CHICAGO – The good news just keeps coming for the University of Chicago athletic department's commitment to Special Olympics.
With the funds raised from their Slam Dunk for Special Olympics event held back in February 2018, the UChicago Women's Athletic Association recently presented portions of the more than $6,500 raised to local Special Olympics chapters.
UChicago student-athletes Miranda Burt (women's basketball), Dana Ulrich (women's soccer), Max Brzostowski (baseball), and Mary Martin (track and field) visited two local schools – Hyde Park Academy and Ada S. McKinley Vocational Center – to present checks to their respective Special Olympics teams.
"The teams use the funding to purchase uniforms for their various teams, sport specific shoes, equipment including tennis racquets and basketballs, entry fees and travel funds for their participation in the local and state Special Olympics games," said Ulrich, who serves as both WAA's Special Events Chair and a co-chair for the Slam Dunk event.
Brzostowski, junior on the UChicago baseball team, visited Hyde Park Academy to help present the funds as well as interact with several athletes, playing catch and other games.
"Being able to assist local groups like Hyde Park Academy is a terrific feeling, " he said. "The kids who are a part of these programs deserve to have the chance to compete in Special Olympics events and have fun, and with our help, we are able to assist in providing them the money necessary to support their endeavors.
"Seeing their smiling faces and the enjoyment they get from sports is so special but knowing that we were able to aid in that makes it that much sweeter!"
WAA's Slam Dunk for Special Olympics event was held Feb. 2 in coordination with the UChicago men's and women's basketball doubleheader versus Emory University at the Ratner Athletics Center.
Slam Dunk raises money by selling raffle tickets for fans to win prizes donated from local businesses, such as professional athletic game tickets, restaurant gift cards, and other athletic or promotional gear.
The event also featured an inclusive 3-on-3 basketball game with both Special Olympics and UChicago athletes at halftime of the men's game. UChicago was later recognized by the NCAA, winning the April 2018 Special Olympics Spotlight contest and was awarded $500 toward its next Special Olympics event.