Community Spotlight: Special Olympics Illinois

In effort to support community organizations close to the heart of MAKE, we are highlighting causes with which we are passionate. This is the first in a series of spotlights on Special Olympics of Illinois, a group that is near and dear to us because of its importance to our own MAKE family, one of our clients, and the community as a whole. Please follow us as we introduce you to some special athletes and the teams that support them.

Special Olympics Illinois Mission:

Provide year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes and the community.

Special Olympics Illinois Reach:

  • 21,349 athletes (children and adults) with intellectual disabilities
  • 12,966 Young Athletes ages 2-7 with and without intellectual disabilities
  • 40,000 volunteers and coaches
  • 170 competitions each year
  • 19 Olympic-type sports
  • Programs in 18 Areas, each coordinated by an Area Director and a volunteer committee
  • Dynamic sports and corporate partnerships

Meet Cassie Wohlhart!

Years with Special Olympics Illinois: 11

Sports: Bowling, track, gymnastics, floor hockey, basketball, volleyball, bocce

Region: Northwest Special Recreation Association

When Cassie was eight years old, she decided she wanted to play sports just like her big sister (MAKE’s own Abby Wohlhart). In the last 11 years, Special Olympics of Illinois has given countless unforgettable moments for 19-year-old Cassie Wohlhart.

Cassie participates in several sports but she enjoys running and snowshoeing the most. She participates in the 400 and 200 meter snow relay. Her track events are 100 meter, 400 meters, and relay racing – and she has even taken home a gold medal.

A favorite memory with Special Olympics is state championships at Illinois State University. “I have great memories of spending nights with friends at state competitions and gaining new friends from across the state”, recalls Cassie. “When they light the torch at the state games, they say the creed, ‘Let me win, but if I cannot win, let me brave in the attempt.’”

Pictured below is Cassie with her sister Abby, who is a member of MAKE’s recruiting team.  Thanks for introducing us to Cassie, Abby!   We had so much fun meeting her, and we are excited to be part of her cheering team at Special Olympics events.

How to get involved with Special Olympics Illinois:

 Join us at the Special Olympics Illinois for the 2013 Inspire Greatness Gala

Saturday, October 26 at 6:00 p.m.
The Four Seasons Hotel Chicago

For more information and other ways to get involved, visit