Special Olympics 2014 USA Games – 1 Hour Special on TV!

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Logo for national SO

Special Olympics 2014 USA Games logo

On June 30, a first in the history of Special Olympics USA Games will occur and we want you to be a part of it! Thanks to USA Games Founding Partners WWE and 21st Century Fox, the first-ever nationally televised show recapping a USA Games will be broadcast at 7PM ET on FOX Sports 1. Arizona viewers: remember that this is Eastern Daylight Time and we are on Mountain Standard Time, which will be 4:00 PM. Check your on-screen guide for availability.

“Celebrating Champions” is a one-hour television event that will celebrate the Games, highlight competition, ceremonies, special events, Special Olympics initiatives, and most importantly, will show the Games through the eyes of the athletes themselves.

We aren’t sure whether our own Gold Medal in Golf winner Marcus Sanders will be on the show or not, but we hope that some from the Arizona delegation make the final cut!

Adults with Developmental Disabilities

Silver and GOLD Medal winners at Special Olympics USA

The show will be aired on FOX Sports 1 at 7PM ET on June 30 (4PM in Arizona). Viewers can visit www.foxsports1.com<http://www.foxsports1.com/> and enter their zip code and cable provider to find their local FOX Sports 1 channel number and/or availability. In the Verde Valley on DirecTV your FOX Sports 1 channel is 219, on SuddenLink it is 47 or 247.

See Marcus with his golf partner Mike in the lime green shirts at the ceremony where they won the Gold Medal!

It’s going to be an amazing show! Whether you were at the Games and will be reliving the excitement, or seeing them for the first time, we promise you everyone will see something new and inspiring when you see the USA Games through the eyes of our athletes and families.

Be sure to watch this phenomenal teaser video for the show: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=664470913606282

Gold Medal at Special Olympics USA for Rainbow Acres Golf Team!

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We are SO excited at Rainbow Acres today!

Gold and Silver Medalists

Marcus, Mike, Sandy, Thys and Thys – Sandy’s brother and nephew


As you probably know by now, Rancher Marcus Sanders was chosen to compete on the Arizona Special Olympics USA Golf Team, and Director of Operations and Staff Development Mike Kowalski was his partner in New Jersey this week for the National Games. After three days of play, this is the message Mike sent Wednesday afternoon:

“On Tuesday Marcus and I shot a 130. It was very hot and very humid and that really affected our play (mine more than his–Marcus is playing GREAT!)

Today was much nicer weather and we played much much better, shooting a 110. Our cumulative score is 367.

We do not know where we stand as far as placing. We will find out tomorrow when awards are announced at about 10:00.

Marcus did extremely well over the three day tournament. Many thanks go to Sandy Koonce, Mike Bishop and Heather Risk for their work with Marcus. Also, big thanks go to Vistal Golf Club in Phoenix for all the rounds of golf it donated to our team.”


Today we learned that Marcus and Mike won the Gold Medal for First Place!

Adults with Developmental Disabilities

Silver and GOLD Medal winners at Special Olympics USA


Sandy Koonce, a Caregiver at Rainbow Acres and our Coach for Special Olympics, was able to go along as the golf coach for the Arizona team, and she is really happy! Not only did her team from Rainbow Acres win the Gold, her brother and his son Thys, from Texas, won the Silver Medal for Second Place in Golf!

Join us in celebrating this very special occasion!

Off to Special Olympics Golf USA!

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Special Olympics team

Sandy Koonce, Marcus Sanders and Mike Kowalski ready for the trip to New Jersey

This afternoon the Rainbow Acres Special Olympics golf team representing Arizona at the USA Games in New Jersey next week got all their luggage and their clubs together and packed up into a van for a trip to the airport in Phoenix! Marcus was given a Lucky Hat to wear when possible, and they will have matching team wear, thanks to many generous donors and supporters of Marcus and Rainbow Acres. We so appreciate you!

