“This event is important not just for the money it’s going to bring to our city, not just because it’s the biggest athletic event since the ’84 Olympics, but it’s a chance for our city to be transformed from the inside out,” a passionate Maria Shriver said this morning about the upcoming Special Olympic World Games. Shriver spoke from the heart during Los Angeles’ latest Breakfast Conversation, which took place at Hollywood & Highland’s Vantage Room. Led in discussion by deputy editor Nancy Miller, Shriver was joined by Patrick McClenahan (President and CEO of the LA 2015 World Games), Rafer Johnson (Olympic champion and co-founder of the Special Olympics in California), and Dustin Plunkett (Special Olympics International Global Messenger). The panel fired up a room full of leaders across a variety of industries, encouraging them to utilize their networks to spread the word about the games. “We need people in the stands. We still have money to raise. We still have volunteers that are needed. We need hosts. We need a lot in the next 53 days,” Shriver said. If her words aren’t enough reason for you to get involved, here are our favorite inspirational quotes from the morning’s guests, sure to inspire action:
“The theme of our bid was: in a city full of movie stars and all-stars, the athletes of the Special Olympics will be the stars of this show. There’s no greater global stage than Los Angeles to create awareness, acceptance, and inclusion.” –Patrick McClenahan
“Everything that you’ve done and that you will do will be extremely deserving for the athletes that participate. It’s all about providing opportunities for intellectually disabled athletes to be the best that he or she can be.” –Rafer Johnson
“We need this city to actually live up to its name—The City of Angels. We need to spread our wings. We need to show that we are more than red carpets, we are more than Hollywood, that we are a city ourselves of open arms. We are a city of generosity and compassion.” –Maria Shriver
“Everyone starts out saying, ‘I’m here to help. I want to help the athletes, I’m here for them.’ But not even a minute will go by of your time when you’ll start to think, who’s helping who here? The athlete will give you so much more than what you give them.” –Dustin Plunkett
Tickets went on sale for the game’s Opening Ceremony today at la2015.org. Visit the site to find out more about how to contribute or attend (all of the events, except for the Opening Ceremony are free to the public).