To Sargent Shriver, almost everything in life was a family affair. Whether it be among participants in international organizations like Special Olympics, fellow global diplomats, delegates to his national Democratic Party, partners in his law Washington, D.C. law firm or members of his local church congregation, he instinctively treated people as valued brothers and sisters. That regard and affection were never as evident as they were when he was at home with the family that meant the most to him -- the Shriver family, his wife Eunice Kennedy and their five children.
After taking their wedding vows at St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City in 1953, Sargent and Eunice's partnership became both personal and professional, sharing the efforts toward making theirs an inviting home, the great responsibilities and endless joys of parenthood, and the impassioned co-leadership of Special Olympics.
Within their home, they shared the belief that their greatest blessings in life were their children: Bobby, who came first in 1954, then Maria in 1955, Timothy in 1959, Mark in 1964, and finally Anthony in 1965.
Combining his instinctive parental love with worldly experience, Sargent eagerly embraced the many roles of fatherhood as rule maker, mentor, confidant, playmate and prankster, coach and cheerleader, consoler, and, most important, shining example of the potential of every person to make a difference.
Today, all five children are realizing the potential fostered by their father. All have extended his legacy of commitment to social justice, civil rights, education and global health and peace. Among the many notable efforts of the Shriver children:
--Bobby Shriver and U2's Bono co-founded Debt, AIDS Trade in Africa in 2002. The organization has strategically invested in AIDS-stricken African nations and launched advocacy efforts to ensure better public health accountability among them. The organization merged with the ONE Campaign in 2008 and Shriver and Bono also co-founded the (Product) RED campaign in 2006. Bobby has also been a driving force in a highly successful series of holiday CDs titled, "A Very Special Christmas" which support Special Olympics and are now in their second decade of production.
--Maria Shriver, reporter, author and former First Lady of California, is one of America's most committed women's empowerment and public service activists. Her Women's Nation initiative and reinvention of the role of California's First Lady has put 21st century women's issues at the forefront of American culture. In that spirit, she also transformed the California Governor's and First Lady's Women's Conference into the premiere women's convening event in the world. Simultaneously, she continues to be a highly effective advocate for a host of social programs and initiatives, appearing at diverse events and broadcast media - all in service to humanitarian causes.
--Timothy Shriver leads the Special Olympics as its CEO, expanding the organization to reach 3.5 million athletes with 226 Special Olympic programs in 170 nations across the globe. In so doing, he has helped to reshape national conversation about the spirit, skills and potential of those with intellectual disabilities. Acclaimed campaigns through the Special Olympics, including "R-word," promote respect and fight demeaning language that hurts millions of people with intellectual disabilities.
--Mark Shriver serves as head of U.S. Programs for Save the Children, one of the most powerful and extensive anti-childhood poverty organizations in the United States. Shriver built the organization's literacy, early childhood education, anti-obesity and disaster response programs into the nation's premiere public-private anti-poverty efforts. The organization reaches 75,000 children in the most remote and forgotten parts of America and achieves extraordinary results, setting the kids it serves on a path to a brighter future.
--Anthony Shriver is the founder and chairman of Best Buddies International, an organization dedicated to establishing a global volunteer movement that creates opportunities for one-to-one friendships, integrated employment and leadership development for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Shriver created Best Buddies while he was a student at Georgetown University, and today, the organization's seven formal programs - Colleges, High Schools, Middle Schools, Citizens, e-Buddies