by Patrick B. McGuigan, editor
OKLAHOMA CITY – Special Olympics Oklahoma will bring 30 teams to the Santa Fe Family Life Center (SFFLC) for a regional basketball tournament Saturday, Nov. 14.
Players and teams will compete for the love of sport and fun all day. Activities begin at 8 a.m. and run until “about 4 p.m.,” organizers say.
According to the Special Olympics Oklahoma website (www.sook.org), “Oklahoma’s first Special Olympics event was an athletics competition at the University of Tulsa in 1969. In 1972, Special Olympics Oklahoma was incorporated as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and is governed by a state-wide Board of Directors. Special Olympics Oklahoma is authorized and accredited by Special Olympics, Inc., for the benefit of citizens with intellectual disabilities.”
Special Olympics Oklahoma today benefits 10,597 athletes, with more than 1,700 volunteer coaches and, in all, 140 sports competitions and training clinics annually.
The late Eunice Kennedy Shriver founded the Special Olympics, and organized the first International games in 1968 at Chicago’s Soldier Field. The group is active in all 50 states worldwide has more than 4.4 million athletes in 226 accredited programs.
SFFLC, hosting the tournament, is a project of the Columbus Corporation, a 501 c 3 non-profit and charitable organization. It is a mission of members of the Knights of Columbus in the state capital area, with volunteer board members from Oklahoma Council No. 1038.
Worldwide and in Oklahoma, the Knights have a decades-long legacy of working with people with disabilities.
SFFLC is a multi-purpose facility, providing exercise opportunities for members and guests from throughout the city area.
The facility’s charitable work includes providing opportunities for at-risk and disadvantaged youth, residents of the Center for Family Love in Okarche, and from Positive Tomorrows, a school for homeless children.
According to the mission statement developed by the board and executive director James Timberlake, as the largest charitably-based multi-sport facility in the capital area, “the Santa Fe Family Life Center provides a family-friendly atmosphere to improve health and well-being while giving back to the community.”
The facility and its staff focus on “offering and promoting programs designed to empower individuals to achieve improved fitness and well-being.”
A variety of sponsorship opportunities are available to support the Nov. 14 event. Contact Timberlake at 405-840-1817.
For information, visit the Santa Fe Family Life Center website at www.sfflc.com.
Disclosure: Pat McGuigan serves on the Board of Directors for the Columbus Corporation, the non-profit entity which governs the Santa Fe Family Life Center.