Innovators of the Week: Diego and Manuel

The following post was written by Diego and Manuel, two Special Olympics Youth Leaders from El Salvador. The pair make it their mission to strengthen inclusion in their community. Check out how they #innovateforinclusion!

This project focused on leadership development through artistic expression and was developed in 6 months. I am Diego and with the help of my partner Manuel, we developed a mural in support of the next national games to be held in August 2020. We did this among students from my university and people with intellectual disabilities in the following phases:

1. We developed the idea and requested the necessary permits and with the support of the office we made an alliance with the municipal mayor.

2. The space for the mural: This was the most difficult task because with a commission from several institutions we evaluated the spaces so that the mayor's office could give us the OK.

3. Training for participants and discussion with athletes.

4. The development of proposals and selection of the logo that is the icon of this activity.

5. Making the mural.

Our surprise was that the whole class participated. It was not an obligation but many were enthusiastic and it was incredible that everyone wanted to be part of it.

I met and strengthened friendships between my colleagues and the athletes we met. Now I can consider Manuel part of my friends and not a strange person.

The 2018–2019 Special Olympics Youth Innovation Grant initiative is supported through partnerships with Hasbro, Inc.,The Samuel Family Foundation, the Office of Special Education Programs at the United States Department of Education, the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, the Kantar Group, the Microsoft Corporation,Lane Global Youth Leadership, and the Lions Clubs International Foundation. Learn more about these inspiring projects at

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