Special Olympics and MetLife Foundation, the philanthropic arm of global insurer MetLife, announced a $1.5 million, three year international partnership to expand Special Olympics Young Athletes across Europe, the Middle East and North Africa ("EMEA"). Young Athletes is an inclusive sport and play program for children, ages 2 to 7 years old, with and without intellectual disabilities. The program develops participants' basic sport skills, such as running, kicking and throwing. It also offers families, teachers, caregivers and people from the community the opportunity to share the joy of sports and being part of a team.
"Special Olympics and MetLife Foundation have a shared commitment to building strong inclusive communities," said Special Olympics CEO Mary Davis. "MetLife Foundation's support of Young Athletes, together with its strong focus on employee engagement, encourages all children, their families and people in their community to promote respect, acceptance and inclusion for people with disabilities."
Building on the successful activation of MetLife's Community Week, MetLife employees in its EMEA region will be offered opportunities to volunteer at Young Athletes activities as part of this new partnership. In total, MetLife and MetLife Foundation's financial and community commitment will help Special Olympics programs in the region to sustainably increase participation numbers to more than 15,000 children over three years. An increase in Young Athletes participation will ensure children will have access to critical early childhood programs and develop motor, social and cognitive skills that will help them be successful in the future.
Michel Khalaf, President, MetLife EMEA and MetLife Foundation Board Member, added: "MetLife has a rich tradition of supporting the communities it serves. This partnership builds on our long-standing relationship with Special Olympics and will enable MetLife's employees to deepen their volunteering experience while helping to establish the Young Athletes initiative across our region."
About Special Olympics
Special Olympics is a global movement that unleashes the human spirit through the transformative power and joy of sports, every day around the world. We empower people with intellectual disabilities to become accepted and valued members of their communities, which leads to a more respectful and inclusive society for all. Using sports as the catalyst and programming around health and education, Special Olympics is fighting inactivity, injustice and intolerance. Founded in 1968 by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, the Special Olympics movement has grown to more than 4.5 million athletes in nearly 170 countries. With the support of more than 1.4 million coaches and volunteers, Special Olympics delivers 32 Olympic-type sports and more than 108,000 games and competitions throughout the year.
Visit Special Olympics at www.specialolympics.org. Engage with us on: Twitter @specialolympics, fb.com/specialolympics, youtube.com/specialolympicshq, instagram.com/specialolympics and specialolympicsblog.wordpress.com.
About MetLife Foundation
MetLife Foundation was created in 1976 to continue MetLife's long tradition of corporate contributions and community involvement. Since its creation, MetLife Foundation has provided more than $744 million in grants and $70 million in program-related investments to organizations addressing issues that have a positive impact in their communities. Today, the Foundation is dedicated to advancing financial inclusion, committing $200 million to accelerate progress globally.
Together with our partners, we have now helped 1.5 million people in 39 countries gain access to financial products, services, and institutions that they need to build better and more secure lives.
To learn more about MetLife Foundation, visit www.metlife.org
MetLife, Inc. (NYSE:MET), through its subsidiaries and affiliates ("MetLife"), is one of the largest life insurance companies in the world. Founded in 1868, MetLife is a global provider of life insurance, annuities, employee benefits and asset management. Serving approximately 100 million customers, MetLife has operations in nearly 50 countries and holds leading market positions in the United States, Japan, Latin America, Asia, Europe and the Middle East. For more information, visit www.metlife.com.
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