Special Olympics British Columbia British Columbia

Goldcorp Invitational supports SOBC opportunities for athletes to ‘shine brightly’

29 June 2012

As Dorothy Gazzola, parent of eight-year-old SOBC athlete Faith, said at the 2012 Goldcorp Invitational Golf Tournament, the generosity of the tournament sponsors and supporters has tremendous value to SOBC athletes and their families. “We are grateful for the opportunity Special Olympics BC has given to our daughter, and all other children with special needs, to help them rise above their daily struggles and to shine brightly because of it,” Dorothy said.

The Gazzola family addressed the more than 200 participants in the Goldcorp Invitational at the close of the full day of golf and great play on both sides of the tournament at Northview Golf and Country Club. Special Olympics BC is grateful to all of the participating teams and generous sponsors, including:

The ongoing support of these sponsors and all of the tournament supporters allows Special Olympics BC to strengthen and expand its programming for athletes with intellectual disabilities in 55 communities around the province. Special Olympics programs have been incredibly effective in ending the isolation felt by people with intellectual disabilities.

SOBC provides empowering opportunities for athletes to experience the thrill of achievement through high-quality sport programs and competitions, like the 2012 Special Olympics Canada Winter Games that Goldcorp President and CEO Chuck Jeannes experienced as the Honourary General Manager for Team BC 2012. He encouraged everyone at the Goldcorp Invitational to check out Special Olympics Provincial and National Games the next time they have the opportunity.

“You’ll be absolutely amazed at the real difference they make in the lives of the athletes,” he said.

SOBC’s youth programs bring these kinds of important sport opportunities to children with intellectual disabilities, providing them with the chance to develop vital motor and social skills in a fun and supportive environment. Through SOBC youth programs, Dorothy said Faith has learned important physical and social skills, has had so much fun participating, and has experienced many joyful moments of achievement.

“There were many times we would leave for the day wiping away a tear or two,” she said.

Meanwhile, the parents involved in the program enjoy being part of the activities and appreciate the opportunities to connect with and learn from each other, sharing their experience and resources.

As Dorothy put it, “It also gave us, for that one hour a week – and honestly, this is one of the most important – a place of safety, of 100 per cent acceptance, a rarity in many of the lives of such families. Our children were getting joy out of physical activity, becoming more aware of their bodies and how they move, they were forming lasting friendships, achieving a sense of accomplishment every time they were able to complete a certain skill, and the most important of them all, they were having so much fun doing it.”

Dorothy said there are many indirect ways that funding these programs impacts Faith’s life and the lives of many children like her, including the important physical and social skills developed. “You are making a difference for her future, and for all their futures,” she said.

SOBC - Langley athletes Stuart and Andrea welcoming participants to the 2012 Goldcorp Invitational Golf Tournament.

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