Special Olympics

Written by Kevin Hudnut. Posted in Special Olympics

Knights of Columbus, Special Olympics Missouri Partnership

SO OpeningCeremony

For over 30 years, Special Olympics Missouri (SOMO) and the Missouri Knights of Columbus have held a close partnership, together serving individuals with intellectual disabilities.  Through this partnership, 17,142 athletes across the state of Missouri are able to discover new strengths, abilities, skills and success through the power of sports in Special Olympics.

While sports competitions are at the forefront of what we do, SOMO transforms lives far beyond the field or court.  SOMO strives to enhance the quality of life for Missourians with intellectual disabilities by offering sports camps; nutrition, life and job skills training; and health-related assessments and follow-up care.

SOMO’s Athlete Leadership Program provides public speaking training to athletes, then certifying them as “Global Messengers.”  This program provides athletes with the skills and confidence needed to participate in roles in their communities that may have been previously considered “non-traditional” or “unheard of.”  A recent study showed 52% of the athletes that participate with SOMO hold down jobs compared to 10% of those who qualify, but do not participate. 

Individuals with intellectual disabilities have more complex health and medical conditions, but often receive inadequate health care or no health care whatsoever. The Healthy Athletes program is an initiative that provides health screenings, education, and follow-up care for individuals in desperate need of these services.  The Training for Life Campus will allow SOMO to provide seven health screenings to more than 1,200 athletes each year, more than eight times the current number of screenings provided.

In our 40+ year history, SOMO athletes, coaches, volunteers, and staff have never had a place to call home.  We have never had a centralized location that could house all of the different programs SOMO offers.  With the support of the Missouri Knights of Columbus, we are expanding our vision through the building of the new Training for Life Campus (TLC).  The planned TLC will serve current and future generations of individuals with intellectual disabilities, and will be the largest such facility in scope in the United States.  The 44,000-square-foot Campus will be located in mid-Missouri, and will offer year-round training opportunities for athletes, coaches and volunteers throughout Missouri.  This project is a $12.5 million overall Capital Campaign.

To see a preliminary rendering of the Training for Life Campus (TLC), click HERE.

The Missouri Knights of Columbus have accepted a challenge to raise $1,000,000.00 over the next five years to be used for the building of the new TLC. The Sports Education Multi-Media Center within the TLC will carry the name Missouri State Council Knights of Columbus.  In addition, any Council who meets the recognition levels shown will receive permanent recognition within the Training for Life Campus.   Each Council who meets a bronze, silver or gold level will be listed with the color of their medal:  $25 (per member) for bronze, $50 (per member) for silver and $100 (per member) for gold.   Individuals will be recognized for achieving a personal goal of $100 by receiving a “Champion of SOMO” pin.  Any individual that achieves a personal goal of $50 will receive a “Friend of SOMO” pin.  The top three councils who financially contribute the most to SOMO (per member) will be recognized at State Convention. 


SOMO has hired a Partnership Manager to assist Councils in event planning, developing fundraising strategies, and answering questions regarding the challenge.  Call Mary Bauer at (314) 961-7755 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  Mary will also serve as a liaison to coordinate athlete appearances at your meetings and fundraisers.  Please contact her as soon as possible to make your fundraisers most productive.


SOMO has been awarded tax credits for individuals and businesses that make gifts to the TLC.  To learn details visit:, or call Laurie Shadoan at (913) 789-0353 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

On behalf of SOMO athletes, coaches, volunteers, and staff we thank the Knights of Columbus for your commitment to serving individuals with intellectual disabilities.  Our athletes’ joy and confidence are products of the generous people that believe in and give to Special Olympics.  Please prayerfully consider being a part of this project.  “All for the Honor and Glory of God.” 

“In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and
give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”      Matthew 5:16

SOMOLogo                  TrainingForLifeCampus Logo

Unquestionable Integrity. Unwavering Excellence. Unbelievable Fun. Undeniable Respect. Unlimited Family.

SO ClosingCeremony



Knights Contacts:
Jim O'Fallon - Special Olympics Chairman  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Ralph Cupelli - Columbian Charities Secretary / Treasurer