This is Special Olympics Awareness Week
Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 08/06/2022 (243 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
In 2013, I had the privilege of introducing and passing Bill 209, the Special Olympics Awareness Week Act, to proclaim the second week of June each year as Special Olympics Awareness Week in Manitoba.
The Act, which passed with unanimous support in the Manitoba Legislative Assembly, remains one of my proudest achievements. It has helped attract volunteers and donations to support Special Olympic Manitoba for nearly a decade, fostering inclusion for Manitobans with intellectual disabilities. I continue to serve as a honorary member of the Special Olympics Manitoba board of directors because I believe in everything they do, and I am pleased to see them resume in-person competition this year.
For 35 years, Special Olympics Manitoba has provided sports programs that enrich the lives of thousands of Manitobans with intellectual disabilities. Over 1,800 Manitobans regularly participate in Special Olympics activities along with over 530 coaches and almost 1,000 volunteers. They have truly become a flagship organization supporting inclusion for Manitobans with intellectual disabilities right across our province.
The dedicated police officers involved in the Law Enforcement Torch Run also continue to carry the Flame of Hope into the opening ceremony of competitions here in Manitoba and around the world. These ‘Guardians of the Flame’ are truly a beacon of hope and love for so many. Since the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police partnered with Special Olympics Canada 35 years ago, it has raised over $72 million to support athletes with intellectual disabilities across the country.
In addition to our unwavering support for Special Olympics Manitoba, our government is making significant investments to foster greater inclusion for Manitobans with intellectual disabilities. That includes $7 million for enhanced special needs programming in our schools and $10 million in pay increases to retain quality staff in our Community Living disABILITY Services program. We are also moving forward with a dignified income support program for Manitobans with severe and prolonged disabilities, ensuring all Manitobans can lead lives of dignity and independence in the community.
The theme of this year’s Special Olympics Awareness Week is once again “Accept with no exception.” Our government will continue to live out that theme in our work every day. As we celebrate the athletes, coaches, volunteers, and staff with Special Olympics Manitoba, let us continue to foster a culture of inclusion, love, and acceptance for Manitobans with intellectual disabilities in our province.
Tuxedo constituency report
Heather Stefanson is the PC MLA for Tuxedo and the premier of Manitoba.