On Thursday, July 18, Special Olympics Missouri (SOMO) received designation as an official “Healthy Community!” SOMO is now one of 19 organizations internationally recognized by Special Olympics International (SOI) with this distinction. This is a huge accomplishment for SOMO.
“Special Olympics Missouri is committed to ensuring those with intellectual disabilities have the opportunity to thrive in every area of their life,” said Meagan Davis, SOMO Health & Wellness Manager. In our first year as a Healthy Community we have had the opportunity to develop and implement new programs, increase the number of free health screenings we provide, and incorporate overall health and wellness into every area of Special Olympics. We look forward to continuing to develop and grow our programs and community partnerships to ensure we are doing our part to create overall inclusive healthy communities for all.”
The Healthy Community grant is comprised of a three-year grant cycle in which SOMO will receive $50,000 annually for three years by striving to meet six criteria presented by SOI. In year one, SOMO fully met all six criteria distinguishing SOMO as a Healthy Community. Criterion five states that 20% of athletes in our geographical focus area have to be enrolled in on-going 6- 8 week health & wellness programs. Unlike other states, because of the Training for Life Campus, SOMO slated the geographical area as the entire state. Most states and international programs just have a smaller urban or rural focus group, making this an even greater accomplishment for Missouri!
This means that SOMO had to have a minimum of 978 athletes in on-going health & wellness programs during year one. In 2018, SOMO had 1,005 enrolled in on-going 6-8 week heath & wellness programs.
SOMO also has to provide at least three Healthy Athletes screening disciplines per year with a minimum of 150 screenings within the geographical area. In 2018, SOMO fully met these criteria with 1,457 screenings provided. SOMO worked diligently to make sure that athletes not only had access to screenings, but were also linked to follow-up care through the referral program. SOI indicated that most programs do not fully meet all criteria until year two or year three, and that becoming a Healthy Community in year one is extremely impressive.
“To know that more individuals with intellectual disabilities throughout Missouri are living healthier lives because they have access to health & wellness opportunities provided by Special Olympics, is one of our organization’s greatest accomplishments,” said Mary Niswonger, SOMO Partnership Director.
Please contact Meagan Davis at 573-819-6203, or Mary Niswonger at 573-579-6040, for more information.