Special Olympics Massachusetts Breaks Ground on Yawkey Sports Training Center

New Marlborough training facility to serve more than 10,000 athletes, 11,000 volunteers and 1,600 coaches in Massachusetts

A monumental event for Special Olympics Massachusetts (SOMA) ceremoniously occurred on the first day of Disabilities Awareness month. SOMA President Robert Johnson, Marlborough Mayor Nancy Stevens, and Yawkey Foundation Trustees along with Special Olympics athletes, family members and key players turned the first ceremonial shovel of the new SOMA headquarters in Marlborough.

The 25,000 square foot, state of the art training center in the City of Marlborough will be named the Yawkey Sports Training Center.

SOMA has already raised $5.8 million for the new center, and a capital campaign is currently underway to raise the remainder of the funds needed to make the $10.5 million project a reality by fall 2009. The Yawkey Foundation supported the project with a $2.5 million grant.

"We are extremely excited about the Yawkey Sports Training Center, which we believe will significantly increase our ability to serve Special Olympics athletes and train key players of our organization to further our mission," said Johnson.

Centrally located on a five-acre site off Route 495 within a 90-minute drive for 90% of the Commonwealth's population, SOMA's new home will enable the organization to realize greater efficiencies in its field operations, providing higher quality training experiences for a growing number of volunteers, coaches and athletes. With the new 25,000 square foot multi-functional facility, Special Olympics officials hope to double the program to 20,000 athletes by 2010 and grow the education component for coaches and volunteers by having one central location.

Special Olympics Massachusetts provides year-round sports training, athletic competition and other related programming for athletes with intellectual disabilities. By bringing together people with and without intellectual disabilities at year round Special Olympics programs, longstanding myths are dispelled, negative attitudes changed, and new opportunities are created to embrace and celebrate the giftedness of people with intellectual disabilities. This is accomplished in great part by the thousands of volunteers who give of their time and energy to ensure that athletes have the best experience possible.

SOMA offers over 126 year round sporting competitions. Through the power of sport, the movement transforms the lives of people with intellectual disabilities. It also unites everyone by fostering a sense of community and building a civil society. For more information visit www.specialolympicsma.org/.