Thursday, May 30, 2013

What makes Special Olympics Pennsylvania Remarkable?

My name is Jessie Salness and I am the newly appointed Lebanon County Athlete Representative, as well as a Track and Field and Powerlifting athlete.  I joined the Lebanon County division of Special Olympics Pennsylvania (SOPA) in the spring of 2012, and I wanted to tell you a few things that I think are remarkable about SOPA.
I love that we come together to practice and compete as a team, even when we are involved in sports that are often viewed as more individual or solitary sports.  It is wonderful that we support and cheer each other on to do the best that we can, and we often go way beyond what we ever thought was possible!  I know that I have lifted more weight and run faster than ever before, and that hearing the cheers of my fellow athletes helps push me to succeed!
Week after week we show up for practice, try our best, and encourage our fellow athletes, even when we may be frustrated or find things difficult.  There are easier things we could be doing that don't take as much effort, but our effort and perseverance pays off, especially when we compete in our various sporting events!
I often recall our Special Olympics Athlete Oath when competing, and want to remind my fellow athletes:
"Let me win, but if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt."
I am proud to be a Special Olympics athlete, and especially proud to be the Lebanon County Athlete Representative.

Jessie Salness                                                                        
Special Olympics PA - Lebanon County
Athlete Representative

Friday, May 17, 2013

TD Bank is inviting Pennsylvanians to "Be a fan" of Special Olympics, May 13 - June 30!

As part of a national partnership, TD Bank is asking their customers to help them raise funds for Special Olympics through a variety of unique and fun ways. This is the 5th year for this partnership which has seen more than $1 million raised nationwide each year, including more than $400,000 raised for Special Olympics PA the past four years.

Here are just a few ways you can team up with TD Bank to support Pennsylvania’s Special Olympics athletes and reach the new $1.2 million goal:
  • For a $5 donation, you can sport a cool "Be a fan" bracelet - just pick one up at any TD Bank location!
  • Is all that loose change slowing you down? Take it to a TD Bank Penny Arcade coin counting machine, have it converted to bills and choose to donate a portion (or maybe all?) of your conversion to Special Olympics PA.
  • Make an in-store donation next time you're in.
  • Take part in one of their special in-store, fun events that will benefit Special Olympics. See your participating local branches for details and say hello to our athletes who will be attending many of these events, so you'll get to meet a hometown hero!
So find your nearest TD Bank at, stop by, and "Be a fan" of Special Olympics!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Erie County Basketball Invitational Tournament

The Erie County program, under the guidance of Mary Zubetz, once again held a very successful 3v3 and 5v5 basketball invitational tournament.  On April 13th, over 250 athletes, coaches and volunteers met at Girard High School for a day of fierce round ball competition.  The Erie County teams were challenged by the Warren County teams and a terrific time was had by all.  Lunch was provided and the coveted Gus Macker Awards presented.  If you live in the Northwest corner of Pennsylvania, why not consider attending this tournament next year?
Many thanks to Mary, and the entire Erie County team, and Girard High School for the generous use of its facility.

39th Annual Crawford County Special Olympics Track and Field Meet

Special Olympics Pennsylvania in Crawford County held its 39th annual Track and Field meet on May 8th at the Crawford County Fairgrounds.  Over 350 athletes participated in the event and Heather Clancy Young, CEO of the Meadville Area Federal Credit Union, served as emcee. The first event of the day was the parade of athletes.  Classrooms and groups lined up and marched to the front of the grandstand.  Joyce Seeley of Maplewood School led the group in the National Anthem.  

Meadville Area Senior High (MASH) students provided music while each of the schools and agencies marched in for Opening Ceremonies.  Crawford County athletes Kyle Miller and Cody Hubert carried the torch and lit the Olympic cauldron; while, Bill Shaulis led the group in the Athlete Oath – “Let me win but if I cannot win let me be brave in the attempt.”

After opening ceremonies, each participant began their first competition event and could also participate in several fun activities like the Frisbee or bean bag throw, or participate in Olympic Village where carnival style games were set up and run by Thurston House staff, MASH students and volunteers.  The event would not have run so smoothly without support from local  tool and die shops, schools, agencies and businesses that came out to help make the day special.  AVI Food Systems Inc., Nutrition Inc, and Mc Donald's provided lunch items for the 350 athletes.    

This is the second year that Crawford County presented the Danny Zirkle Spirit Award.   Danny participated in many local, sectional and state competitions.  In 2008, he was awarded a special trophy for his sportsmanship at Fall Festival, which led to his induction into the Special Olympics PA Hall of Fame later that year.  Danny exemplified the “spirit” of Special Olympics. The Spirit Award winner for 2013 is Tanner Holabaugh, a school aged athlete who helps out at the practices and encourages others to do their very best. 

Thursday, May 9, 2013

P&GbrandSAVER® May 12 – June 30, 2013

It’s time again to kick off this year’s P&GbrandSAVER® and Thank you, Mom program! Keep an eye out for your P&GbrandSAVER® coupon books in your local newspaper on Mother’s Day, Sunday, May 12, 2013.  
This promotion is based on coupon redemption: Special Olympics will receive 2 cents for every coupon used and you must present the coupon upon checkout. There is no limit to the donation from P&G, so the more coupons redeemed, the higher the gift.  And don’t forget the savings for you -- the P&GbrandSAVER® coupon book includes over$48 in savings! The coupons expire June 30, 2013, so don’t wait too long to start clipping and saving! To find a local newspaper carrying the P&GbrandSAVER® coupon book please click here