Raleigh, N.C. — Special Olympics North Carolina received a grant from the Winston-Salem Foundation for a health improvement initiative that will impact children and adults with intellectual disabilities participating in Special Olympics Forsyth County, according to Special Olympics North Carolina President/CEO Keith L. Fishburne.
The $6,000 grant will be used to address the health risks facing the vulnerable and at-risk population of individuals with intellectual disabilities in Forsyth County through a targeted health improvement initiative that incorporates healthcare access, nutrition education, and wellness through physical activity. As part of the project, Special Olympics will host a Medfest health screening event on Aug. 29 at The Gateway YWCA, 1300 S. Main St., Winston-Salem from 9 a.m to 2 p.m. As many as 200 children and adults with intellectual disabilities will be introduced to Special Olympics. The Medfest event will allow them to take advantage of health screening and education stations including weight, blood pressure, vision, hearing and cardiovascular screenings. Partnering physicians will provide physical examinations for attendees. Based on screenings and body mass index assessments, a group of athletes will be selected for a voluntary weight loss intervention program with support from the YWCA. Participation in Special Olympics will offer a range of opportunities for athletes to engage in physical fitness through traditional community-based and school-based programming which will in turn contribute to their health improvement.
“The Winston-Salem Foundation’s commitment to Special Olympics is significant as this support will help to give Forsyth County athletes direct access to health care. It will also provide a fitness trainer and nutritional education for athletes enrolled in the weight loss intervention program. With similar programs taking place in other parts of the state, we have seen where this type of program leads to important results impacting physical fitness, health and overall life quality for children and adults with intellectual disabilities,” said Fishburne.
The award was made possible by the John S. and Jacqueline P. Rider Fund and the Aubrey Marcus Zimmerman Fund for Recreation for the Handicapped.
The Winston-Salem Foundation is a community foundation that supports charitable programs in the greater Forsyth County area. Founded in 1919 with a $1,000 gift, it now administers approximately 1,300 funds and had total custodial assets of $384.3 million at the end of 2014. In 2014, the Foundation granted $24.8 million to charitable causes, over $2 million of which was through the Community Grants program. Learn more at www.wsfoundation.org.
Special Olympics North Carolina offers year-round sports training and competition for nearly 40,000 children and adults with intellectual disabilities. These athletes inspire greatness through their success and provide motivation to the thousands of coaches, sports officials, local program committee members and event organizers involved in Special Olympics statewide. SONC offers Olympic-type competition in 19 sports on local and state levels.