WAYNE, N.J., June 5, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- With the start of the 2014 Special Olympics USA Games just over a week away, Toys"R"Us® employees throughout the tri-state area in stores, its headquarters in Wayne, NJ and its distribution center in Flanders, NJ are ready to #CheerOnAChampion helping Special Olympics athletes go for the gold as volunteers for the "Games of Welcome and Acceptance."
"At Toys"R"Us, we love kids, and are honored to serve as the Presenting Sponsor of the first-ever Young Athletes Festival to provide opportunities for children, and their families, to take part in Special Olympics' Young Athletes Program," said Hank Mullany, President, Toys"R"Us, U.S. "We are committed to giving back to the communities we serve, and our employees have been counting down the days for over a year to welcome these inspiring athletes to our own home state. We're excited to watch the festivities unfold in the days ahead."
Company Highlights Achievements of Future Special Olympics Stars at the Young Athletes Festival
Toys"R"Us was the first Founding Partner of the 2014 Special Olympics USA Games with a $1 million grant from the Toys"R"Us Children's Fund, a public charity affiliated with the company. The company is the Presenting Sponsor of the first-ever Young Athletes Festival at the 2014 USA Games, which will provide opportunities for children ages 2-7, and their families, to take part in the Special Olympics' Young Athletes Program. This inclusive, innovative play program for children with and without intellectual disabilities helps kids develop critical early cognitive, social and motor skills and introduces them to the world of sports.
Each day throughout the Festival, Toys"R"Us employees will serve as volunteer staff at Special Olympics New Jersey's Sports Complex in Lawrenceville. Employees will facilitate games and activities for children and their families, as well as serve as hosts, escorting participants throughout the Festival. Young Athletes and their families can experience carnival games that help kids develop catching, tossing, balancing, running and kicking skills that they need to participate in developmental sports like soccer, basketball and bike riding, at the competitive level of Special Olympics sports.
The Young Athletes Festival at the 2014 Special Olympics USA Games will provide a national stage to highlight the Special Olympics' Young Athletes Program, as well as promote acceptance and respect for people with intellectual disabilities.
Toys"R"Us Serves as Presenting Sponsor of 2014 USA Games Law Enforcement Torch Run
With additional grant funding in the amount of $250,000 from the Toys"R"Us Children's Fund, Toys"R"Us is also proud to be the Presenting Sponsor of the 2014 USA Games Law Enforcement Torch Run. During this event, more than 100 law enforcement officers and Special Olympics athletes from all 50 states will take part in a multi-day torch run leading up to the Games' Opening Ceremony.
Kicking off in New York City on Wednesday, June 11, the torch, known as the "Flame of Hope" will make stops at landmarks throughout the city, including the Statue of Liberty and Freedom Tower, as well as the company's flagship store, Toys"R"Us Times Square. The following day, law enforcement officers and Special Olympics athletes will break into teams to complete three separate legs of the run throughout New Jersey, including a stop at the company's headquarters in Wayne, where hundreds of employees will be cheering on the runners and welcoming them to their campus.
The 2014 USA Games Law Enforcement Torch Run will conclude with the "Flame of Hope" being delivered to Prudential Center on Sunday, June 15 for the Opening Ceremony of the Games.
#CheerOnAChampion – Raising Awareness for the 2014 Special Olympics USA Games and the Young Athletes Program
Toys"R"Us has developed a robust online experience at Toysrus.com/2014SpecialOlympics where visitors can "meet" Young Athletes from across the country via an interactive map and learn how the Young Athletes Program is helping kids achieve their personal goals. In addition, the site highlights the company's partnership with Special Olympics for the 2014 USA Games, its history of supporting Special Olympics and the Young Athletes Program and its ongoing commitment to the special needs community through its Toys"R"Us Toy Guide for Differently-Abled Kids. An easy-to-use resource featuring specially selected toys that encourage play for children with physical, cognitive or developmental disabilities, this year the Guide features two Special Olympics Young Athletes on its cover, along with 2012 All-Around gymnastics gold medalist Gabrielle "Gabby" Douglas.
Last June, Toys"R"Us began a one-year countdown to the Games by encouraging its fans and followers on social media to #CheerOnAChampion and learn about Special Olympics' Young Athletes Program and its inspiring participants across the U.S. Throughout the past year, the company has profiled Young Athletes from various states on its official Facebook and Twitter pages, shining a spotlight on the personal goals attained every day by these determined athletes, and will continue to highlight its partnership with the 2014 Special Olympics USA Games via social media throughout the Games themselves, with a "moment of the day" from the Young Athletes Festival, among other happenings.
For additional information on this partnership, please visit www.toysrusinc.com/charitable-giving/.
Charitable Giving at Toys"R"Us
The philanthropic mission of Toys"R"Us, Inc. and the Toys"R"Us Children's Fund is to keep children safe and help them in times of need. The Toys"R"Us Children's Fund contributes millions of dollars annually to various children's organizations, including those providing disaster relief to victims of large-scale crises, as well as those supporting America's military families. The Fund also provides grants to leading special needs organizations and has donated $1 million as the first Founding Partner of the 2014 Special Olympics USA Games. In addition to financial and product donations, Toys"R"Us, Inc. hosts in-store and online fundraising campaigns annually that raise millions of dollars for the company's signature philanthropic partners.
About the 2014 Special Olympics USA Games
The 2014 Special Olympics USA Games will be hosted by New Jersey from June 14-21, 2014. Nearly 3,500 athletes will compete in 16 Olympic-style team and individual sports with the support of 1,000 coaches, 10,000 volunteers and an estimated 70,000 family, friends and spectators. The 2014 USA Games will celebrate the Special Olympics movement, promote the ideals of acceptance and inclusion through sport and showcase athletes from all 50 states and the District of Columbia, as they demonstrate the transformative power of sports to educate and inform others about the abilities of people with intellectual disabilities. In addition to sports competition, the 2014 Special Olympics USA Games will highlight Special Olympics' work in sport, education, health and communities including special events and programs such as the Opening Ceremony at the Prudential Center, Closing Ceremony at Sun National Bank Center, a Young Athletes Festival, Healthy Athletes screenings and symposiums, youth leadership and more. Delegates will also enjoy recreational and cultural programs introducing them to the culture and history of the New Jersey/New York area. The 2014 USA Games will be held at venues throughout the state with most of the athletic competitions taking place in and around Princeton, NJ. Founding Partners for the 2014 Special Olympic USA Games include 21st Century Fox, Barnabas Health, HESS, KPMG, New Jersey Sports & Exposition Authority, PSE&G, ShopRite, Toys"R"Us and WWE. Learn more about the 2014 Special Olympics USA Games at www.2014specialolympics.org and follow the Games on Facebook at Facebook.com/SpecialOlympicsUSAGames and Twitter @2014USAGames.
SOURCE Toys"R"Us, Inc.