Supporting Special Olympics Missouri
January 17, 2016
Written By Adam Buckallew
Fundraising is underway to build a permanent home for Special Olympics Missouri (SOMO) that will serve current and future generations of individuals with intellectual disabilities by providing enhanced facilities and programs.
SOMO intends to construct the Training for Life Campus on 16.5 acres in Jefferson City, Mo. Once completed, it will include a 16,000-square-foot sports facility featuring basketball and volleyball courts, a health and fitness center for cardiovascular and weight training, and a central office for coordination of SOMO’s state wide efforts. It will also offer seasonal play to support 21 sports, including soccer, softball, bocce, flag football, track and field and golf. The campus will be the largest such facility in scope in the United States.
“For over 40 years, our athletes, coaches, volunteers and staff have not had their own place to call home,” said Mark Musso, president and CEO of SOMO. “The Training for Life Campus will be their transformative place to train, compete and learn the lessons of sport and life that inspire all of us.”
The new campus will enable SOMO to offer a comprehensive set of programs including: a lifetime wellness program providing on-site screenings for dental, vision, hearing and physical health; comprehensive coach and volunteer training and certification for all Special Olympics sports; and a young athletes program providing screening and intervention services for children as young as three.
“There are approximately 108,000 people who would qualify for Special Olympics in Missouri, and this facility will expand our ability to provide vital health assessments and serve more athletes,” said Mark Bussen, Training for Life Campus Steering Committee member and a volunteer coach.
The MFA Oil Foundation has provided a $5,000 grant matched by CoBank for a total of $10,000 to aid in the construction of the Training for Life Campus.
In an effort to provide additional funding for SOMO, MFA Oil is launching the Get Fueled for Special Olympics campaign, which offers the company’s customers a chance to contribute. For every customer who subscribes to MFA Oil’s Fueled email newsletter at fueled.mfaoil.com/somo between Dec. 15, 2016 and March 1, 2017, the company will donate $1 to SOMO, up to a maximum of $10,000. The money raised through the campaign will support Special Olympics’ day-to-day programming needs for the 15,000 children and adults the organization serves.
“Special Olympics Missouri relies on contributions to support our mission,” said Susan Rampy Stegeman, vice president of SOMO. “We have partners that donate funds and resources once and those that are with us through the years. MFA Oil has supported Special Olympics since the 2002 State Summer Games. Funds and donations we receive from corporate partners are the reason we are able to have such a high return on each dollar raised—currently it’s 85 cents on the dollar!”
Special Olympics athletes in Missouri train and compete at the local, district and regional levels free of charge.
“The cost to support one athlete for one year is $483—so for every 483 customers that participate in MFA Oil’s promotion, one athlete will be supported for the year,” Rampy Stegeman said.
“The services Special Olympics Missouri provides are vital to the development of many intellectually disabled residents within our state, and we are proud to support their efforts,” said Mark Fenner, MFA Oil president and CEO. “We hope our customers will embrace the opportunity to help us max out our contribution through the Get Fueled for Special Olympics campaign.”
SOMO is a year-round program of sports training and athletic competition for children and adults with intellectual disabilities. More than 15,000 athletes participate in 21 Olympic-type sports throughout the state. Special Olympics provides its participants with continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage and experience joy as they participate in the sharing of gifts and friendship with their fellow athletes, their family and friends and communities across Missouri.