports organization that uses the power of sport as a catalyst for social change. Through sport, we challenge society. By highlighting how the needs of people with ID are not being met, we expose inequity and exclusion. By drawing attention to the gifts of people with ID, we break down misperceptions and tackle negative attitudes.
The vision of Special Olympics Indiana is that sport will open hearts and minds towards people with intellectual disabilities and create inclusive communities across the state and throughout the world.