CSP Solano inmates take plunge to benefit Special Olympics

Inmates at California State Prison, Solano, did more than get their feet wet to help raise money for Special Olympics – they got soaked.

The inmates recently took the “ice bucket challenge,” dubbed Polar Plunge for Change, to raise money for the charitable organization.

The Reporter newspaper in Vacaville covered the endeavor, reporting “some inmates donned water wings, life vests, goggles or fun hats as costumes as they dumped buckets of water and ice over their heads.”

Since the state is facing a drought, inmates sat in the middle of an inflatable pool so the water wasn’t wasted.

A CSP Solano inmate gets doused with ice and water, while sitting in an inflatable pool, to raise funds for Special Olympics.

A CSP Solano inmate gets doused with ice and water, while sitting in an inflatable pool, to raise funds for Special Olympics.

“Four teams of inmates in both the Level 2 and Level 3 sections of the prison raised a total of $2,599.35 with the fundraiser,” the newspaper reported.

To get doused with chilly water, each inmate had to raise $25 or more. About 90 of them raised at least the minimum.

The Special Olympics set up a website at polarplungeforchange.com where friends and family outside the prison could pledge money to support an inmate’s fundraising efforts.

The inmates also donated their own money to those who were pledging to take the challenge.

CSP Solano has been heavily involved in doing what they can for Special Olympics. Last year, inmates and prison staff raised approximately $33,000 for the charitable group, according to Lt. Marlaina Dernoncourt, Administrative Aide/Public Information Officer.

Lt. Dernoncourt said the ice bucket challenge served as the inspiration for the polar plunge.

“I think the best part of it was the guys could see we could do something in here,” said one inmate who helped coordinate the event.

Two Special Olympics athletes, Jason Romero and Stephanie Hammond, visited the prison during the Polar Plunge.

Through Special Olympics, Hammond has competed in several sports, including, but not limited to, basketball, bocce ball and soccer. She got involved 17 years ago when she was a junior in high school, but wishes she had known about the program earlier. Children as young as five years old can enter the program and when they are eight years old, they can begin competing.

Now, as the Global Messenger, Hammond works as an ambassador for Special Olympics, traveling throughout Northern California and Nevada to visit numerous agencies, including schools and prisons to raise money and encourage children to get involved in Special Olympics at a young age.

“We now have almost 17,000 athletes here in Northern California … and because of you, we’ve actually been able to start four more sports,” Hammond told the inmates.

You can still donate to the Special Olympics Northern California by visiting the Polar Plunge for Change website.

(Editor’s note: Some websites may not be accessible from a CDCR computer.)

Read the original newspaper story, https://www.thereporter.com/general-news/20150129/inmates-take-ice-bucket-challenge-for-charity

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