WAYNE, N.J., Jan. 30, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Furthering its commitment as a Founding Partner of the 2014 Special Olympics USA Games, Toys"R"Us today announced the February 1 launch of a nationwide in-store and online awareness campaign encouraging its customers to support the athletes participating in this inspirational event. By texting "CHEER" to 80888, customers can make a $5 donation via their mobile device that will help Special Olympics athletes go for the gold at the "Games of Welcome and Acceptance" being held in New Jersey from June 14-21.
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 will serve as 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.
"As we eagerly count down to the 2014 Special Olympics USA Games in New Jersey, we're proud to shine a spotlight on the future stars of Special Olympics, and cheer on those who will be competing this year," said Kathleen Waugh, Chairman, Toys"R"Us Children's Fund. "Toys"R"Us has a long history of supporting the special needs community, and through our text-to-donate campaign we are pleased to engage our customers in supporting Special Olympics as it reveals America's current and future champions at this summer's USA Games."
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.
"From the very beginning, Toys"R"Us has been a terrific partner in helping us tell the story of what Special Olympics offers its youngest participants through the Young Athletes Program, and we're so excited to highlight their accomplishments at the Young Athletes Festival at the 2014 USA Games," said TJ Nelligan, Chairman & CEO of the 2014 Special Olympics USA Games. "We are grateful to Toys"R"Us for using its tremendous reach to raise awareness nationwide for this innovative program, while at the same time supporting the athletes across the country who will make their way to New Jersey this June to compete."
Toys"R"Us Raises Awareness of 2014 USA Games In Stores Nationwide and Online
From February 1 through March 31, signage in Toys"R"Us and Babies"R"Us stores nationwide will encourage customers to text "CHEER" to 80888 to make a $5 donation via their mobile device to the 2014 Special Olympics USA Games. Donations will help more than 3,500 athletes go for the gold at the Games in New Jersey this June. The signage features three participants in Special Olympics' Young Athletes Program – Traigh of Wisconsin, Kailani of New Jersey and Jack of Illinois – showcasing the future stars of Special Olympics.
Toys"R"Us has also 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.
#CheerOnAChampion – Customers Encouraged to Share the Excitement on Social Media
Last June, Toys"R"Us began its 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 coming months, the company will profile 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.
In addition to being a Founding Partner of the 2014 Special Olympics USA Games, Toys"R"Us will also serve as the Presenting Sponsor of the Law Enforcement Torch Run, during which 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 on June 15.
For more information about the campaign, please visit Toysrus.com/2014SpecialOlympics.
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, 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.