Rancher Marcus Sanders was chosen to play in the national games, along with his partner, Director of Operations and Staff Development Mike Kowalski. Coach Sandy Koonce also makes the trip to provide tips and cheer them on! The Arizona delegation will be staying at The College of New Jersey in Trenton. The opening ceremonies will be held on Sunday at the Prudential Center, and the golf tournaments begin Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday mornings with a shotgun start at 8:30 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time. You can be sure that we will be sending prayers and best wishes from Rainbow Acres!

The Awards Ceremony will be held on Thursday, June 18 at Special Olympics Town from 3:00-9:00 p.m. EDT, with the Closing Ceremonies on Friday at TCNJ & Sun National Bank Arena at 7:00 p.m. A busy and exciting week!

Here is some additional information:

The Opening Ceremony will be streamed live on https://www.2014specialolympics.org/. Ceremony goes from 4-6:30pm ET on Sunday, June 15.

There is also a phone app for current updates on USA Games.  The App is available for download from the event website at https://www.2014specialolympics.org, by pointing your mobile browser to http://m.core-apps.com/2014usagames as well as searching for Special Olympics in the Apple App Store or Google Play on your device.  This app may be more applicable to individuals attending USA Games, but please check it out!

Special Olympian

The cap says “Live Lucky” and has a four-leaf clover on the front.


Mike Kowalski featured in local newspaper

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One of our local newspapers, the Camp Verde Buglefeatured Rainbow Acres’ Director of Ranch Operations recently.

Mike Kowalski and his wife Kelli are integral to the day-to-day running of our special place for adults with developmental disabilities. Enjoy the article!


Director of Operations

Mike Kowalski, Director of Ranch Operations and Staff Development

Kearny Nebraska Mission Group Helps Rainbow Acres!

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Rainbow Acres was blessed with a hard-working mission team from the First Baptist Church of Kearny, Nebraska this week! This group of adults and teens drove to Arizona and provided labor on two projects that we have had on hold. And they really worked! Here is a photo of the group at the site of one of their ambitious and much-appreciated projects.

Church group helps Rainbow

Mission Team from First Baptist Church of Kearny, Nebraska



The group finished the Memory Walk block retaining wall and concrete path, which will provide another safe walkway connecting the office building with the rest of our community, especially the greenhouses, barn, apartments and Health and Wellness Center. It also allows Ranchers easier access to the Columbarium and plaques in honor or memory of individuals and organizations that have made a difference to this special place, and to the Glory Hill meditation area.



Sidewalk completed

Memory Walk finished by Kearny FBC Mission Team


Another big project the Kearny group completed was the construction of a new porch on the west end of the Worden Lifelong Learning Center, which will provide shade and protection from rain and snow for those entering the building. Since the Learning Center houses the computer lab, Fine Arts Painting Studio, KOTR radio station, a classroom and the Clavinova Connection instruments by Yamaha, as well as the mail distribution room and lending library, it gets a lot of use in our Rainbow community. New drainage and concrete work had been finished earlier by staff, and a new door had been installed by the good graces of a local contractor, so that our Learning Center main entrance is looking great!



Church team builds porch

Shady porch for the Learning Center

Thank You First Baptist Church of Kearny for your faithful work in our ministry for adults with developmental disabilities!

Special Olympics National Games – Golf

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Special Olympics Golf

Mike, Heather and Marcus with new matching golf bags

Rainbow Acres is so proud of Rancher Marcus Sanders, who will go to New Jersey in mid-June to participate in the National Special Olympics Golf Event!

Marcus and his golfing partner, Mike Kowalski, will be accompanied by their coach, Sandy Koonce, who has been a Caregiver at Rainbow Acres for 22 years, when they hit the links at the National Games.

On Monday May 19, Phoenix TV’s Fox affiliate aired a profile on Marcus and another Special Olympian teammate from Arizona. Here’s the video: