Special Olympics Wisconsin, in collaboration with the Milwaukee Bucks, Milwaukee Brewers, Milwaukee Admirals, and Green Bay Packers, announced OUR TEAM—a first-of-its-kind initiative to celebrate inclusion across sport—at a press conference Wednesday, April 6, at Fiserv Forum.
OUR TEAM is designed to showcase the programming Special Olympics Wisconsin currently makes available to statewide athletes with intellectual disabilities and, through awareness and fundraising efforts associated with the new initiative, celebrate athletes of all abilities in all sports in communities across Wisconsin.
“Today we are leveling the playing field for all athletes and sports fans in our state,” Special Olympics Wisconsin Interim President & CEO Don Wigington said. “OUR TEAM signifies the opportunity to play the game, to be a part of a team, to experience the thrill of victory, to celebrate the spirit of competition. Together, with support from our incredible OUR TEAM partners, we will form a collective voice to promote the principles of inclusion, diversity, and equity.”
Wigington, CFO at Children’s Wisconsin and SOWI Board Chair Marc Cadieux, SOWI athlete Cindy Bentley, and Green Bay Packers offensive lineman Elgton Jenkins addressed the audience of nearly 50 in the atrium of Fiserv Forum—home of the World Champion Milwaukee Bucks. Representatives from the four professional sports organizations were also in attendance, as were mascots Bernie Brewer, Bango, and Roscoe.
“We are incredibly fortunate to have the Bucks, Brewers, Admirals, and Packers represented on the Special Olympics Wisconsin Board of Directors,” Cadieux said. “Special Olympics Wisconsin is the authority of inclusion. By eliminating barriers and providing inclusive opportunity, Special Olympics Wisconsin brings visibility to sports for all people in Wisconsin, regardless of ability or disability. OUR TEAM amplifies that mission.”
“Throughout my sports journey, from growing up in Mississippi to being drafted by the Packers, I’ve been fortunate to have the support of many teammates, mentors and coaches along the way,” said Packers offensive lineman Elgton Jenkins. “Being involved in sports can teach you so much about life and being part of a team offers so many valuable lessons that can be applied off the field, too. OUR TEAM will bring visibility to the principles of inclusion, diversity and equity on and off the playing field in Wisconsin. I am happy to help share the mission of Special Olympics Wisconsin.”
This initiative is announced in coordination with the 50th Anniversary of Special Olympics Wisconsin. OUR TEAM, with support from the Milwaukee Bucks, Milwaukee Brewers, Milwaukee Admirals, and Green Bay Packers, sets Special Olympics Wisconsin on a trajectory to grow engagement and funding with all communities it serves—not only this year but for the next 50 years.
“The work has just begun,” Wigington said. “Join us now. Support OUR TEAM. Celebrate sports for all and help us create a future of inclusion in Wisconsin.”
See Cindy’s story below.