^Emma’s reaction when we told her we were going to throw rubber duckies in the Chicago River for the Ducky Derby Fundraiser. We should have prefaced the news with “not your rubber duckies; different rubber duckies.” ;) But now that we fully understand what’s going on, we’re so happy and excited!
I’ve had some very interesting job titles in my life: professional lawnmower, sorority dishwasher, purveyor of internet inventions and, of course, blogger. (?) But easily the best job I ever had–with the exception of “Dad,” of course–was being a Special Olympics coach in college. I freaking loved that job.
Although I started as a volunteer to fulfill an obligation for a class, I sort of just kept showing up until it became official. By the time I graduated, I was a full-time therapeutic recreation counselor. Then I coached every event I could, eventually, I ran the summer camp. I even drove the bus! Like I said, it was a great, and extraordinarily fulfilling, job.
I think my time with the Special Olympics might be the most transformative of my life. In the beginning, I walked in there with hair down to my shoulders, a giant beard and absolutely no clue what I was going to do with myself after college. (re: “South Africa Mitch” if you follow along with us on Instagram Stories.) Afterward, I walked out with innumerable and invaluable life lessons, a permanent job teaching underserved children in New York, and a haircut. I’m telling you: it changed everything for me.
The Special Olympics is just the perfect charity because it changes lives. In Illinois alone, the organization helps nearly 40,000 people with intellectual disabilities to realize their potential through sports and exercise. I’ve seen first hand the transformation an athlete undergoes when they get involved in the Special Olympics, and I can’t explain just how important these activities are to them and to their families. It’s seriously the best!
This is why I was so excited to hear about the Special Olympics of Illinois’ fabulous Ducky Derby Fundraiser and wanted to use our platform to help get the word out about it. As you might imagine, organizing events for those 40,000 athletes year-round isn’t cheap. It is only through the generosity of people all around the state that the organization can make ends meet. But this is where the fun part comes in!
The 14th Annual Ducky Derby consists of over 60,000 rubber ducks being dumped off the Wabash Bridge and into the Chicago River. The first duck to the finish line wins a brand new car! The runners up get one of several prizes: $2,500 cash, an all-inclusive vacation, a Chicago weekend getaway, or tickets to Chicagoland Speedway.
The Ducky Derby commences on August 8th at 1 p.m. You can help/join the fun by “adopting a duck” for $5 and entering the race! Head over to chicagoduckrace.com to do it ahead of time, or enter in person on the big day. Every dollar raised benefits the Special Olympics of Illinois and the good your donation will do can’t be overstated. At the time of this post, 61 percent of the goal has been achieved. That leaves over 30,000 ducks left for adoption.
That’s so many ducks!
WE. NEED. YOU.
In addition to the duck dump, there will be a family festival at Pioneer Plaza with tons of fun family activities. If you have time to swing by, please say hi to Kelly, Emma, Lucy, and myself. We’ll give you a big hug for supporting such a great cause!
See you on Ducky Derby Day!