The following post was written by Britney, a Special Olympics youth leader from Hawaii. Britney makes it her mission to strengthen inclusion in her community. Check out how she #innovateforinclusion!
For my Youth Innovation Grant Project, I chose to host Unified Sports days at two different elementary schools in my area. My goal for the project was to lead Unified Sports days to engage more youth in the inclusion revolution. I believe it’s important to engage youth. I didn’t have the opportunity to become involved in Unified Sports when I was younger, but now I have the chance to teach students the meaning of inclusion. I got the inspiration to host Unified Sports days from Special Olympics Oahu youth-led sports days at local high schools.
At Kahului Elementary, we had three days to implement Unified Sports with the 4th and 5th graders. The first day was a bocce ball overview and initial meeting for everyone. The second day was the actual Youth Sports Day, where we held a bocce ball tournament. The final day was a track and field exhibition. At Pomaikai Elementary, I chose to do a full day since I was a former student at this elementary school. During the day, we held bocce ball activity stations and a bocce ball tournament. I felt both parts of the project were a huge success! After completing the project, I realized I should go into the education field where I can teach students with and without intellectual disabilities.
Throughout this experience, I learned the steps of executing a long-term project and the amount of help needed to do this. I had help from teachers at both elementary schools. They assisted me in making the project successful from the start. I started planning meetings with teachers at both elementary schools prior to the Unified Sports days and made an agenda. My grant was used to help buy the equipment for bocce ball, track and field, lunches, and transportation for Pomaikai Elementary. I was very focused on this project and kept moving on to the next tasks needed to have a successful final product. During the planning stages of the project, I also had students from my recreational leadership class and the educational assistants help by acting as group and station leaders. It was a group effort.
The most memorable moment was when my teacher, Mrs. Adkins, told the class how proud she was and how she appreciated all of our help.
The 2019 Special Olympics Youth Innovation Grant initiative is supported through partnerships with Hasbro, Inc., The Samuel Family Foundation, theOffice of Special Education Programs at the United States Department of Education, the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, and the Lions Clubs International Foundation. Learn more about these inspiring projects atSpecialOlympicsGlobalYouthProjects.org.