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Our Community Focus

Bike the Bridges

May 09, 2015 08:52AM ● By Elena Hutslar
Special Olympics Northern California (SONC) is a sports and competition program for 17,777 children and adults with intellectual disabilities who compete year-round in 156 competitions for 11 different sports. Special Olympics athletes participate at no cost to the athletes or their families, and this program takes place evenings and weekends.

 Founded 20 years ago in Lafayette and headquartered in Pleasant Hill, Special Olympics Northern California currently serves 47 counties, from the Oregon border to Monterey, Kings, and Tulare counties and is part of the global organization of Special Olympics. Athletes do not need previous sports experience, and volunteer coaches provide training and guide them in practice and at competitions. Special Olympics requires the extraordinary support and time of 17,140 volunteers and volunteer coaches.

Special Olympics is about more than just sports – it’s training for life. Athletes build meaningful friendships with their teammates, coaches, and volunteers. The social skills developed transcend the playing field to produce athletes who are productive members of society.

SONC also provides Special Olympics in more than 300 K-12 public schools through its Schools Partnership Program, which positively impacts 36,560 general and special education students. Special Olympics assists schools in initiating Unified Sports – where students with and without disabilities compete on the same team and other sports during the school day. General education and special education students work together to create climates of inclusion, acceptance, and respect on campuses and communities. 

Financial support comes almost exclusively from individuals, organizations, corporations, and events. Special Olympics Northern California hosts a variety of fun events that the community is encouraged to attend, such as the annual Bike the Bridges, fundraisers at local restaurants, golf outings, bocce tournaments, and more.

To find an event, register an athlete, or become a volunteer, visit or join us at