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SCHOOLS AND YOUTH
INITIATIVES > Schools & Youth

Page content starts here Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools: What Is It?

Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools is a program that engages schools in creating climates of inclusion, acceptance, respect, and human dignity for all students with and without intellectual disabilities. The initiatives that make up Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools are grouped into three core components: Unified Sports, which provide students with and without intellectual disabilities opportunities to participate in sports activities alongside one another; Inclusive Youth Leadership, where students of all abilities are given opportunities to take on leadership roles to promote inclusive activities in their school and community; and Whole-School Engagement, giving opportunities to all students in the school to participate and be exposed to messages and experiences of authentic inclusion through sustained school-wide awareness and education activities. Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools builds on Special Olympics’ values, principles, practices, experiences and impacts. This approach incorporates Special Olympics sports and related activities while enhancing the youth experience and empowering them to be change agents in their communities. This requires a shift in current programs and paradigms from a focus on events to committing to a movement advocating for youth as leaders.

The Special Olympics Schools & Youth initiative is committed to increasing the participation of youth without intellectual disabilities in Special Olympics activities by establishing school-based Special Olympics Programs and activities. Click the following links for more information:
Unified Sports
CHANGE FOR CHAMPIONS FLYER (GES)
CHOOSE TO INCLUDE FLYER (OCX)
UNIFIED SPORTS RESEARCH OVERVIEW FLYER (PDF)
UNIFIED SPORTS RESEARCH SUMMARY FLYER (PDF)


The Schools & Youth initiative encompasses several related goals:
  • Develop new constituencies and leaders for the Special Olympics movement
  • Promote greater understanding and acceptance of similarities and differences in others among school-age youth
  • Involve school-age youth in a variety of activities centered on Special Olympics, including participation in Special Olympics sports and events that will enable them to play a positive role in their schools and communities.

The program was designed as a relatively simple way to achieve several closely related student learning goals:
  • To understand, accept and celebrate individual differences;
  • To learn about and become involved in Special Olympics; and
  • To become involved in a service-learning project or activity related to Special Olympics, including participation in Special Olympics sports and events.


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