Welcome to Special Olympics Chicago/Special Children’s Charities: Where It All Began

Special Olympics Chicago holds a special place in history as the birthplace of the global Special Olympics movement. Since our inception in 1968 with the first Special Olympic games and then with the founding of Special Children’s Charities in 1969, we have been dedicated to empowering individuals with intellectual disabilities through inclusive sports, arts, and music programs.

Through the support of Special Children’s Charities, the fundraising arm of Special Olympics Chicago, we are the only program that provides services beyond athletics. Our programs create a nurturing environment where participants can showcase their abilities, build confidence, and form lifelong friendships. Join us on this incredible journey of growth, joy, and personal achievement.

Discover Our
 Life-Changing Programs

At Special Olympics Chicago/Special Children’s Charities, we offer a range of programs designed to meet the unique needs and interests of our participants. Whether you’re an aspiring athlete, an artist at heart, or transitioning into adulthood, we have a program just for you.

are you ready to unlock your potential?

To get started, please fill out this form to tell us more about you and what programs you are interested in.


Are you passionate about empowering individuals with intellectual disabilities and shaping their lives through sports and other programming?

If you are a Chicago Public Schools teacher with a group of students interested in intramurals, athletic competitions, and/or art and music therapy, please fill out the form below.

find a program near you​​

Discover the Special Olympics Chicago/Special Children’s Charities program closest to you! Simply enter your location below and our interactive map will show you the programs available in your area. We can’t wait to welcome you into our vibrant community.

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Ready to embark on an incredible journey of inclusion, growth, and camaraderie? Sign up below to become part of the Special Olympics Chicago family! By joining, you’ll receive the latest updates on events, success stories, and volunteer opportunities.


Special Olympics Chicago/Special Children’s Charities provides year-round athletic sports training and competitions, as well as participation in our life-enriching educational programs on and off the field. We support thousands of athletes, all of whom reside in Chicago’s 77 neighborhoods, with 70% living at or below the poverty level. Want to learn more about us or how you can support us? Click below.

Are you ready to unlock your potential?

Fill out this form!


Our athletic programs go beyond the ordinary, serving as a gateway to empowerment, achievement, and lifelong camaraderie. We offer intramurals, athletic competitions, and other diverse programs for future athletes (preK and K), CPS K-12 students, and adult individuals.
“Come out to join! All the sports are very, very good. It’s fun.” -Michael Johnson

Express Yourself

Ignite your artistic spirit and get active through our vibrant programs. Weekly art & music group therapy is offered in CPS schools with a licensed therapist at no cost. Through our Adventure Club, families are encouraged to try new activities like archery, kayaking, and rock climbing. We also offer virtual programs including cooking and improv.
“The therapist really works to reach my students at their level and engage them through music. I see an increase in communication skills and independent living skills.” -Malka Frazin

Building A Bright Future After 22

Our After 22 program is designed specifically for individuals with intellectual disabilities transitioning into adulthood. We provide comprehensive support and training to help participants achieve their goals, get education in a college setting, explore our vocational training programs, discover professional opportunities like jobs and internships, and engage with their communities.

“When I was younger, I wanted to be a dancer and a singer. Now I want to be a teacher. I’m the first one in my family to go to college and I feel great.” -Delia Jones.