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University of Chicago Department of Athletics & Recreation

Memories Made as UChicago WAA Distributes Funds Raise to Special Olympics Chapters

UChicago student-athletes and staff at Hyde Park Academy
UChicago student-athletes and staff at Hyde Park Academy


CHICAGO – With the funds raised from the Women's Athletic Association (WAA) annual Slam Dunk for Special Olympics event, members of the UChicago organization were able to present portions of the more than $7,000 raised to local Special Olympics chapters.

The visits to Ada S. McKinley Vocational Center, Hyde Park Academy, and El Valor were beyond memorable.

Read UChicago sophomore Allie Muisenga's account of the visits below!


"Over the past few weeks, I have had the privilege of meeting fellow student-athletes at McKinley and Hyde Park Academy as we presented the checks from funds raised from our Slam Dunk for Special Olympics event.

At McKinley, we were given a brief tour of the facility, which encompasses classrooms, a gym, a cafeteria, and a work space which employed members of the McKinley community. At Hyde Park Academy, we spent time with a class of about 15 students and were able to play some basketball in their gym. Our visit to El Valor was also wonderful.  We were able to eat lunch with the athletes that made the lunch.  As a parting gift, they gave us each a jar of their homemade salsa.

There were lots of highlights from each visit, with seeing how our fundraising positively impacts the communities to meeting the individual administrators, staff, and athletes and connecting with them.

However, I would say the highlight of all the trips was the smiles. Every person I encountered had a smile on his or her face, particularly the athletes.

There was such a positive and enthusiastic energy in all of the fellow athletes that reminded me how special athletics can be. Athletics allows for cooperation, competition, and fitness, but it also serves another, often overlooked, function.

It is a unifier. Being able to instantly connect with people can be difficult at times, and yet with athletics, bridges are instantly built. I loved my time at each facility and I hope to be able to visit again!"

  • By Allie Muisenga, UChicago Volleyball, Class of 2021