Editor's Note: The following is a news release issued by and PSE&G.
The games are expected to have a $50 million impact on New Jersey’s economy as thousands of athletes, coaches, and supporters descend upon the Garden State for the games. The games will be the largest Special Olympics national games since they began in 2006.
PSE&G will be the Presenting Sponsor of the games’ Youth Leadership Initiative, which will challenge high school students to develop strategies to bring together students with and without intellectual disabilities.
Activities will start next year in schools throughout New Jersey, challenging students to become leaders who create cultures of acceptance in their schools and communities.
PSE&G will also sponsor the games’ national Youth Leadership Summit, which will bring to New Jersey youth from throughout the country for a week of activities that teach them how to become advocates for each other. These efforts are designed to lead to greater acceptance of Special Olympics athletes in the classroom.
“We’re proud to help bring a world-class event like the 2014 Special Olympics USA Games to New Jersey. We have great respect for the impact that this organization has had in showcasing the incredible spirit and abilities of athletes with intellectual disabilities,” said Ralph LaRossa, president and chief operating officer of PSE&G.
“The games will bring an influx of people and investment to New Jersey, and provide tens of thousands of the state’s residents an opportunity to get involved in activities that bring people together. We’re strong and steady supporters of initiatives that strengthen the communities we serve.”
The 2014 Special Olympics USA Games will take place at sporting venues throughout New Jersey, June 14 through June 21. More than 3,500 Special Olympics athletes from all 50 states and the District of Columbia will compete in 17 sports. An estimated 10,000 volunteers as well as 50,000 additional spectators will be in attendance.
“The impact of these Games on New Jersey will go far beyond the new dollars it brings to the state,” said TJ Nelligan, chairman & CEO of the 2014 Special Olympics USA Games Organizing Committee, “PSE&G’s support will help create a legacy of acceptance in our schools and a new generation of leaders who are committed to ensuring that all people are valued and fully included in our society.”
"Young people are the future of our Special Olympics movement and we are thrilled that PSE&G will help power their leadership leading up to and during the 2014 USA Games," shared Timothy Shriver, chairman and CEO of Special Olympics. "By providing youth the opportunity to engage with athletes with intellectual disabilities, they will be helping pave the way for more inclusive and accepting communities."
The PSE&G sponsored Youth Leadership Initiative has two distinct initiatives.
The first is the 2013 Special Olympics New Jersey Leadership Institute, which will engage New Jersey students as leaders to create cultures of acceptance in their schools and communities through sport.
The second element is 2014 Special Olympics USA Games Youth Leadership Summit, which will assemble youth from throughout the country to participate in a week of idea exchanging and leadership development, including taking on leadership roles during the games, in preparation for implementing programs of inclusion and acceptance in their home schools and communities.