ITHACA — Despite being held in what, by date, is officially Spring, the CSEA participants in Ithaca’s Polar Plunge were really “freezin’ for a reason” as they took the plunge on a snowy March day in bitter cold temperatures. In doing so, Team Captain Jamaica Breedlove and her crew raised more than $2,100, allowing our union’s Central Region to achieve a major milestone!

Over the past eleven years that CSEA has participated in Polar Plunges throughout New York State, our Central Region has now raised more than $200,000 for the athletes of Special Olympics. It’s a source of extreme pride for everyone involved. Central Region President Kenny Greenleaf, who participated in all four Central NY plunges in Binghamton, Massena, Syracuse and Ithaca this year, called the achievement “amazing.”

“Our members who have been plunging over the last eleven years to support Special Olympics are incredible, and reaching this amazing milestone just proves it,” Greenleaf said. “Over our years plunging I’ve witnessed so many good-hearted people who really care about the mission of Special Olympics and the athletes we support. It’s truly heartwarming to be a part of this and to have raised so much money for them.”

Given that it costs $400 to sponsor one athlete in competitions, and the athletes pay nothing themselves, our Central Region has now sponsored more than 500 athletes over our eleven years participating. CSEA began as a Polar Plunge sponsor in 2008 at the request of CSEA President Danny Donohue, recognizing the awesome mission of the Special Olympics and the fact that many of their athletes are cared for by CSEA members working in the NYS Office for People With Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD).

CSEA’s Central Region has been the highest fund-raising region in CSEA every year, with the exception of 2011 when our union’s Southern Region took the top honors. The CSEA President’s Polar Cap Award is proudly displayed in the lobby of our Central Region Office to recognize our achievements.

CSEA’s President’s Polar Cap Award





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Mark Kotzin has been passionately advocating on behalf of workers for more than 29 years, previously as the communications specialist in our union's Central Region, and currently as CSEA's statewide Director of Communications.

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