Remembering A Special Lightworker: Eunice Kennedy Shriver

Posted on August 11, 2009

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S W E E T I E S

I’m really not found of writing these R.I.P posts. Eunice Kennedy Shriver founder of the Special Olympics has passed away. She was 88 years old.

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e4db70737e8db8e0c153313248b44658Eunice Kennedy Shriver

July 10, 1921- August 11, 2009

During her life  Shriver made enormous contributions to the world through her tireless work and countless giving.

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Although Eunice Kennedy Shriver was born into privilege and wealth she was was dedicated to service, hard work and MAKING a difference. This is a concept that the spoiled and selfish brats of this generation need to learn with the quickness.

Her famous name and wealth did lend her special treatment and opportunities but the point is that she worked and understood the importance of giving.

In 1950, she became a social worker at the Penitentiary for Women in Alderson, West Virginia, and the following year she moved to Chicago to work with the House of the Good Shepherd and the Chicago Juvenile Court. In 1957, Shriver took over the direction of the Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. Foundation.

The Foundation, established in 1946 as a memorial to Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr.–the family’s eldest son, who was killed in World War II–has two major objectives: to seek the prevention of intellectual disabilities by identifying its causes, and to improve the means by which society deals with citizens who have intellectual disabilities.

Under Shriver’s leadership, the Foundation has helped achieve many significant advances, including the establishment by President Kennedy of The President’s Committee on Mental Retardation in 1961, development of the National Institute for Child Health and Human Development in 1962, the establishment of a network of university-affiliated facilities and mental retardation research centers at major medical schools across the United States in 1967, the establishment of Special Olympics in 1968, the creation of major centers for the study of medical ethics at Harvard and Georgetown Universities in 1971, the creation of the “Community of Caring” concept for the reduction of intellectual disabilities among babies of teenagers in 1981, the institution of 16 “Community of Caring” Model Centers in 1982, and the establishment of “Community of Caring” programs in 1200 public and private schools from 1990-2006. 1.

1. http://www.eunicekennedyshriver.org

There are only a handful of people that can attribute their actions and efforts to changing the world. Eunice Kennedy Shriver was one of them.

Her son Timothy Shriver Chairman and CEO of The Special Olympics released a statement today.

Her faith in the athletes of Special Olympics was unfailing, even from the very start. When she was young and Special Olympics was still just an idea, few people particularly cared or knew about people with intellectual disabilities. Fewer still shared or understood her dream to awaken the spirit and denied potential of this forgotten population. And yet, though others could not see, she still believed, conceiving Special Olympics in her heart before she could unveil it on the field of play.

She believed that people with intellectual disabilities could — individually and collectively — achieve more than anyone thought possible. This much she knew with unbridled faith and certainty. And this faith in turn gave her hope that their future might be radically different.”

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Eunice Kennedy Shriver danced with children at a “Dancethon” benefit for the Special Olympics in Manhattan on November 22, 1981.

In 88 years it seemed as if she lived 10 lifetimes with the multitude of accomplishments she made. Today, 3.1 million people with mental disabilities participate in 228 programs in 170 nations, according to the Special Olympics.

An amazing story and legacy that will live on forever. It is people like her who make this world that all too often is cold, uncaring, and cruel a much warmer and tolerant place to live.

We owe Eunice Kennedy Shriver a great deal of gratitude.

Rest in Peace

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Posted in: Rest In Peace