Series Two: Community Spotlight on Special Olympics Illinois

In effort to support community organizations close to the heart of MAKE, we are highlighting causes with which we are passionate. In the first series, we met Cassie Wohlhart, who is an 11-year Special Olympics Athlete and track star. Please continue to 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 Emma Ross!

Sports: Baseball, Gymnastics, Rhythmic Gymnastics, Swimming

Emma first began playing sports through Baseball for Rising Stars and the Western DuPage Special Recreation Association (WDSRA). WDSRA has been providing fun, recreational opportunities to individuals of all ages with disabilities since 1976.  They serve more than 4,500 individual children and adults with special needs in over 1,500 recreation programs, trips, and special events annually. Although Emma has participated in several sports, she enjoys gymnastics the most.

Emma’s goal is to always feel graceful while doing gymnastics. Her favorite memories with Special Olympics are gymnastics competitions. She has earned several ribbons and medals throughout her time with Special Olympics and keeps them in a special box to help her cherish the memories.

How to get involved with SOIL:

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