Hudson Valley Athlete Travels to Capitol Hill to Discuss the Importance of Special Olympics

March 12, 2008

On Wednesday, March 12, Special Olympics New York athlete Frank Ragusa from the Hudson Valley traveled to Washington, DC, to meet with NY Representatives on Capital Hill. Frank was among more than 40 Special Olympics athletes who traveled to the Capital to meet with their state representatives. He shared sentiments on the importance of Special Olympics in his life, and advocated for continued and additional support for programming for more than 2.5 million people with intellectual disabilities throughout the world.

“For many years people with intellectual disabilities have been kept in the shadows, but Special Olympics is helping to open the doors of opportunity for our athletes to be true leaders, not only in their communities, but throughout the world,” said Timothy P. Shriver, Chairman and CEO of Special Olympics. “With federal support for education, health and worldwide expansion through Special Olympics, we will be able to empower more athletes around the world to become leaders in our efforts to change attitudes from ignorance to acceptance.”

In November 2004, President George Bush signed into law the Sport & Empowerment Act, which authorizes $15 million a year in federal funding for Special Olympics in the areas of education, health and worldwide expansion.

Special Olympics New York provides year round sports training and athletic competitions in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities. Each participating athlete is provided with opportunities to develop physical fitness while demonstrating extraordinary courage, skills and talent. Special Olympics New York proudly serves 46,106 people with intellectual disabilities, the largest program in the United States and eighth largest program in the world.

Hudson Valley Region Athletes to Compete in 2006 Special Olympics USA National Games

June 28, 2006

Local athletes Thomas Chieffo and Roberta Gerard joins Team New York traveling to Inaugural event in Ames, Iowa. Special Olympics New York officially announces that Thomas Chieffo of Hyde Park and Roberta Gerard of New Paltz will participate in the first-ever Special Olympics USA National Games, July 2 – 7, 2006, in Ames, Iowa. The 2006 USA National Games will be one of the largest multi-sporting events to happen next year.

Chieffo will participate in Aquatics and Gerard in Athletics. They are just a two of 3,000 Special Olympics athletes expected to compete at National Games. They were selected after qualifying at last year’s State Summer Games on Long Island at Hofstra University.

Special Olympics is a year-round sports organization that changes lives by promoting understanding, acceptance and inclusion between people with and without intellectual disabilities. With more than 170 million worldwide (approximately 7 million in the United States), people with intellectual disabilities make up the largest disability population in the world. Intellectual disability crosses the lines of racial, ethnic, educational, social and economic backgrounds, and can occur in any family. Currently, Special Olympics is nearly 2 million athletes strong in more than 150 nations around the world.

When ask about how Special Olympics has changed his life, Chieffo noted “Special Olympics has given me the opportunity to train and develop my athletic skills, then try my best at competition. I have fun when I compete with my friends. My family enjoys it too and is very proud of me.”

To obtain more information on these local athlete please contact Ellen Pikula ( or Susan MacBryde ( for assistance.

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