A New Home Base for the Special Olympics

A New Home Base for the Special Olympics

Special Olympics Broward County receives office space and full use of NSU’s athletics facilities
All made possible through the efforts of Don Taft

The Special Olympics of Broward County (SOBC) joins NSU’s award winning athletic teams with a permanent office space that will serve as the nexus of the SOBC’s operations. This collaboration with the university is all thanks to the generosity of local businessman and philanthropist, Don Taft.

The partnership came about as part of a generous gift the Taft Foundation made to NSU in 2009. In recognition of Taft’s contribution, the 366,000-square-foot Don Taft University Center was named in his honor. The gift also allowed Taft to provide SOBC with a permanent home at the university—the first and only one of its kind.

“Don Taft and the Taft Foundation have helped our dreams come true,” said Paul Sallarulo, chairman of SOBC and a member of the NSU Board of Trustees. “This extraordinary gift has provided our athletes with resources that will enable them to be the very best they can be.”

In addition to providing the group with a permanent office space, the athletes will also have access to all of NSU’s athletics facilities. This will be a much-used benefit, since SOBC provides year-round, free sports training and Olympic-style competition to athletes with intellectual disabilities. The group coordinates competition in 22 sports through the support of more than 40 training programs throughout the county.

All athletes ages eight years and older, no matter their ability level, can participate in and benefit from Special Olympics, said Linda Mills, the group’s director. “Through successful sports training and competition, Special Olympics athletes develop physically, socially, and psychologically,” she said. “The positive experiences the athletes have in ongoing Special Olympics programs build confidence and self-image, which carries into all aspects of their lives.”

The group moved into its new offices last fall and celebrated with a Grand Opening and Appreciation Picnic, which featured carnival games, relay and sack races, a magic show, sports demonstrations, and lots of food to fuel the athletes and guests.

The day also honored the hard work and support of all the Special Olympics athletes, their families, board members, law enforcement supporters, sponsors, and volunteers—including the group’s very own champion, Don Taft. Visit www.specialolympicsbroward.orgor call (954) 262-2150 for more information.

Get Involved

Volunteers are the backbone of Special Olympics. Depending on your
interests and the amount of time you have available, Special Olympics
can offer volunteer opportunities including:

  • Day-of-Event Volunteers—Help support county competition in
    county games.
  • Training Program Volunteers—Be a coach or unified partner or
    help support athletes as they train for a sport.
  • County Management Team Committee Volunteers—Use your expertise
    to support the county program through committees including public
    relations, budget and finance, volunteer management, and fund-raising.
  • General Support Volunteers—Help with fund-raising events, speakers
    bureau, entertainment, data entry, secretarial work, or medical exams
    for athletes.

For more volunteer opportunity information, please call (954) 262-2150.