An automobile sales executive by profession, Ben Ripstein upholds a dedication to sharing his resources with the community. Ben Ripstein stands out as an active supporter of Special Olympics Illinois, which sponsors the Young Athletes program.
Special Olympics Illinois offers the Young Athletes program to children aged 2 years to 7 years. Participation is open to children with intellectual disabilities as well as to their peers, so that all children can have the opportunity to strengthen their bodies and develop motor skills. Participants also work on developing cognitive and social skills, while learning about the Special Olympics organization and the benefits that it provides to athletes.
Young Athletes leaders begin by teaching foundational coordination and motor tracking skills. Athletes develop gross motor control in walking, running, jumping, and balancing, as well as the ability to throw, catch, kick, and otherwise manipulate sports equipment. Once the athletes have refined these skills, they learn to apply them in the context of races and other developmentally appropriate sports games.
Children who graduate from the Young Athletes program then have the opportunity to transition into standard Special Olympics activities. These activities allow the athletes to further develop their abilities as well as their confidence and sense of belonging in the world of sports.