TO GIVE, TO INSPIRE | SEASPAR Special Olympic Athletes

Updated: Dec 27, 2019

SEASPAR Special Olympic Athletes Downers Grove As so many of you out there did, my family enjoyed sitting down to watch the expertly trained and skilled athletes compete in this year’s Winter Olympic Games. It never ceases to amaze me how dedicated these athletes are to their sport; I love to hear their stories and always get inspired by their determination.

Back here at home in the western suburbs, we have some very special athletes of our own who are also working and training hard to be at the top of their game. The 2018 Special Olympics Illinois Spring Games are coming up April 22nd in Glen Ellyn. The Spring Games is a regional qualifier for the sport of Athletics (track and field), and athletes who earn gold medals in their events at this competition qualify for the state competition held at the 2018 Special Olympics Illinois Summer Games in June in Bloomington-Normal, Illinois.

The South East Association for Special Parks And Recreation (SEASPAR) out of Downers Grove, has been training with many special athletes of all ages and disabilities to prepare to compete. Illinois is the only state that has organizations like SEASPAR, which are special recreation associations that communities’ park districts and recreation departments cooperatively join to provide recreational opportunities specifically for their residents with disabilities. Currently, SEASPAR partners with the park districts of Clarendon Hills, Darien, Downers Grove, La Grange, La Grange Park, Lemont, Lisle, Westmont and Woodridge and the villages of Brookfield, Indian Head Park and Western Springs.

Special Olympic Athletics is a sports program that does not have many physical limitations for athletes, as most of the events revolve around walking, running, throwing, or jumping. This allows for athletes with varying degrees of athleticism, skill and ability to enjoy the benefits of competitive sport.

“With Special Olympics Athletics being the first competitive sports experience for many new or young athletes, it is inspiring to see the effort they put toward their training, and the joy with which they compete at the Spring Games,” says Aaron Hirthe, Recreation Coordinator and Special Olympics Athletic Director for SEASPAR.

Volunteers play an integral part in all the SEASPAR programs, so they are always seeking volunteers to assist with various programs and events, from weekly skill-building programs to community outings to Special Olympic sport coaching. To find out more about SEASPAR and/or their Special Olympics program visit them at

Mindy’s April Giving Inspiration: Inspire someone you know to be the best that they can be. Encourage them in their dreams and endeavors.

ABOUT THE WRITER Mindy Kyle is the owner of Be Inspired Studios and is passionate about helping people discover what brings them joy and to live a full, healthy and happy life. She has her Masters in Fine Arts degree in creative writing from DePaul University and lives in Naperville with her husband, three children and the cutest dog in the land.

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