Special Olympics Illinois – The Young Athletes Program

Special Olympics Illinois pic

Special Olympics Illinois
Image: soill.org

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.

The Unique Birdcage Lift

Midwest Motors Inc pic

Midwest Motors Inc
Image: midwestmotors.com

In 2009, Ben Ripstein launched Midwest Motors Inc., an auto dealership with a comprehensive selection of vehicles, including luxury, exotic, and classic cars. A focal point of the multilevel dealership is a unique working birdcage elevator, an original feature of the furniture store that that was there before Ben Ripstein repurposed the building.

In the late 1880s and early 1900s, Otis Lifts, regarded as the world’s largest elevator manufacturer, introduced a birdcage elevator. Innovative in style and system, the birdcage lift was the company’s first safety elevator powered by electricity. Prior to this model, water or steam served as the power source of Otis lifts. This new electric elevator operated with a manual handle system.

The descriptor “birdcage” comes from the 360 degree view the lift offers its passengers. Typically made of metal, birdcage cars may be either round or square in shape, and are characterized by their highly ornate, art nouveau style. Newer birdcage elevators have the addition of glass panels in the enclosure to provide extra safety.

Team Breakthrough Fundraiser for American Brain Tumor Association

Team Breakthrough pic

Team Breakthrough
Image: hope.abta.org

Ben Ripstein is an accomplished businessman and president of Midwest Motors, Inc. Aside from his work with Midwest Motors, where he oversees all daily tasks and purchases, Ben Ripstein also supports the American Brain Tumor Association.

The American Brain Tumor Association is a national organization with over forty years of dedication to funding research and assisting those with brain tumors. The organization hosts a variety of fundraisers and events to help with this goal, and as a national association, many volunteer options are available to anyone who wishes to become involved. One such option is a fundraising event called “Team Breakthrough.”

A marathon training and racing event, “Team Breakthrough” allows participants to create a team to train for their choice of endurance events nationwide. “Team Breakthrough” is a fundraising challenge, and so the team must raise a minimum of $1000 during their training and before their participation in the run. The money goes toward a fundraising goal that changes from year to year, but is usually around $50,000, and supports research and awareness for brain tumors. The runners receive a t-shirt signaling their achievement and support for the cause.

A Day at the (Duck) Derby


Duck Derby pic

Duck Derby
Image: duckrace.com

Ben Ripstein is the president of Midwest Motors, Inc., a company with consistently good reviews and an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau. A car enthusiast and active volunteer, Ben Ripstein has participated in several polar plunges to support the Illinois Special Olympics.

The Illinois Special Olympics hosts more than 179 games each year with 19 different sports offered, from alpine skiing to volleyball. Along with accepting donations from various outside sources, such as the polar plunge (a fundraising challenge where participants jump into a lake in the middle of winter to raise money for various charities), the Illinois Special Olympics also hosts events to support the games and the athletes. The annual Windy City Rubber Ducky Derby is a consistently popular option among volunteers.

The Windy City Rubber Ducky Derby is a yearly event taking place in the summer, where people are invited to “adopt” a rubber duck and race it down the Chicago River. Participants can adopt as many ducks as they like, and in fact the Illinois Special Olympics encourages them to do so, as all money raised goes toward funding the games and training for the athletes. The race also ends with the winners receiving some hefty prizes, all donated by various businesses. Past prizes have been cars, vacation vouchers, and VIP NASCAR tickets.

Two Great Places to Visit in Antigua

Stingray City pic

Stingray City
Image: tripadvisor.com

In his role as president of Midwest Motors Inc., Ben Ripstein is responsible for buying all cars and overseeing the sales department. In his leisure time, Ben Ripstein enjoys traveling and has visited many international destinations, such as Antigua, Guatemala.

Visitors to Guatemala who find themselves in Antigua have no shortage of interesting sights and sounds to take in when combing the city and its surrounding areas. For those looking for specific suggestions, here are two great activities to consider upon a visit to Antigua.

1. Stingray City
Just a short speedboat trip away is Stingray City, where visitors can watch Southern Rays feed and swim near the coral reef. The pristine water gives a crystal clear view of the stingrays, who bury themselves in sand when hunting for food. These stingrays are friendly towards humans, and have sometimes been called the puppy dogs of the ocean. They love attention, and some will even allow a person to pet them.

2. The Saint Catalina Arch
The Arco Santa Catalina (Saint Catalina Arch), on Fifth Avenue North, was once a convent. The number of nuns there grew so large that the administrators sought expansion, purchasing the property across the street. To allow access to both structures, the administration built the arch connecting the two. In modern times, the building operates as a hotel and restaurant, but maintains much of the historic architecture and charm that serve as an homage to its origins.

Volunteer Opportunities with the American Brain Tumor Association

American Brain Tumor Association pic

American Brain Tumor Association
Image: abta.org

Ben Ripstein is the president of Midwest Motors Inc, where he oversees all of the company’s daily activities. In his off time, Ben Ripstein supports the American Brain Tumor Association (ABTA). One way to show your support for the ABTA is to volunteer for the organization.

There are a few different ways for people to volunteer with the ABTA. Volunteers often help out with events, providing help with set-up, clean up, and other activities to help the event run smoothly. For example, the organization regularly requires volunteers for their Breakthrough for Brain Tumors 5k Run and Walks. For these events, volunteers receive training and guidance from ABTA staff.

Volunteers hoping to take on a larger role can organize their own events for the ABTA. The organization welcomes everything from small activities to large events for their ability to raise funds and awareness.

Lastly, the ABTA often needs volunteers to help educate the public on brain tumors and the ABTA. Sometimes volunteers meet with cancer patients and their families to educate them on the organization’s resources. The ABTA also has volunteers distribute pamphlets and booklets to libraries, doctors’ offices, clinics, and hospitals.

To learn more about the American Brain Tumor Association and how you can get involved, visit abta.org.

Chicago Bulls Eyeing Clippers’ Blake Griffin

Blake Griffin pic

Blake Griffin
Image: espn.com

Ben Ripstein serves as the president of Midwest Motors Inc., where he is responsible for buying all cars and overseeing the sales department. When he is not working, Ben Ripstein enjoys following the Chicago Bulls, his favorite basketball team.

The Bulls currently have their eye on five-time NBA All-Star Blake Griffin. Power forward for the Los Angeles Clippers, Blake Griffin’s time in Los Angeles is coming to an end. The Oklahoma City Thunder, Orlando Magic, Boston Celtics, and Chicago Bulls have all expressed interest in the impressive player, as have other teams. One rumor reports the Bulls are trading both Nikola Mirotic and Taj Gibson to get their hands on Griffin. While the team hopes to acquire him before the trade deadline in early 2017, they are also willing to pursue him during free agency later in the year.

In the recent 2015-2016 season free agency, the Bulls managed to pick up Dwayne Wade and Rajon Rondo. Along with Jimmy Butler, the three superstars will be tasked with carrying the team forward in the coming years.

If the Chicago Bulls manage to snag Blake Griffin, the move will go a long way in cementing a prosperous future for the team.