The Healthy Communities initiative takes the principles of the Healthy Athletes program and expands them in an effort to address the severe health disparities faced by people with ID through immediate and long-term solutions.
A Healthy Community is a location recognized by Special Olympics for efforts in creating year-round access to quality health care. Healthy Communities has created system-wide change in how health services are provided in eight countries (Mexico, Peru, Romania, Malawi, South Africa, Malaysia, and Thailand) and six U.S. states (Arizona, Florida, Kansas, New Jersey, Wisconsin and New York).
The program was launched in 2012, after long-time Special Olympics supporter and philanthropist, Tom Golisano, provided $12 million to fund the movement. Since then, The Golisano Foundation has donated an additional $25 million to further expand Special Olympics’ health services globally.
Special Olympics International has set a goal of having 100 locations recognized as Healthy Communities by 2020. Special Olympics Indiana was given a portion of the grant from the Golisano Foundation on April 1, 2017 to fund our Healthy Community program. Our goal is to be officially recognized as a Healthy Community in three years or less.
Special Olympics Indiana plans to become a Healthy Community by meeting the following goals:
- To garner the support of health care providers and create a referral network
- To educate athletes, family members and coaches on the importance of healthy living and fitness
- Create health awareness for people with intellectual disabilities that are not involved with Special Olympics
- To expand athlete screening statewide
- Create an ongoing program of fitness that will improve and increase activity levels of Special Olympics athletes