Courtesy of SOMT

Born from love and respect for all humanity, Special Olympics Montana (SOMT) is celebrating its 50th Anniversary!   

“This is the time to honor a movement that has transformed the lives of people with intellectual disabilities,” says SOMT President/CEO Rhonda McCarty. “This movement exists only because Montanans give generously of their time and resources. We’ve been in this together for 50 years and look forward to the next 50 years of helping athletes achieve their hopes and dreams as we create communities of inclusion.” 

Using sports as a catalyst to include and empower those with intellectual disabilities, more than 10,000 athletes have participated in SOMT over the past 50 years. Athletes have found their voices, become leaders and self-advocates, are gainfully employed, and make meaningful contributions to their communities. 

As masterful teachers, athletes help all of us become our best selves. Through Special Olympics we have come to understand when we lift up others, we lift up ourselves, and all of humanity is better served.

Kandi Christophersen, the 2019 SOMT Athlete of the Year (Billings), says of her experiences: “Special Olympics believed in me. Now I believe in myself. It’s not just about being good at sports. Special Olympics has helped me be the person I want to be.” 

As a grassroots movement that is athlete-centered, family-based, volunteer-driven, and donor-supported, SOMT is presently in more than 80 communities across Montana, serving more than 3,400 athletes annually. Through sports, health, education, and leadership programs, athletes are healthier, happier, and are finding their rightful place in our communities.  

“During this pandemic and economic crisis, we believe SOMT athletes are a beacon of hope,” says McCarty. “They remind us to persevere. They remind us to be kind and considerate. They remind us that when we play unified, we live unified. They remind us that when we value, respect, and include each other, we become stronger and more resilient—qualities we need more than ever to overcome these extraordinarily difficult times.” 

For more information about how SOMT is celebrating their 50th Anniversary and keeping athletes engaged during the COVID-19 pandemic, visit somt.org