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Players Prepare for Special Olympics Basketball Game and Fundraiser

The Junior Jordans and Eagles will be playing at Mother McAuley next week. All the proceeds go toward providing special recreation opportunities.

The basketball players are practicing their dribbling, lacing up their sneakers and gearing up for next week's big game. 

The Junior Jordans and Eagles will be playing on Jan. 19 at Mother McAuley High School. The game is not only a chance for the Special Olympics teams to play in front of a big crowd, but it also serves as a major fundraiser. 

John Zawaski started the event five years ago as a way to raise money for the teams. They receive no government funding and the funds go not just toward the basketball teams, but supplement athletic and social programs for special needs children and adults.

Zawaski says that event not only raises money, but raises awareness while giving the players an experience to remember. All for the cost of just $5 a ticket. 

Todd Mallo is the special recreation supervisor at the Oak Lawn Park District. He says that the game's participants are geared up for the annual event.

"The noise alone is just ten times more than a regular season game," Mallo said. "This is just another avenue for them to show how good they can play the game of basketball."

Mallo says that before the annual game is was difficult to fund the team and they relied solely on money the athlete's parents paid. 

The athletes that participate in the programs come from Oak Lawn, Evergreen Park, Burbank, Chicago Ridge, Worth and Crestwood. 

Mother McAuley gladly opened up their gym for this year's event.

"It's a great organization and they do a lot of wonderful things for our community," said Jennifer Busk, the school's director of communications.

The big show will feature two games and a halftime performance by the Oak Lawn Pep Squad. 

Take a look at video from last year's event to get a tast of what's in store. 

  • When: Jan. 19, Opening Ceremonies start at 1 p.m.
  • Where: Mother McAuley High School, 3737 West 99th Street
  • How Much: $5
  • Tickets: Can be purchased at the door or at the Oak View Center, 4625 W. 110th Street. 

For more information visit the Junior Jordans' website

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