Today, House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) and Rep. Peter King (R-NY) will reintroduce the Eunice Kennedy Shriver Act. The legislation, which passed the House in 2010 with broad bipartisan support and will be reintroduced later today, honors the legacy of Eunice Kennedy Shriver and supports people with intellectual disabilities and their families. The Eunice Kennedy Shriver Act would reauthorize the Special Olympics Sport and Empowerment Act and authorize the Department of Education to make grants to the Best Buddies organization to support the expansion and development of mentoring programs for people with intellectual disabilities.
"I'm pleased I could join my colleagues in the House and Senate in reintroducing this bipartisan legislation today, which will help improve the quality of life for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and provide opportunities for full participation," said House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD). "Eunice Kennedy Shriver was a lifelong public servant and tireless advocate for millions of people with disabilities and their families. This bill will honor her legacy and reaffirm our commitment to enhancing every person's ability to reach their full potential. I thank Special Olympics and Best Buddies organizations for their dedication to improving the quality of life for people with disabilities, and I'm proud to join them and my colleagues in Congress in support of that mission."
"We need to make sure that those with intellectual disabilities are provided programs that will enhance their development and employment opportunities. The Eunice Kennedy Shriver Act will do just that," said Rep. Peter King (R-NY).
"Special Olympics has been a trusted service delivery partner of U.S. Government for more than 12 years. And we've earned the support of legislative leaders like Senators Harkin and Blunt and Congressmen King and Hoyer because they know ours is a cost-effective, high-impact, public-private partnership that delivers," said Timothy Shriver, Special Olympics Chairman and CEO. "In terms of health, the federal support we've received has been leveraged against private dollars and a volunteer corps of healthcare practitioners to provide more than 1.4 million critical health screenings to people with intellectual disabilities. In terms of our schools, we provide programming that has been proven to reduce bullying, increase acceptance and friendships, and create more welcoming school environments that help our kids thrive academically and socially."
"We are immensely grateful to Representatives Peter King and Steny Hoyer for their leadership in supporting the Eunice Kennedy Shriver Act, which funds education, employment, and health programs vital to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities," said Anthony K. Shriver, Best Buddies International Founder and Chairman. "It is our hope that even more leaders in Washington will be moved and inspired by the boundless potential of our Special Olympics athletes and Best Buddies ambassadors."
Eunice Kennedy Shriver founded and influenced the development of Special Olympics and Best Buddies. For over 40 years, Special Olympics has encouraged skill development, sharing, courage, and confidence through year-round sports training and athletic competition for children and adults with intellectual disabilities. Similarly, since 1989, Best Buddies has enhanced the lives of people with intellectual disabilities by providing opportunities for 1-to-1 friendships and integrated employment.