LEADING THE CHANGE: Meet the trailblazers
The Global Youth Leadership Summit will make sure that the future of global efforts for inclusive society is in some seriously safe hands
It may be an all too commonly quoted lyric by almost every politician wearing a suit today, but Whitney Houston had it spot on when she said that ‘children are our future’. The sentiment could not be more relevant than when it comes to the Special Olympics movement which is calling on young people from all over the world to join it in launching the next 50 years of inclusion.
The Global Youth Leadership Summit which takes place alongside the Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019 in March will serve as the crucible for this concerted global effort as 159 youth leaders, with and without intellectual disabilities, come together to engage in cross-cultural exchange and train to become the trailblazers of tomorrow.
The Youth Leaders have been specially selected from their home countries to attend the summit and be the voice for inclusion in their home country. This was done through an application process that saw them submit proposals for awareness and community projects that they would spearhead on their return home.
These projects, along with a packed agenda throughout the summit, including the Global Youth Circle, a Summit Cultural Night and a myriad of training and workshops will result in real tangible changes in communities all over the world. It will certainly drive forward the legacy of the most Unified Games in history.
And while we may sound very excited indeed about the summit and the incredible potential it has for igniting a fire for change in the next generation, no one is more excited than the Global Youth Leaders themselves.
Here are just a few of them:
Eliel and Anni – Finland
We defy you not smile and tap your feet when you watch this rap from the charismatic Eliel, who is a sports instructor in training and can’t wait to take what he learns in Abu Dhabi at the summit and apply it to spread his love of Unified Sports in his home country of Finland. Adult mentor Anni thinks inclusion is the future and above all sport is all about fun!
Jorge and Maria – Brazil
Jorge and Maria from Rio De Janeiro in Brazil are passionate about Judo and just as passionate about improving the lives of people with intellectual disabilities through the participation in the sport .
Jack and Thomas – USA
Jack and Thomas are veterans of the movement having attended a Youth Leadership summits before – we are expecting big things from these boys as they plan to expand the Unified Schools programming to the full school district in Oxford, Connecticut .
The Unified team works!
Here are just a few of the positive outcomes of previous Global Youth Summits:
· Establishment of a Unified outdoor adventure club, bringing youth with and without intellectual disabilities together for hiking and other outdoor fitness activity (Colorado, USA)
· Training of youth leaders and teachers to implement Unified Schools programming (Romania)
· Developing vocational skills in unified, youth-led classes (India)
· Creating an inclusive video production company, bringing together youth with and without intellectual disability as collaborating producers of video content promoting Unified Sports and other inclusive programming (Kansas, USA)
· Staging a Unified play promoting inclusion in schools with an inclusive cast and crew (Great Britain)
· Creating inclusive sports opportunities for primary school students with and without ID by partnering special education schools and general education schools (China)
· Establishing partnerships between Special Olympics and national sport federation to increase opportunity for people with intellectual disability to participate in sports (Mauritius)
· Establishing sustainable Special Olympics youth clubs (Peru)