Special Olympics Healthy Athletes Program


Healthy Athletes pic

Healthy Athletes
Image: specialolympics.org

When not busy with his work as the president of Midwest Motors, Inc., Ben Ripstein devotes his time to many charitable organizations. One of the organizations Ben Ripstein supports is the Special Olympics, which provides opportunities for athletes who are disabled to participate in high-level sporting competitions.

While it is most known for its athletic events, Special Olympics also operates the Healthy Athletes program, which has provided more than 1 million free health examinations across the world and made Special Olympics a top public health organization serving those with intellectual disabilities.

People with intellectual disabilities often receive lower-quality health care, and are less commonly targeted by health education and promotion campaigns, leading to overall worse health outcomes. Diagnoses through the Healthy Athletes program have reversed curable yet significant health problems such as the loss of senses. Its massive database of health data, which focuses specifically on those with intellectual disabilities, makes finding and treating these problems easier and faster.


Special Olympics Illinois Names New Board Member

Special Olympics Illinois pic

Special Olympics Illinois
Image: soill.org

An automobile sales executive, Ben Ripstein has served as president of Midwest Motors, Inc., since 2009. A committed community volunteer, Ben Ripstein is an active supporter of Special Olympics Illinois.

Special Olympics Illinois recently announced the appointment of MAKE Corporation CEO Karen Wilson to its board of directors. She will also serve on the organization’s development committee. She has previous experience with Special Olympics Illinois, serving as co-chair and then chair of the Inspire Greatness Gala in 2014 and 2015, respectively.

MAKE Corporation maintains offices in Dallas and Chicago. Beginning as a partner in 2002, Wilson would go on to purchase the company a decade later and has overseen its successful growth as a leading provider in the professional services and staffing industry.

Her other board experience includes an appointment to the board of directors for TechServe Alliance for the past eight years, in addition to her role with VMS Professionals as its board president.

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.

Supporting Special Olympics in Illinois with the October Pumpkin Pedal

October Pumpkin Pedal pic

October Pumpkin Pedal
Image: soill.org

Turning his passion into a career, Ben Ripstein established Midwest Motors, Inc., in 2009, and he continues to expand his inventory of luxury pre-owned vehicles. In addition to managing the day-to-day operations of business headquarters in Lake Zurich, Ben Ripstein regularly finds time to support community causes such as the Special Olympics’ Illinois chapter.

As part of the global Special Olympics organization, the Illinois chapter is dedicated to providing individuals with intellectual disabilities a supportive community of peers. Now involving more than 21,000 athletes throughout the state, Special Olympics Illinois relies on the continued philanthropy of more than 40,000 volunteers and supporters to provide sports and training programs. To proactively promote a culture of tolerance and physical fitness, Special Olympics Illinois is inviting participants throughout the Chicagoland area to join the Pumpkin Pedal at Leroy Oakes County Forest Preserve on October 5, 2014. The event features 10-, 20-, and 28-mile routes on the Great Western Trail, as well as 45- and 65-mile road rides for serious bikers.

The $30 registration fee includes rest stops and emergency mechanical support, and participants will be treated to a post-ride meal with vegetarian options available. The proceeds will fund year-round training programs for Illinois athletes with intellectual disabilities. For registration information, visit soill.org.

Getting Cold with the Special Olympics

Throughout his career in auto sales, dealership owner Ben Ripstein has shared his personal time and resources with the community. Ben Ripstein stands out as a regular donor to the Special Olympics Foundation’s annual Polar Plunge in Fox Lake, Illinois.

Sponsored by GEICO insurance and the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics, the Polar Plunge sends volunteer fundraisers into the cold waters of Illinois in late winter. In 2014, Polar Plunges took place in 20 different locations statewide between February 21 and March 23. This series of events raised more than $2 million for Special Olympics athletes, thanks to the efforts of 7,300 brave and generous participants. To date, the continuing annual event has secured more than $10 million in contributions and the participation of more than 40,000 individuals.

The event is open to volunteers of any age, although plungers under 18 must submit written permission from their parents and a signed liability waiver. All participants must raise a minimum of $75 to support their plunge. Each plunger receives a sweatshirt and admission to the event’s official Post-Plunge Party, as well as eligibility to receive special prizes, based on the amounts of funds he or she raises.