SOIA Volunteer Earns Awards from PGA Golf
Volunteers are the mainstay of the Special Olympics organization. They fulfill a wide variety of positions including chaperoning, coaching, event management and fundraising. Volunteers also ensure that athletes receive quality training and competition. One such dedicated volunteer is Sara Bidney, the director of instruction at the Wakonda Club in Des Moines.

Bidney was recently selected as the 2015 PGA Section Teacher of the Year and the 2015 Youth Player Development award winner. This marks the third time in six years that Bidney received the Teacher of the Year honor. She is the only professional to receive both awards in the same year and the only woman to receive both awards.
SOIA Athlete Crowned Homecoming Queen at Spirit Lake

Spirit Lake High School embodied the spirit of inclusion as Special Olympics Iowa athlete Megan Vierkant was crowned its 2015 Homecoming Queen on Sept. 23.

Megan was nominated as one of five senior girls up for the honor. When her name was called as one of the nominees she was a bit surprised, but her surprise quickly turned to excitement as she jumped up from the bleachers and ran to join the other candidates as the gym exploded with cheers.
SOIA Athletes Learn Banking 101 Through Partnership with Lincoln Savings Bank

Lincoln Savings Bank (LSB) hosted a class for Special Olympics Iowa athletes at its bank in Clive as part of the students' Senior Plus Program at Valley High School. The class is for special needs students who have earned all their credits to graduate, but choose to stay in school longer to have access to lessons on living and vocational skills. 

Derek Baker, LSB branch manager, spoke with the students about the importance of paying yourself first, the difference between checking and savings accounts, and establishing good credit.
First Annual Tailgate for Teammates Reaches $50,000 Fundraising Goal 

Nothing brings fans together like a good old-fashioned tailgate! The first annual Tailgate for Teammates presented by Voya Financial was held Oct. 17 at the State Historical Building in downtown Des Moines. Sponsors and guests helped SOIA reach its $50,000 fundraising goal.
Casey's General Store Continues Statewide Partnership

Thanks to YOU, Casey's General Store donated more than $34,000 to SOIA from this year's Casey's Cup campaign! Between Memorial Day and Labor Day, SOIA athletes and law enforcement officers were featured on the 44-oz. cups, with a portion of the sales going to SOIA.
Special Olympics Iowa Receives $20,000 grant from Variety- the Children's Charity to Fund Play Days and Unified Sports®

Special Olympics Iowa (SOIA) has received a $20,000 grant from Variety- the Children's Charity to fund Young Athletes Play Days and Unified Sports®. Young Athletes Play Days are designed to provide play activities and socialization opportunities for children with intellectual disabilities between the ages of two and seven. Play Days were created to serve children too young to participate in formal Special Olympics events (athletes can begin competing at age eight).
UnitedHealthcare: Helping People Live Healthier Lives

UnitedHealthcare's mission is "to help people live healthier lives." We have operated health plans in Iowa since the 1980s, serving a wide range of Iowans, including those who get their coverage through employers, the armed forces and Medicare plans. We have served children in the Iowa hawk-i program since 2000. We are dedicated to promoting health for all Iowans in every stage of their lives.

In 2015, UnitedHealthcare has supported Challenge Days and the Healthy Athletes program as a Gold Level Sponsor, positively impacting thousands of Iowans with intellectual disabilities.
Class A Application Update

Thank you to all of our delegation managers, coaches and volunteers for submitting your Class A Volunteer Applications. The applications are being processed much smoother because of your help making sure all the application components are complete.
Remember incomplete Class A Volunteer Applications will be held at the state office for three months. After that, the application will be shredded and you will have to resubmit a new application to volunteer.

Applications may take up to 30 days to process, so please plan ahead when you need your credential.
State Bowling Tournament Nov. 21 in Cedar Rapids, Des Moines, Sioux City

More than 800 athletes from across Iowa will be competing in the Special Olympics Iowa State Bowling Tournament on Nov. 21. The tournament will span three locations - Westdale Bowl in Cedar Rapids, Bowlerama in Des Moines and Plaza Lanes in Sioux City.

Athletes of all ages will compete in singles, doubles and four-person team bowling. Bowing is also offered as a Unified sport in doubles and four-person team, where athletes with intellectual disabilities are paired with athletes without disabilities. Ramp bowling is available for athletes who are unable to roll their own bowling ball.

SOIA Hires Birkenholtz as Southeast Regional Director

Erin Birkenholtz has joined the Special Olympics Iowa state office staff as the Director of Regional Field Services for the Southeast Region. She will oversee the East, East Central and Southeast Areas for SOIA.

Coach's Corner

Coaches Training Certification Clinics
To see a list of upcoming training clinics, visit our online calendar and click on the Coaches Training check box on the left.  

Athlete Physical Updates
Reminders and updated for submitting an athlete's Application for Participation were sent out to all coaches. For legal reasons and for the safety of our athletes we have to follow these guidelines. 
Sign Up for a Fundraising Event!
Special Olympics Iowa (SOIA) continues to make a lifelong impact on the lives of our athletes. But the  impact extends even farther...changing the lives of those who empower our athletes.  Here's your chance to make an impact!

Brrrrrrring on the cold! Whether you plunge solo or with coworkers, friends or family - for the ultimate bonding experience - we'll help you take "cool" up a degree or two. Click the above link to find a Plunge near you!

Special Olympics Iowa will bring the Des Moines area Polar Plunge to Jordan Creek Town Center on Sat., Nov. 7, 2015. The event is presented by Lincoln Savings Bank.

The Polar Plunge will take place in a pool, donated by Central Iowa Pool and Spa, set up in the south parking lot at Jordan Creek Mall. Festivities begin at noon with plungers, fans, families and athletes enjoying a wide variety of family-friendly activities - Scott Tudor Entertainment will be DJ-ing the event, the Aveda Insitute will have blowouts available after you plunge and Lincoln Savings Bank will have an interactive tent - just to name a few! Click the above link to sign up today!

Are You Ready for Some Football? Pigskin Madness Tickets on Sale Now! 
We're gearing up for the NFL season and our annual Pigskin Madness tickets are on sale now! You have eight chances to win each week of the remaining NFL season!

Granite City will be donating a portion of its sales to Special Olympics Iowa on Nov. 19. Visit one of the three Granite City locations in Iowa - Cedar Rapids, Clive or Davenport - on Nov. 19, show your server our flyer and 15% of your total tab will be donated to Special Olympics Iowa! Click above to see the flyer!

Northwest Iowa Taco John's Fundraiser to Benefit SOIA Athletes
Taco John's will be hosting a special Nachos Navidad® holiday fundraiser and awareness campaign from Nov. 23 to Dec. 25, donating a portion of each Nachos Navidad® purchase Special Olympics athletes in northwest Iowa. Taco John's locations participated in this campaign include Sioux City, North and South Sioux City, Cherokee, Sheldon, Spencer, and Storm Lake. Along with the Nachos Navidad purchases, Taco John's will also be collecting change and selling paper ornaments.

Calendar Highlights
For a full listing of events, visit our online calendar.

7 - Polar Plunge (West Des Moines)
10 - Play Day (Davenport)
11 - Play Day (Muscatine)
14 - Polar Plunge (Dubuque)
17 - Unified Sports Training Day (Treynor)
19 - Dine to Donate at Granite City
21 - State Bowling Tournament (Cedar Rapids, Des Moines, Sioux City)
26-27 - State Office Closed - Happy Thanksgiving!

4-5 - Global Messenger Workshop
24, 25, 31 - State Office Closed - Happy Holidays!

1 - State Office Closed - Happy New Year!
11-13 - Winter Games