Calista Cares Helping Special Olympics

The Problem

Special Olympics is not a federally funded program. Every county is responsible for their own fundraising to keep their program running. Crawford County Special Olympics provides year-round sports training, equipment, uniforms, training facilities, transportation to and from competitions, meals and overnight accomodations, if needed, for athletes and coaches. In the fall of 2006, Crawford County Special Olympics lost their largest fundraising event and was worried they would have to cut back on the number of athletes they took to competitions or simply not go at all. Calista knows how much her brother loves participating in Special Olympics, so she came up with her own fundraising project.

Plan of Action

Calista decided instead of simply asking for donations, she would make and sell ceramics, jewelry and crafts to help fundraise for the program. She also sells homemade suckers, has held numerous bake sales and raffles and even ran her own lemonade stand to raise much needed funds. To date, she has raised $13,704.00 and volunteered almost 3,600 hours. In addition to fundraising, Calista is a Special Olympics Unified Partner in bocce and swimming. As a Unified Partner, she trains and competes with Special Olympics athletes as her teammates. Her teams have medaled at Sectionals and Summer Games.

Project Updates

In October 2009, Calista decided she would also like to start fundraising for Make-A-Wish. Her hope is to raise enough money to fund a wish. The average wish is $3400.00.

For the past 2 years, Calista has been helping to train area athletes on the rules of bocce. Last fall, she became a Unified Partner in bocce and as a team, she and her brother won gold medals at Special Olympics Pennsylvania Western Fall Sectionals. She has her sights set on becoming a Special Olympics assistant coach when she's 16 and a head coach when she's 18. She has shown such dedication to the success of the program and insists that she will continue her efforts in the hopes that all area athletes who qualify will continue to be able to attend regional and state competitions every year.

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