WASHINGTON — The National Association of Division III Athletic Administrators (NADIIIAA) announced the recipients of this year's NADIIIAA Community Service Awards and The Catholic University of America Athletic Department received an Award of Merit for its ongoing work with Special Olympics D.C.
The awards program, established in 2001, is sponsored by the NADIIIAA and is intended to recognize the many contributions Division III student-athletes regularly make to their campuses and local communities. Recognition is given for projects in three categories: One Time Projects An Array of Projects and Ongoing Projects.
Each of the selected institutions and conferences is being recognized for the impressive community service projects performed by its student-athletes during the 2016-17 academic year.
"We are exceptionally proud of, and have greatly benefitted from, our seventeen-year partnership with The Special Olympics, and specifically, its Washington D.C. chapter," remarked Associate Vice President and Director of Athletics Sean Sullivan. "Catholic University student-athletes dedicate hundreds of hours of their time to Special Olympics events and activities each year…and have done so for close to two decades."
At any given time of the school year, Catholic Athletics serves as the host site and volunteer pool for local D.C. Special Olympics chapter leagues and championships. This includes weekly practice sessions and contests in sports such as tennis, basketball, soccer, and bocce, as well as large-scale Fall Classic and Summer Games Olympics-style events.
Additionally, Catholic University Athletics and its student-athletes raise tens of thousands of dollars each year for the local DC chapter by hosting and participating in its annual Polar Plunge. The Cardinals recently raised another $24,000 dollars at its most recent event.
Due to this long-standing partnership, The Special Olympics honored Catholic University and its Athletics Department with its Flame of Hope award in December 2016. This national award is given annually to the individual or organization that has supported a local chapter in the most significant and lasting ways.
"While service is a foundational principle of our University and a core element of its mission, perhaps the most impactful component of this relationship has been its reinforcement of the qualities of kindness and compassion within our student-athlete population," said Sullivan. "By choosing to mentor Special Olympics athletes and spend time with their families, our student-athletes are constantly reminded of and exhibit the values that will help them become productive and integrity-filled members of society.
Over 17 years, the objective of this on-going partnership has taken on different shapes at Catholic. There is no stated goal for Cardinal student-athletes each year when they embark upon our Special Olympics volunteer efforts. This partnership has evolved into a deeply rewarding way of life for Catholic Athletics. "It's who we have become and something that our student-athletes seek out to do," said Sullivan.
This relationship continues today.
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