Mission: To provide year-round sports training and competition in a variety of olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities by giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy, and participate in a sharing of gifts, talents, and friendship with their families, other special olympics athletes, and the community.
Programs: Sond is a 501(c)(3) organization incorporated in the state of north dakota to enable children and adults with intellectual disabilities to become a more accepted and integral part of the communities in which they reside. The programs that are offered by sond create an environment in which persons with intellectual disabilities will be prepared to participate in the community at large through activities that will (1) better enable them to be independent, productive members of society; (2) assist them in improving their overall health and safety through healthy athlete initiatives and volunteer training/education; (3) eliminate barriers to support and other assistance through community education; (4) enhance individual, family and citizen participation and involvement; and (5) increase economic opportunities to more people with intellectual disabilities. Additionally sond does not, nor cannot, assess any fees to the participants or their families for the programs provided; therefore, financial support from foundations, businesses and individuals is critical to sustaining programs for the people in nd. Education and youth leadership is what supports the year round mission of special olympics and is a large part of the more than 5,081 volunteers that were involved with the program. The resources that were put into these activities were a critical strategy for creating enlightened and activated youth who can lead today and in the future who can help build stronger civil societies. Targeted training insured that volunteers were provided the resources and direction to participating in providing opportunities for, and changing attitudes towards people with intellectual disabilities. Most widely recognized was the "spread the word to end the word" campaign.
competition and training is the vehicle widely used to provide people with intellectual disabilities opportunities for fitness, inclusion, acceptance and leadership. 2,567 people in north dakota participated in either a sanctioned training or competition event sponsored by sond and supported by 367 volunteer coaches. The power of sport shifts focus to what our participants can do, not what they can't. Attention to disabilities fades away. Instead, we see our athletes' talents and abilities. Our sports and competition events, 73 held in 2017, brought together a large and inclusive community of athletes, supporters and families, coaches, volunteers and many others. At each of these events, the experiences demonstrate purity of sports and real athletic pursuits all based upon true olympic ideals. Sond provides year-round training and competition in 15 official sports. A total of 2,441 athletes participated in sports such as: 298 in soccer, 242 in bocce, 424 in basketball, 12 in down-hill and 9 in cross-country skiing, figure and speed skating, 51 in snow shoeing, 97 in swimming, 44 in flag football, gymnastics, 31 in power lifting, 247 in volleyball and 292 in track and field. The number of bowlers increased by 12% at this year's state bowling tournament from 609 to 691 registered bowlers. Unified competition was offered in the sports of bocce, soccer, volleyball and flag football. Unified sports combine people with and without intellectual disabilities on the same team. Four athletes from north dakota represented special olympics usa at the 2017 special olympic world winter games in austria in march. Special olympics north dakota's 3 accredits special olympics college programs: und, ndsu, and minot state university competed in the 3rd annual youth unified flay football tournament held at und. The 2nd annual college rivalry basketball game was held at ndsu between so college club teams from ndsu and und. Special olympics north dakota partnered with special olympics north america, moose international, usa softball, bismarck parks and rec district and the bismarck mandan convention and visitors bureau to host the special olympics national softball championship held in bismarck august 17-20. Twenty-five teams from across the us and canada participated in the tournament.
sond offers healthy athlete initiatives dedicated to providing health services and education to special olympics athletes, and changing the way health systems interact with people with intellectual disabilities. Through free health screenings, training for healthcare professionals, and evaluation of the health status of people with intellectual disabilities, healthy athletes has become a powerful public health organization. Since 2003, 1,585 athletes have been screened in opening eyes, special smiles, and fun fitness and health promotion.