Newsletter: 2-11-2010

EKS Day 25 September 2010

In conjunction with their efforts on Capitol Hill, Special Olympics Chairman and CEO, Tim Shriver, and Best Buddies Founder and Chairman, Anthony Shriver, have announced an official annual day in honor of their mother, Eunice Kennedy Shriver, every fourth Saturday in September with the first this September 25, 2010.

Eunice Kennedy Shriver (EKS) was a trail blazing leader who broke down barriers to improve the lives of millions of persons with intellectual disabilities, their families and communities around the world for over five decades. EKS Day celebrates the vision, commitment and achievements of Eunice Kennedy Shriver and the tradition of making a difference that began in her backyard. EKS Day events will honor her inspiration, impact and indomitable spirit and challenge generations to play on by becoming agents of acceptance and action in their communities. The Day will include a series of initiatives that celebrate her legacy, including local sports clinics and seminars, the building of Unity Sports Fields to serve the world's poorest communities, and an online celebration inviting people to teach the Eunice Kennedy Shriver story, share new stories of change, and join Special Olympics' and Best Buddies' call to action for acceptance, skill and dignity.

Following input from all parts of the movement including, Program leaders, Athlete leaders, family leaders, Managing Directors, and the SOI Board of Directors, the selection of the date for Eunice Kennedy Shriver Day focused on the most opportune time to reach young people. The end of September is a time when most of the schools in the world are in session. The date also provides an excellent opportunity to partner with schools the week leading up to EKS Day to take the EKS+ challenge to Playon and to share in the story and lessons of EKS life and impact. Additional factors in the decision included the thorough review of religious holidays, or major national holidays around the world.

EKS Day Committee and Resource Development

As part of the effort to celebrate Eunice Kennedy Shriver Day, Special Olympics has created a committee/ task force composed of a diverse group of individuals with in depth knowledge of the Special Olympics movement and specific functional areas therein, this body will ensure wide representation of key constituencies across the globe.

The Committee's duties include the following:

--Recommend educational enhancements to the global EKS Day set of resource materials;

--Review and provide feedback on an implementation plan for Regional and Program activation for EKS Day;

--Review the creative elements and messaging around EKS legacy and EKS day;

--Survey respective constituencies and colleagues as needed to provide additional ideas, feedback for EKS Day; and

--Suggest enhancements for future EKS days.

We are currently developing the following resources to support EKS Day:

--EKS+ logo graphics and EKS Day brochure-available 1 March 2010

--EKS Day Tool kit for Programs - available 31 March 2010

--EKS Day Education lessons - available 30 June 2010

EKS Day Committee Representation by Region

Africa- John Dow, Florence Nabayinda (SOI Board Member), Alessio Guiricich

Asia Pacific - David Rutherford, Simon Koh, Rudy Ungson

East Asia - Anna Chan, Wang Zhijun, Henrietta Siu, Tracy Li, Xiaoyue Rockie Zhao

Europe Eurasia - Kai Troll, Marian Murphy, Marc Angelini, Vicki Oren, Ana Petrovska

Latin America - Maricarmen Arauz, Reina Perez, Attabeira German

MENA - Ayman Wahab

North America - Beth Alldridge, Robyn Markey, Mark Musso, Laura Gremelsbacker, Tim Shriver (EKS grandson), Jenny Yu Zhong, Clint Armistead, Loretta Claiborne (SOI Board Member), Jenny Yu Zhong

The Call to Action - PLAYON

In recognition and gratitude for the world changing visionary leadership of Eunice Kennedy Shriver for more than 50 years in improving the lives, rights and opportunities for persons with intellectual disabilities, Special Olympics Programs around the world will be encouraged to host events celebrating an annual Eunice Kennedy Shriver Day (the Day). Communities and Programs around the world will be challenged to join together to:

--Celebrate and learn about EKS around the world; inspire the next generation to become architects of passion and purpose;

--Playon - take action and join in inclusive sport activities; and

--Unify the movement around the world on EKS Day.

Working with SOI Board Member, Peter Arnell and his international creative firm, Arnell Group, we are finalizing a logo/ mark and call to action for EKS Day.

Meaning of EKS+. The EKS+ mark celebrates the inspiration, impact and indomitable spirit of Eunice Kennedy Shriver and her contributions to society. Her legacy challenges the next generation of leaders to be architects of change with passion and purpose. As EKS led efforts for the 200 million citizens with intellectual disabilities, today our call to action begins with all of us.

We invite you to PLAY ON by joining the athletes of Special Olympics and buddies of Best Buddies, the real heroes of a movement to unify communities, and to honor Eunice Kennedy Shriver by becoming an agent of acceptance and action throughout the world.

EKS+ on athlete, coach, volunteer and staff uniforms

As a tribute to Special Olympics founder, Special Olympics athlete, coaches, volunteers, and staff are granted limited permission to wear the EKS+ mark on their Special Olympics uniforms through the 2011 Special Olympics World Summer Games in Athens, Greece. This time limited sport centric honor serves as a tribute to our founder and further unite our movement.

Graphics for the EKS+ mark to be used on uniforms will be posted as a resource before the end of February.

EKS Day Action

EKS Day honors the vision, commitment and achievements of Eunice Kennedy Shriver and the tradition of making a difference that began in her backyard. The day's events will include a series of initiatives that celebrate Eunice Kennedy Shriver's legacy, including, large scale Unity Field projects, local sports clinics, Unified SportsT, educational seminars, and online engagement activities, fundraising events.

SO Athletes and non-SO Athletes alike will be brought together in the spirit of unity. Volunteering your time, playing sports, and learning about the legacy of Eunice Kennedy Shriver all contribute to the realization of EKS Day.

EKS Day aims to generate awareness, and develop leaders within schools, and offer a platform for raising greatly needed resources. The long term goal is to launch a worldwide EKS day through partnerships with local sports clubs and scholastic athletic associations.

+ PLAY

A local program initiative that invites communities to celebrate EKS Day by joining together for a day of unified games.

+ BUILD

A large scale initiative to build a series of unity sports fields - athlete facilities serving the world's poorest communities on every continent named in honor of Eunice Kennedy Shriver.

+ JOIN

An online celebration inviting people to teach the EKS story, share new stories of change, and join Special Olympics' and Best Buddies' call to action for acceptance, skill and dignity.

Our hope is for a global patchwork of competitions, events, announcements, educational opportunities, media coverage, etc that combine to collectively generate global awareness of and funds for the movement and the enduring legacy of Eunice Kennedy Shriver, and ultimately engage fans, supporters, influencers, and youth directly in the mission of Special Olympics.

Special Olympics and Best Buddies cooperative effort for EKS Day

As Special Olympics CEO and Chairman, Tim Shriver, noted in his 19 January letter to SO Programs, 'like Special Olympics, Best Buddies occupied a place of great affection for his mother and the Shriver family asks that her memory be carried forth by both organizations." We are currently working with Best Buddies on activities for EKS Day to further the EKS legacy at all levels of the movement. As you begin to plan your local EKS Day activities, you can reach out to your local Best Buddies Chapter to share in the legacy. All Special Olympics Programs are welcome to participate in local EKS Days and are encouraged to look for opportunities of collaboration with the local Best Buddies Chapter to further strengthen the events in which will carry out the legacy of Eunice Kennedy Shriver.

If you have further questions please contact Helen MacNabb at hmacnabb@specialolympics.org