Special Olympics athletes are presenting awards to 2017 honorees, Athlete of the Year Jessica Simon and Volunteer of the Year Kayla Edwards.
Every October, Santa Barbara City and County Firefighters host the Fired Up for Special Olympics Fundraiser. It is a great opportunity for members of the community to show their support for the Special Olympians of Santa Barbara.
The local athletes’ determination and sportsmanship shine through all year at their trainings, competitions, leadership affairs and wellness programs. This fundraiser is a great celebration to recognize their hard work and dedication!
Attendees have a chance to learn more about Special Olympics Santa Barbara and their mission, while enjoying a silent and live auction, Santa Maria-style barbecue, open wine and beer bars, music, dancing and inspiring speakers.
This year’s fundraiser is focused around Special Olympics Santa Barbara Athlete of the Year, Jessica Simon. Simon has Down syndrome and underwent open heart surgery when she was just 16 months old. The 35-year-old Special Olympian has overcome adversity to achieve her goals, and she is a celebrated Global Messenger, Vice President of the Athlete Input Council, assistant coach, employee at Alpha Resource Center, singer, student at SBCC and advocate for people with special needs.
This is an exciting year for Simon—she is taking classes to earn her degree in teaching special education, traveled to China to participate in a Special Olympics Play Unified event, and she excelled in several speaking and National Anthem singing opportunities. In her free time, Simon enjoys speaking at local rallies for people with special needs.
The fundraiser dinner is also celebrating Volunteer of the Year, Kayla Edwards, who has deep roots in community involvement and service. Edwards is Santa Barbara Family YMCA’s Associate Membership Services Director, a Special Olympics Team Wellness trainer, golf and softball coach, Games Management team member and sits on the Regional Leadership Committee. Edwards is involved with everything from securing facilities, recruiting fellow coaches, fundraising and more!
“Special Olympics offers much more to our athletes than an opportunity to exercise—it’s a place for athletes with intellectual disabilities to compete, to show up for their teammates, to learn responsibility and the beauty of community,” says Gina Carbajal, Regional Director of Special Olympics Santa Barbara.
All proceeds support Special Olympics Santa Barbara and their mission to enrich the lives of athletes with intellectual disabilities through sports, education and athlete health.
For further information about this event or to purchase tickets, visit this website or contact Carbajal at 805/884-1516 ext.103.