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Freezin’ For A Reason

chicago-polar plunge-2016-lake michigan

Community oriented (and maybe a little crazy), 20 Chicago Yelpers braved the bitterly cold water and made a splash at the Polar Plunge. YelpCares, Yelp’s volunteer group, created a team to immerse Yelpers in the community and get involved in local charities. Dunking into Lake Michigan might not seem like the ideal way to spend a March Sunday, but our team of Five-star Freezers was freezin’ for a reason. Each member was encouraged to raise $175 to help fund training, competitions, and field trips for the Special Olympics Chicago (SOC); our troop rallied and raised $5,355.57. If dunking in chilly waters isn’t tenacious, fundraising ferociously is!

Our team was a true testament to the SOC values of fostering friendship and creating lasting memories. Yelpers from different training classes, teams, and departments came together for a cause and forged friendships. Between the pre-plunge meet up, bus ride to the event, and diving into the lake, there was plenty of pre-season beach-party bonding!

2016 Special Olympics Chicago Polar Plunge. (Photos by Chicago PhotoPress) To download images, enter this password when prompted: thankyou Be sure to click the small red arrow in the bottom right corner of the page to advance to the next gallery page. For media inquires about the use of Special Olympics Chicago photography, or help downloading images, contact our photo team at Chicago PhotoPress - 312.462.4263 or info@chicagophotopress.com

(Photo by ChicagoPress)

The sting of the cold water was numbed by the energy at the beach. Costume-clad people gathered in groups and big heated tents full of food and music lined the lakefront. A squadron of Stormtroopers and platoon of penguins charged for the chilly water. Costume queen Lady Gaga and her beau Taylor Kinney took a dip, followed by gladiators and beauty queens, bananas and pandas, and jellyfish and mermaids. One Yelper sported a pink Power Ranger ‘fit and another a giraffe getup. By the time we took a mad dash for the water, the sun was shining and our adrenaline was so high that the dunking, dipping, and diving felt more thrilling than chilling.

2016 Special Olympics Chicago Polar Plunge. (Photos by Chicago PhotoPress) To download images, enter this password when prompted: thankyou Be sure to click the small red arrow in the bottom right corner of the page to advance to the next gallery page. For media inquires about the use of Special Olympics Chicago photography, or help downloading images, contact our photo team at Chicago PhotoPress - 312.462.4263 or info@chicagophotopress.com

(Photo by ChicagoPress)

At Yelp, we thrive on being tenacious and playing well with others. Our values align so strongly with SOC that despite the cold, the plunge was hard to pass up. Compared to the Special Olympics athletes who break out of their comfort zones and bring a tenacity to life every day, taking a quick dip in the lake was easy. Special athletes rise to face challenges with smiles on their faces and relentlessly positive attitudes even when the going gets tough. The Polar Plunge celebrates the courage and bravery of each athlete; even if we only submerged ourselves in cold water for a few seconds, we could join in their moment of fearlessness. The plunge left me with sneakers full of sand and a heart full of happiness. It was refreshing to know that our efforts directly made a positive impact on others.