Special Olympics began in Chicago in 1968 and Special Children’s Charities has been raising funds for Special Olympics Chicago since 1969. We have fun athletic programs and so much more! If you participate in a Chicago Park District or Chicago Public Schools special recreation program, you are invited to join us for all we have to offer.  Working with our partners at the Chicago Park District, Chicago Public Schools, and key agencies, we support thousands of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities in all 77 Chicago neighborhoods by providing year-round sports training and activities.

Athletic programs and competitions

Each year our athletes are able to compete in dozens of athletic competitions. We have training available at Chicago Park District locations throughout the city as well as in many of the schools.

Upcoming Competitions

If you need help with paperwork and registration, please contact our Program Manager, Maureen Perez via email at maureen.perez@sochicago.org or by phone at 312-527-3743 ext 203.

Enrichment Activities

For many, the daily activities we provide are a vital resource for exercise, creativity, and friendship, enriching the lives of our athletes. Programs include:

Arts programming

We give athletes opportunities to let their creativity flow! 13 athletes are selected annually to have their work showcased in our calendar and at a special reception.

Virtual cooking demonstrations

Professional chefs teach athletes to cook healthy and delicious meals during these popular classes. They learn about nutrition, healthy eating, and real-world cooking skills as they prepare meal kits delivered by FarmTaste.

Athlete Leadership Council

The Athlete Leadership Council gives members a chance to be a voice in their community and advocate for their fellow athletes.


Each month, our athletes work with CAN TV to report, film, conduct interviews, and produce their very own television program. You can watch it on CAN TV or on YouTube.

The After 22 Program

This first-of-its-kind program provides young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities the opportunity to continue to receive educational services after they age out of the Chicago Public Schools system.

Family opportunities

Since the pandemic, we have sponsored fishing, golf, archery, bowling, indoor rowing, and more to give athletes and their families safe and fun activities.

Ski camp

Each year we sponsor an unforgettable trip for athletes and coaches to attend a ski camp where they build their skills, explore a different part of the country, and make new friends.

Improv class with Second City

Working with the iconic Second City Training Center, athletes build self esteem and creativity during these specially designed virtual classes.

Museum open houses

Chicago has some of the greatest museums in the world and we give athletes and their families special opportunities to explore them.