The following post was written by Dorian and David, two Special Olympics Youth Leaders from Hungary. The pair makes it their mission to strengthen inclusion in their community. Check out how they #innovateforinclusion!
When we first saw the campaign we thought that it is a great opportunity to raise awareness and to get young people to join us so we started to work hard to complete the #LiveUnified short film. In our film we made pairs from an athlete and an individual without intellectual disabilities so we could show how they could cooperate effectively to overcome barriers together. We were very happy to be informed about our success with the campaign. Because of our success with that film, we planned to make more and more films throughout the whole year. We had a lot of wonderful and heart touching experiences with the athletes. During the project, we gave the students many opportunities to meet with people with intellectual disabilities. Both found joy in the social interactions that we planned. Moreover, several friendships were built during the events. We were very happy to know that the events were outstanding in multiple ways.
At the events 19 photos were taken by 25 students. Furthermore, 10 new high schools joined the program. This displays the popularity of the project. The students helped us take photographs in various places in the country. For example, we took photos in a swimming competition in Monor, in a floorball match in Érd, and in a basketball game in Győr.
Moreover, there was a photography day in May in Budapest. They needed to rent some equipment for the event such as a camera, lights, and more. Individuals with and without intellectual disabilities were paired together for this event.
When being interviewed about the event, one of the athletes, Attila Princz, said: “My opinion is that the photo day was really good because I could see the real art of photography, there should be another photo day like this because this way I can learn how to take photos. By the way, I really liked that photo day and I was very happy to take part in this photo day. I really enjoyed the photo day!”
The young people who taught photography absolutely loved taking photos and also shooting videos, that’s why we took more photos than videos this year. By the end of the year we created 4 films, including the #LiveUnified film. Everybody was very vivid the day we created this video and nobody was left out.
At the end of the year, we made an exhibition where we presented a selection from the photos through the year. It was amazing to see everyone’s faces after they saw those pictures.
We also had 4 events at restaurants that we used to plan for the project. We worked together and talked about the previous events so we could give the project our best efforts.
As for me, this campaign was a really good way to bring Special Olympics closer to individuals without intellectual disabilities and integrate the high school students into the Special Olympics community. I hope we can work together with most of them in the future too. I would like to thank everyone who gave us the opportunity to reach our goals.
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 SpecialOlympicsGlobalYouthProjects.org.