Collin Binkley Associated Press Published 4:22 PM EDT Mar 27, 2019 Education Secretary Betsy DeVos on Wednesday defended a proposal to eliminate funding for the Special Olympics, pushing back against a storm of criticism from athletes, celebrities and politicians who rallied to support the organization. DeVos became a target on social media after Democrats slammed her plan to remove the group’s funding as part of $7 billion in budget cuts for next year. The Special Olympics received $17.6 million from the Education Department this year, roughly 10 percent of its overall revenue. In a statement responding to criticism, DeVos said she “loves” the organization’s work and has “personally supported its mission.” But she also noted that it’s a private nonprofit that raises $100 million a year on its own. Ultimately, she argued, her agency can’t afford to continue backing it. “There are dozens of worthy nonprofits that support … [Read more...] about DeVos defends plan to eliminate Special Olympics funds
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Frank Witsil Detroit Free Press Published 3:27 PM EDT Mar 27, 2019 A day after Democratic lawmakers criticized Education Secretary Betsy DeVos for her proposal to cut funding for Special Olympics, the public — including athletes and celebrities — blasted her plan on social and traditional media. In response, DeVos — who seeks to eliminate $18 million to support Special Olympics while spending millions more on charter schools — accused "the media and some members" of twisting facts. "The Special Olympics is not a federal program. It’s a private organization. I love its work, and I have personally supported its mission," she said. "But given our current budget realities, the federal government cannot fund every worthy program, particularly ones that enjoy robust support from private donations." In Michigan, Special Olympics receives about $200,000 annually from the Department of Education for its Unified … [Read more...] about Betsy DeVos ignites firestorm over Special Olympics funding cuts
TEAM Ireland will today embark on their final day of competition at the Special Olympics World Summer Games in Abu Dhabi.More than 60 medals have already been secured by the Irish squad, which includes 21 athletes from Ulster.Team Ireland's ladies' basketball team yesterday became the latest victors, claiming gold in a stunning 27-15 victory over Bharat. The squad features a strong Ulster contingent, with Faye Boyd, Grace Hamilton, Sara Shivas and Sarah Thorne from Antrim, Gemma O'Keefe and Amy Watters from Bangor and Siobhan Dunne from Strabane.Among the other Ulster winners has been Richard Currie from Dungannon, who clinched some of Team Ireland's first medals with two golds in the single and team bocce events.Athlete Shannon Nixon from Coalisland won a bronze medal in the 25m run, while Omagh's Lee Mitchell winning two golds in equestrian events, during his international debut.Shannon's mother Siobhan said they have been overwhelmed by the support for Team Ireland."She is having … [Read more...] about More than 60 medals secured by Irish squad ahead of final day of competition at Special Olympics
Breaking News Move over Tiger Woods ... Amy Bockerstette is officially the biggest badass on the links -- 'cause the Special Olympian was invited to play a hole with PGA tour stars this week ... and she parred!!! It all went down during a practice round at the Waste Management Phoenix Open ... where Gary Woodland and Matt Kuchar invited Amy to take a shot at the course's famous 16th hole. Amy -- who has Down syndrome -- showed absolutely ZERO nerves off the tee box ... smashing her drive just short of the green in a bunker. But, there were no worries about hittin' it fat from the trap ... 'cause Amy hit a shot outta the sand that woulda made Tiger himself jealous!!! Then came the best part ... SHE BURIED THE PUTT FOR PAR!!!! The crowd went nuts ... the PGA tour stars loved it ... and Amy shrugged it off like it was just another day at the range!! Of course, Amy's certainly been in bigger situations ... she is, after all, the first-ever collegiate golfer to compete with … [Read more...] about Special Olympics Athlete Invited To Play Hole With PGA Stars, She Pars!!!
STILWATER — Bethann Luna continued to be amazed by her daughter’s extraordinary behavioral changes while watching the 9-year-old Jenks student compete in the 49th annual Special Olympics Oklahoma Summer Games this week.For one, Valerie willingly shook strangers’ hands as she walked around the Oklahoma State University campus in Stillwater, where the three-day event is hosted every May. That kind of social interaction never happened before, according to her mother.“The Special Olympics has been like a whole new family for her,” Luna said Thursday. “She hasn’t even been in it a year, and she’s already come out of such a shell, like her own little world.”She began to cry as Valerie danced during a Wednesday night talent show hosted in one of the university dormitories where many of the athletes are housed. The moment reminded her of how far her adopted daughter had come since a doctor warned she wouldn’t survive infancy due to … [Read more...] about ‘Like a whole new family’: Special Olympics athletes find joy and pride in annual summer games