Four delegates from Special Olympics New Jersey (SONJ) traveled to D.C. on February 13th to take part in Special Olympics Hill Day.
Athlete Paige Giasullo and her Unified partner, Bella DiDomenico, and athlete Louis Cavana with his Unified partner Matt Rosalie. All four are students at Old Bridge High School. Along with SONJ Area Director Karen Lewicki, these delegates got to meet New Jersey state representatives and their aides.
One key meeting from Hill Day was held with Senator Cory Booker and Special Olympics CEO Mary Davis. Giasullo and DiDomenico spoke about their personal involvement with inclusive health and the Unified Movement. DiDomenico transferred from a school with no inclusion to Old Bridge High School, a place that celebrates living Unified in New Jersey. Giasullo discussed her experiences and fears as someone with an intellectual disability who has limited access to healthcare.
“Our Capital Hill Day is an important opportunity for us to meet with our New Jersey Members of Congress to discuss the value of their support to ensure sustained government funding for Special Olympics to continue to enhance health and inclusive, Unified initiatives in our state,” stated Heather Andersen, President and CEO of Special Olympics New Jersey.
“No one can better articulate a vision for how America can become a more inclusive nation or demonstrate what it means to unite and come together than the athletes and Unified partners of Special Olympics” said Tim Shriver, Chairman of Special Olympics. Shriver added, “Our athletes and youth leaders will lead us into the next 50 years of our fight to end discrimination for people with intellectual disabilities, but we can’t do it alone. We need governmental support to preserve laws that guarantee the rights and full participation and integration of people with intellectual disabilities into our society.”
Hill Day Photos