**AS A PARENT OF A SPECIAL NEEDS CHILD**
We need your help and that of our athletes, families, volunteers and supporters. Special Olympics is trying to mobilize as many people as possible to contact their Congressional representatives about spending cuts in Congress that would deeply affect our organization.
The U.S. House of Representatives plans to cut $100 billion from the Federal budget, and the house may vote on this bill as early as Thursday, Feb. 17. The Appropriations leadership proposes to eliminate Special Olympics Education Funding (Project UNIFY) programs, and will eliminate or drastically cut many programs of the CDC that will impact Healthy Athletes funding.
Send a message to your local congressman telling them, “As a constituent in your district/state, I urge you to VOTE NO on the House Appropriations CR Bill for 2011.”
WHAT CAN YOU DO:
1. Call your Congressional representative. Visit www.congress.org for contact information and see the talking points below to help you to craft your message. You can also call the House Operator ( ). Once connected, identify yourself as a constituent and ask to speak to the Legislative Assistant in change of national service and education issues. (Please note that given the severity of the cuts proposed by the House, you may experience some difficulty calling the Capitol.)
2. Go to www.contactingthecongress.org and send a message to your local congressman telling them, “As a constituent in your district/state, I urge you to VOTE NO on the House Appropriations CR Bill for 2011.” Please feel free to share a brief personal story or note as to why you do not want them to support this bill.
3. Go to the Special Olympics http://www.facebook.com/specialolympics.socal and share our post about the cuts with your friends. You can also e-mail this post to your friends and family and urge them to speak out. facebook page
4. If you use Twitter, you can tweet @ your . Almost all of them have a presence on Twitter, which means that because it is a public forum, you can guarantee someone monitors the account. So tweet @ your ! Use this website to find your member – http://tweetcongress.org/members/ and send a tweet @ them to say “As your constituent, I urge you to VOTE NO on the House Appropriations CR Bill for 2011.”
5. Send an e-mail to your friends and family asking them to support you. Below are links to our videos that can help tell the story about the impact of Health Athletes and Project UNIFY on our athletes and community:
a. Video of athlete Dustin Plunkett and the experience with Healthy Athletes that saved his life: http://www.youtube.com/SpecialOlympicsSoCal#p/u/5/RHFmOoFgdZQ
b. Video of School Games, which is part of Project UNIFY: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZJD9VeJ-aAs&feature=player_embedded
TALKING POINTS FOR CALLING YOUR ELECTED REPRESENTATIVE:
• Good morning / afternoon.
• I am calling to encourage a “NO” vote on the House Continuing Resolution as currently proposed.
• My family and friends share your goal of balancing the budget and reducing the deficit and were pleased that this Congress has vowed to make the difficult decisions.
• Special Olympics Healthy Athletes have provided more than one million free health screenings, and Special Olympics education initiatives are in thousands of schools across the US and have engaged over 600,000 young people.
• In Southern California , we have 3,000 students in our schools who are involved in Special Olympics programs. For many this is the first time that they have experience the life-changing effects of Special Olympics. Cuts to the Project UNIFY program will drastically affect current and future Special Education students.
• The negative impact of fewer federal government partnerships with programs like Special Olympics will have an immediate impact on our communities’ education activities.
• We understand how difficult it will be to vote against the measure, but you were sent to Washington to make the tough decisions and to do the right thing.
• However, the proposed Congressional Resolution is an arbitrary, hastily-crafted measure with no evidence or hearings about its impact.
• Thank you very much for your time.