First Group of Recipients Selected!
Chicago, IL (June 1, 2012) – Variety the Children’s Charity of Illinois has selected its first Live to Achieve grant recipients. The program, launched earlier this year, enables kids with disabilities in Illinois to pursue their dreams of sporting excellence. With generous support from the Fink Foundation, Variety of Illinois’ Live to Achieve provides grants of $1,000 to eligible applicants for assistance with travel, training and other costs necessary to help pave the way for young disabled athletes. “Variety of Illinois is excited to announce our first Live to Achieve grant recipients, and thanks the Fink Foundation for helping us give these amazing kids, and more, the opportunity reach new levels through sports,” said Amy Key, president, Variety of Illinois. “Helping children with disabilities reach their full potential in life is a tenet of our mission – our Live to Achieve program is just one way we are doing that.”
The first group of Live to Achieve recipients were selected based on their personality and life goals in addition to athletic determination and drive. They include:
Samantha Smolka, 16, of Hometown, IL:
She has retinitis pigmentosa and is visually impaired. Samantha does a variety of sports including swimming and track and field. She is the only athlete with disabilities in her high school. She holds nine national records with the National Junior Disabilities Division, and she plans to use the grant funds to travel to the National Championships in Mesa. Samantha’s ultimate goal is the 2016 Paralympics in swimming. Following competition she hopes to coach sports and teach special education.
Romero Sortor, 16, of Crest Hill, IL:
He has Spina Bifida. Romero is a wheelchair basketball and wheelchair softball athlete as well as an overall good student. Romero is aiming to go to college at University of Wisconsin Whitewater to play wheelchair basketball. He has been named to the Junior All-Star team and recognized for his ability, motivation, and attitude. He is seeking the grant funds to enable him to attend various tournaments and camps throughout the 2012 season.
Hailey Daniscewicz, 20, of Evanston, IL:
She is an amputee athlete. Hailey is a student at Northwestern University. She had been volunteering with Dare2Tri, Chicago’s Paratriathalon Club, when a coach told her she should compete in a triathlon. Hailey soon discovered a hidden passion and talent for it. Following her recently placing second in her division in nationals, Hailey is hoping to make the World Championship team this year. She plans to use the grand funds to pave the way with expenses.
Click here to learn more about Live to Achieve Grant Program