NEWARK, N.J., Oct. 7, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Further strengthening its commitment to diversity and inclusion, the PSEG Foundation has granted $200,000 to Special Olympics New Jersey (SONJ) to support their Play Unified. Live Unified. initiative.
The two-year grant supports SONJ's Play Unified School Partnership, which provides elementary, middle and high schools with training, equipment and technical assistance to implement inclusive sports, education and social experiences. The goal is to help build self-confidence and provide all students with an equal opportunity to participate in athletic, co-curricular and recreational activities.
"This extension of the relationship between PSEG and Special Olympics New Jersey is built on the shared vision of celebrating diversity within communities and connecting students with opportunities to spur change," said Ellen Lambert, President, PSEG Foundation.
"Special Olympics New Jersey is excited about expanding our partnership with PSEG following the success of the 2014 Special Olympics USA Games," said Heather Anderson, President and CEO of Special Olympics New Jersey. "PSEG's support allows us to create more awareness in schools than ever before as we strive to make acceptance, inclusion and unity an integral part of every child's education, both on and off the playing field."
By teaming up with PSEG over the next two years, approximately 30 schools throughout the state will receive support to create sustainable inclusive youth leadership, social and sports opportunities. The Play Unified. Live Unified. program offers a combination of effective interventions that equip young people with tools and training to create athletic, classroom and community experiences that promote inclusion, combat stereo-types, eliminate hurtful language and foster healthy lifestyles and friendships.
"Students with disabilities gain an enormous amount of confidence from unified play. They are no longer a person with a disability, but rather an athlete who is involved in an activity. Gaining this confidence and experience, they become part of the school community," said Brett Scully, Washington Park School, Play Unified. Live Unified. club adviser and coach. "Without programs like Play Unified. Live Unified., students may never be exposed to different situations that will eventually lead to their becoming leaders."
"Kids with disabilities never really get the chance to play on a school's sport team, but Unified Sports gives kids a chance to play and have fun. It also betters both the kids with disabilities and kids without disabilities because it gives the kids social interaction skills and teaches us respect. Unified sports is an amazing opportunity and I love to do it!" Ashley, Unified Partner, Hamilton West High School, Hamilton, N.J.
PSEG was a Founding Partner of the 2014 Special Olympics USA Games and presenting sponsor of the Project UNIFY Youth Summit, which brought together students with and without disabilities from across the country. They participated in a weeklong series of workshops and networking activities that focused on inclusive youth leadership, education and service learning.
Special Olympics of New Jersey
Special Olympics New Jersey provides year-round sports training and athletic competition in 24 Olympic-type sports for more than 25,000 children and adults with intellectual disabilities, completely free of charge, giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes and the community. Visit www.sonj.org for more information.
The PSEG Foundation (501c3) is the philanthropic arm of Public Service Enterprise Group (NYSE:PEG). The Foundation invests in programs that align with our giving focus areas: Sustainable Neighborhoods, STEM Education, Safety and Preparedness and PSEG Employee Engagement/Volunteerism. The PSEG family of companies also provides funding to improve the quality of life in the communities we serve. Through our corporate giving, we support dinners and other events across our service and operating territories, as well as sponsorships for sports, arts and entertainment. Public Service Enterprise Group (NYSE: PEG) is a publicly traded diversified energy company with annual revenues of approximately $11 billion. Its operating subsidiaries are: Public Service Electric and Gas Company (PSE&G), PSEG Power, and PSEG Long Island.
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SOURCE PSEG Foundation