Special Olympics WNY Regional Basketball Tournament
As we prepare for this year's Special Olympics WNY Regional Basketball Tournament that takes place on Saturday, April 27th, I wanted to make you aware of the date and remind you about what we do to celebrate our neighbors with developmental and intellectual disabilities.
Niagara University has hosted the Special Olympics NY Western Regional Basketball Tournament event since 2006 as a culminating experience for our students who take the Special Olympics: Coaching and Games Management course. The course has sections offered by the College of Education and the College of Hospitality and Tourism Management.
As you know, Special Olympics is widely known as an international organization whose mission is to help persons with developmental and intellectual disabilities participate as productive and respected members of society at large and offer them a fair opportunity to develop and demonstrate their skills and talents through sports training and competition, and to increase the public's awareness of their capabilities and needs.
Accordingly, the Special Olympics course has multiple components. Among them are:
· provide our students with knowledge about the nature of individuals with developmental and intellectual disabilities
· develop skills among our candidates to become certified Special Olympics coaches
· train children and adults with individuals with developmental and intellectual disabilities to compete in the annual regional basketball tournament.
· plan and host a sanctioned Special Olympics regional basketball tournament.
Last year, Niagara University hosted 220 athletes and their families from throughout Western New York at the Kiernan Recreation center. There were nine training clubs throughout Western New York who competed. We are very humbled and proud or the Western New York Community members for partnering with Niagara University to make this event a huge success. Among the volunteers and organizations who made the tournament a success includes:
· Niagara University President, the Reverend James J. Maher, C. M. offered the Invocation during Opening Ceremonies,
· MaryAlice Demler from WGRZ was the Master of Ceremonies,
· U.S. Border Patrol officers and Lewiston Police Department officers assisted the athletes in the Running of the Torch during Opening Ceremonies,
· Visit from Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster during competition,
· Niagara Falls Superintendent of Police, Bryan Dalporto presented awards,
· SUNY Buffalo State College of Education provided volunteer support,
· SUNY University at Buffalo Dental College provided dental screenings,
· Visit from Buffalo Bisons Mascot Burt during competition,
· Extreme Illumination & Sound donated the entertainment/talent
· Various Niagara University student organizations supported and volunteered, including: NUSGA provided lunches for athletes, Alpha Sigma Alpha and Phi Sigma Sigma sororities, Women’s / Men’s Basketball refereed, Men’s Soccer, R.O.T.C., ASL Club signed during Opening Ceremonies, Danceline performed during Opening Ceremonies, Montie helped to welcome the athletes before and during Opening Ceremonies.
It’s truly inspiring how the community and University come together on behalf of our members who deserve it the most. I’m so proud to be part of this excellent institution and, in particular, this event. Here’s a link to photos that show the true spirit of the day.
This year’s event will take place on Saturday, April 27, 2019 at the Kiernan Center. We would be honored if you have time to attend at any time during the event. The Opening Ceremonies will take place at 9:00 am, and the presentation of awards usually takes place between 2:00 and 3:00.
Thank you very much for considering.
Dennis Garland, Ph.D.
Phone: (407) 227-7958
Niagara Falls, NY 14109