For the third year in a row, Death Wish Coffee is sponsoring the Special Olympics New York annual summer event. For the last two years, the organization had a rUNDEAD zombie-themed 5K. This year, instead of a zombie race, the name of the event is Be Our Superhero Field Day.
The reason? Because no matter who you are, you can be a hero.
"You can see everyone doing what they love to do without their disability stopping them, and they always have fun no matter what,” Rob Rogers Jr., a Special Olympics athlete, coach, and advocate said. "This gives them the chance to do the sports they love without their disabilities stopping them. It’s their time to shine at all the competitions that we have.”
We're creating a mug specifically for this event — coming next month — with a superhero-inspired medallion. It will be a footed mug, and the glaze will be black with burgundy and white. All of the sales from this mug will go directly to support Special Olympics New York. (Stay tuned — we'll release more on this mug soon!)
We talked to Carolyn Braunius, Associate Director of Development for Special Olympics New York, about the new event, what's in store for this year, and more. Read her answers below.
What was behind the switch to Be Our Superhero this year?
We decided we needed to expand and make the event one that was more accessible to everyone. We realized there had been people who wanted to participate in the past, but were not 5K runners and the race had begun to lose popularity. We knew it was time to come up with something new. Our local supporters and sponsors are our heroes, making it possible for Special Olympics New York to keep true to its mission, which allows athletes to showcase their talents and abilities, while improving self-esteem, developing social interactions and enhancing leadership skills on and off the playing field. The superhero theme seemed a natural fit and the idea instantly clicked.
The support we receive from Death Wish Coffee and its fans makes such a difference in the lives of our Special Olympics New York athletes. We wanted to create a fun way to celebrate our partnership. Plus, superheroes are cool!
What’re you hoping to get out of this event?
All of the proceeds for this event will aid in the attempt to raise awareness for individuals with intellectual disabilities, as well as funding to benefit the athletes of Special Olympics New York. The “Be Our Superhero” fundraiser will help cover costs to provide year-round sports training and competition in 23 Olympic-style sports to children and adults with intellectual disabilities at no cost to the athletes, their families or caregivers.
Our local athletes are excited to be at the event. Attendees will have the opportunity to talk to the athletes and hear first-hand how Special Olympics New York has changed their lives.
A photo from the 2016 rUNDEAD event.
What kinds of games will be part of the Field Day events?
There will be a collection of classic field day games including tug of war, water balloon toss, the three legged race, dizzy bat and an egg/spoon carry race. Prizes will be awarded for highest overall score, best team costume and most money raised by an individual.
Can you give an overview of what Special Olympics New York does?
Special Olympics New York provides year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-style sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes and the community.
What’s the most inspiring part about working for Special Olympics New York?
The most inspiring part of working for Special Olympics New York is getting to know our athletes and seeing how their lives are positively changed through sport, developing relationships with the wonderful people who support the movement and the passion of the colleagues that I have the pleasure of working with every day.
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