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Eunice Kennedy Shriver devoted her life to fighting for the rights of those with intellectual disabilities. She believed everyone deserves respect. She opened her home, she coached and above all, she was a friend. She demonstrated an indomitable spirit in action. The Eunice Kennedy Shriver Day message calls for people to continue these acts of inclusion for those with intellectual disabilities, in essence to "play on" Mrs. Shriver's legacy. The fourth Saturday of September will be an annual event to celebrate her life and impact and to share her story to inspire new fans to action and unifying communities around the world.
Eunice Kennedy Shriver Day has been created in her honor to inspire people to experience her legacy and embrace the movement she founded more than 42 years ago in her backyard. There will be three key components to honoring her legacy:
Â· PLAY: A day of sports, training clinics and sports activities to commemorate Eunice Kennedy Shriver's belief in building greater equality through organized athletics.
Â· JOIN: An effort to share her life and impact and to educate people about the urgent needs of people with intellectual disabilities and to motivate new fans and friends to act.
Â· BUILD: A regional effort to dedicate new or renovated athletic facilities in Eunice Kennedy Shriver's honor in the poorest communities.
Hundreds of events will take place on September 25th all over the world to honor Eunice Kennedy Shriver. Some of the notable events include:
Â· FIFA Football for HopeTM Center in Namibia will be dedicated in Eunice Kennedy Shriver's name
Â· Unified SportsÂ® events with Mother Teresa's Sisters of Charity in Calcutta and Delhi, India
Â· Special Olympics Camp Shriver events will be held in East Timor, Haiti and Malaysia
Â· U.S. Soccer Foundation field dedication at the Washington, D.C Friendship Charter School
Â· Special Olympics Healthy Athletes screenings for those with intellectual disabilities will take place in over 20 countries
"This day will bring a hopeful future of inclusion and action that will build communities throughout the world," shared Special Olympics Chairman and CEO, Timothy P. Shriver. "All of these act and events are not merely an honor to my mother's great legacy but they are also about embracing the movement she started to inspire new fans to get involved. I can only hope that this day becomes an annual celebration of people demonstrating their willingness to accept and include people with intellectual disabilities."
"My mother's lifelong commitment to people with intellectual disabilities taught me that there is no greater joy in life than the joy that comes from contributing your time and energy to the enhancement of another person's life," said Anthony K. Shriver, Best Buddies Founder and Chairman. "So, I cannot think of a more fitting way to celebrate her life and legacy than to encourage acts of volunteerism that will teach people to see their peers with intellectual disabilities as classmates, as teammates, as colleagues, as friends - and most importantly - as equals. Ultimately, I hope that this day will put us one step closer to the world she envisioned; a world in which people with intellectual disabilities are fully integrated into society."
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