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Special Olympics brings family fun

By: Kaitlyn Conrad/Photo and Web Editor

On September 21, Special Olympic athletes, family, friends and volunteers will gather for the 30 Annual Special Olympics Family Festival. The Special Olympics Family Festival (SOFF) will be held at Lake Land College and is hosted by Consolidated Communications for Area 9 Special Olympic Athletes.  This is a day of fun and includes games, food, entertainment and community.

“It’s basically a carnival type atmosphere,” commented Kimberly Abell, the Director of the East Central Area 9 Special Olympics Illinois. “There’s face painting, karaoke, dancing, there’s a dunk tank, there’s matchbox car racing I believe …basketball and a football throw.”

Volunteers from Consolidated Communications, students from the local universities and colleges as well as groups and members of community who like to help will be on Lake Land College grounds that day making the event run smoothly.

Special Olympics is a global organization dedicated to changing the lives of people with intellectual disabilities. Special Olympics Illinois provides events and opportunities for more than 21,000 athletes, and there are 40,000 volunteers statewide. As of the week of August 19, there are 630 participants, with more still coming in for LLC’s SOFF.

The general event hours are 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. The opening ceremony is at 10 a.m. with the closing ceremony expected to happen around 2:15 that afternoon. Volunteers may be asked to arrive earlier or stay later.

For students interested in getting involved, there are volunteer forms in the Student Life office that can be picked up, filled out and turned back in to Marlene Meek. Forms need to be turned in by September 18. Volunteers will help run games, serve food or become a Friend for the Day. Those who are volunteering to be a Friend for a Day, there will be an orientation Wednesday, September 18 from 3 to 4 pm in the Theatre at the Student Center Building.

SOFF has a Facebook page that anyone may go and like. This page can be accessed at For any questions regarding SOFF, Kimberly Abell is the event organizer and can be reached at or by phone at 217-345-2424. For more information about Special Olympics, visit

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