Press Room

Partnership ensures long-term sustainability of the county’s largest sporting event for athletes with developmental disabilities 

FULLERTON, Calif. – April 29, 2016
– Goodwill of Orange County and California State University, Fullerton (CSUF) have teamed up to expand and continue the Cal State Fullerton Special Games, Kathleen E. & Jack Faley Memorial, Orange County’s largest non-competitive sporting event for athletes with developmental disabilities. 

The games will be renamed Goodwill of Orange County Faley Special Games. The event will be hosted at Cal State Fullerton. This year’s event marks the 31st consecutive year of the Faley Special Games and is scheduled for Friday, May 6 from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. More than 80 local schools are signed up to participate and upwards of 6,500 athletes and volunteers are expected.

Thousands of special athletes of all ages attend annually and are paired with volunteer “buddies” for a fun day of outdoor activities, including basketball, soccer, football throw, Frisbee toss, whiffle ball, volleyball, a 50-yard dash, and more.

During the daylong program, participants can also enjoy special activities, such as live music, interacting with theme park characters, fire trucks and police vehicles, and a fun dog petting area from Pet Prescriptions.

“The opportunity to be a part of continuing this amazing community tradition at Cal State Fullerton with the Faley family was an easy decision,” said Frank Talarico, Jr., president and CEO, Goodwill of Orange County. “A number of our people in the Goodwill family participate in the event and look forward to the games months in advance; we are honored to have a role in this large-scale special event to make sure it succeeds for years to come.”

Goodwill of Orange County has joined forces with CSUF, the Special Games Executive Board, and the Faley family to serve as the official partner of the event and help ensure the games thrive and remain a county anchor for children and families with disabilities. The partnership was a natural fit for Goodwill and its mission: serving individuals with disabilities through a host of services, including the Goodwill of Orange County Rogers A. Severson Fitness and Technology Center, Orange County’s only gym specially equipped for people with physical disabilities, supported employment and job training programs, and its Assistive Technology Exchange Center, which provides access to more than 1,000 state-of-the-art technology devices for children and adults with disabilities.

This year’s Faley Special Games are made possible by Goodwill of Orange County, the entire CSUF campus community, the Faley family and longtime Chairpersons Wylie and Bette Aitken, and the ongoing support of the entire Aitken Aitken Cohn Law Firm, Special Games co-founder Lisa Whaley, Disney VoluntEARS, the team at Dowd & Guild, and many additional loyal supporters, friends and family members.

The Special Games were launched in 1986 as a class project by CSUF students Dan Faley, Lisa Whaley and Tom Bohen with the goal to create a special day for special athletes – making new memories and producing a lot of smiles. Over the last 30 years, the games have grown tremendously, giving thousands of special athletes, their families and volunteers an unforgettable experience. Throughout its history and looking to the future, the Special Games will remain focused on fostering social development and activity for athletes with developmental disabilities.

The 2016 Goodwill of Orange County Faley Special Games hosted by CSUF on Friday, May 6 will be held on the athletics field north of Titan Gym at 800 N. State College Blvd. 

To sign up as a volunteer, email To make a donation to “Keep the Spirit Alive” for thousands of athletes with developmental disabilities, click here: Funds provide support for special-needs students from local schools.


About Goodwill of Orange County Since 1924, Goodwill of Orange County has been in the business of helping people who are facing barriers to entering the workforce in a meaningful, fulfilling manner. Founded on the belief that every person should have the opportunity to achieve the independence that work provides, Goodwill is most recognized for being the conduit where donated goods are sold in America’s favorite thrift stores to generate the revenue that provides the services to those who face employment challenges. Celebrating its 90th year in 2014, Goodwill of Orange County has supported hundreds of thousands of Orange County residents since its inception by creating and providing quality training and employment services to empower its program participants to be productive and independent. The nonprofit organization has dozens of programs that support this effort, including the Goodwill Fitness Center, Orange County’s only facility specially designed for people suffering from chronic illnesses and physical disabilities; its global approach to serving veterans and their families, Goodwill of Orange County Tierney Center for Veteran Services, which helps former service members and their families find resources and services to meet and serve their unique needs, including housing, job placement, education, and wellness; and its Assistive Technology Exchange Center (ATEC), which provides access to more than 1,000 state-of-the-art technology devices for children and adults with disabilities. These are just a few of Goodwill of Orange County’s innovative programs that have served those facing barriers in Orange County for the past nine decades. In 2012, Goodwill was named one of Orange County’s Most Trusted Brands. To learn more about Goodwill of Orange County, visit




Media contact: Nicole Morrison, or (949) 200-6110