Maria Mavridis believes strongly in the power of Special Olympics and those associated with it.
Their vision, she said, is “that sport will open hearts and minds towards people with intellectual disabilities, and create inclusive communities all across Ontario.”
That vision is now being extended to the community of NOTL, thanks to the efforts of a local real estate agent and her connections in the community, she says. Nancy Bailey, of Engel & Volkers, is a proud champion of Special Olympics. In early April, Bailey met with the South Central district developer of Special Olympics Ontario, Pratima Bhatt, and realized there is a need for expansion into the NOTL community, said Mavridis.
Special Olympics has existing communities in Welland, St. Catharines, Port Colborne and Niagara Falls.
“Special Olympics gives those with intellectual and physical disabilities an opportunity to enrich their lives through sport. Through bowling, ball hockey, track and field, basketball and golf, athletes are encouraged to be brave in their attempt,” Mavridis said.
“‘Let me win, but if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt’ is the official Special Olympics oath.”
Tim Bala, of Paddle Niagara, is excited at the opportunity to create a NOTL chapter. He has taught stand-up paddle boarding to a few students in Florida with disabilities, and would love the chance to do it in his home town, he said.
Through Mavridis, Anchor Niagara organizes events for local not-for-profits and charities, and has partnered with Jackson-Triggs Niagara Estate Winery for an official fundraising kickoff event for Special Olympics NOTL.
The event will be held Wednesday, Sept. 4 at the Jackson-Triggs Amphitheatre. Club 27: A Rock Concert Experience, will feature singers and musicians celebrating the works of legends Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison and Kurt Cobain, all who passed away at age 27. Doors open at 6 p.m., with food and drink as well as a pop-up-shop, under the Jackson-Triggs hospitality tent. The concert starts at 7 p.m., with 100 per cent of all proceeds raised to benefit Special Olympics, Niagara-on-the-Lake community.
Tickets include a glass of Jackson-Triggs wine.
For tickets visit: www.greatestatesniagara.com.
To volunteer and get involved in the Special Olympics NOTL, email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.