by Patrick B. McGuigan, editor
The 2016 Regional Special Olympics Basketball Tournament will be presented and hosted by Santa Fe Family Life Center in Oklahoma City. The annual event attracting more than 30 teams from across Oklahoma will unfold on Saturday, November 5 from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
While preparing for the Special Olympics event, SFFLC staff and leadership are making plans for the annual John F. Kennedy Community Service Awards dinner in early 2017. This year’s gala will honor the mayor of Oklahoma City, a former governor and his wife, and a long-time community philanthropist.
To donate in support of SFFLC, or to help support either the Special Olympics event or the January gala, contact executive director James Timberlake via telephone at 405-840-1817.
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. The late Mrs. Shriver was sister of President John F. Kennedy.
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.
Over the past year, more than 9,000 kids participated in youth sports at SFFLC. Additionally, according to SFFLC board of directors president Josef B. McGuigan, “over 1,000 hours of facility usage time was donated to the local community, and numerous scholarships/free memberships were given to those in need.”
SFFLC is a nonprofit wellness and health center located in north-central Oklahoma City. SFFLC’s mission is “to empower people with physical or intellectual disabilities and disadvantaged youth to achieve improved health and well-being.”
The Santa Fe Family Life Center (SFFLC) presents the John F. Kennedy Community Service Award to recognize Oklahomans whose philanthropy has served the Sooner State “in lasting and impactful ways.” The annual dinner’s proceeds benefit the charitable programs of the SFFLC.
The upcoming JFK Community Service Awards will honor Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett and former Governor David Walters and his wife Rhonda. Mike Turpen, a past JFK honoree, will be presented the Lifetime Achievement Award.
The awards banquet is set for Tuesday, January 24, 2017 at the historic downtown Skirvin Hotel. The event will feature a VIP reception at 6 p.m., and the awards dinner at 7 p.m. Organizers are presently seeking table sponsors at these levels: Oval Office Sponsor, $30,000; Presidential Sponsor, $10,000; Camelot Sponsor $5,000; New Frontier Sponsor $3,000.
Information on the gala and the work of SFFLC is available at the websites (sfflc.com). Those interested in sponsorships and other means of support may contact Timberlake at Santa Fe Family Life Center, 6300 North Santa Fe Avenue, Oklahoma City, OK 73118, telephone 405-840-1817.
Disclosure: Pat McGuigan is a former member of the Board of Directors for the Columbus Corporation, which sponsors the work of the Santa Fe Family Life Center. McGuigan served as vice-president of the board during Gov. Walters’ two terms as board president.