Supporting SOPA Athletes Gain Inclusion in the Community

Aligning with our organization’s core values of Committed and Compassionate, CBI CARES, our formal volunteering program, was fortunate enough to contribute to this year’s virtual Special Olympics of Pennsylvania (SOPA) Hibernating Bear event.

Each winter, Special Olympics of PA organizes a Polar Bear Plunge fundraising event — held in conjunction with the PA Law Enforcement Torch Run — where individuals come together to pledge $50 or more for the chance to boldly run or jump into icy cold waters. Proceeds raised support year-round sports training and competition for over 16,000 athletes with intellectual disabilities.

Due to the rise in COVID-19 cases at the beginning of the year, Pennsylvania’s highly anticipated Polar Plunge shifted to an all-virtual event. Participants were asked to register online, commit to raising $50 or more in support of SOPA’s life-changing programs, and pop a cold water balloon over their head to mimic taking the plunge into cold water. Those who still desired to contribute and stay dry, were able to do so by making a one-time donation through the Hibernating Bear option.

Pictured from left to right: Brian O’Connor, Kathleen Henry, Jo Artiachi, Christine Simpson, Gina Szathmary

With an original goal of raising $500,000, Special Olympics of Pennsylvania secured over $850,000 in donations to benefit thousands of athletes in achieving their goals, living healthier lives, and gaining a sense of inclusion in their community!

On behalf of our team, we commend all involved for their dedicated support and efforts in giving back in these trying times. We look forward to future fundraising opportunities! If you have a cause or organization in need of support, please let our CBI CARES Team know by emailing

Check out Special Olympics of PA’s Instagram page to witness the brave souls who participated in this year’s Polar Pop event.