Innovators of the Week: Maria and Sixto

The following post was written by Maria and Sixto, 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!

The activity that my brother and I developed was very rewarding. Together we were able to reach many athletes from the western area who had the opportunity to get to know Special Olympics. We had the support of local Unified Schools who worked with the athletes, helping us encourage inclusion in the national territory.

We developed a circuit of activities so athletes with and without disabilities could work together and make friendships. All of these activities helped athletes demonstrate their abilities and skills in a fair and true way so youth could better understand each other. This activity was carried out thanks to the hospital of the San Francisco de Asís school, Health Company, Be Fit Gymnasium and the staff of Olimpiadas Especiales El Salvador.

We were able to turn this school into a Unified Champion School and carry out the event because the student population was so involved in the mission of Special Olympics. After our competition medals and toys were given to all 100 athletes and 200 partners who participated in the circuit.

In addition, snacks were also given to all 150 participants, coaches, volunteers who helped us move things during the assembly of the circuit and other activities.

The director of the school was present during our event and they gave a few words at the beginning of the activity to welcome young athletes from the area. Athletes from the Sonsonate Special Education School, FUNTER Sonsonate, and Armenian Special Education School joined us for the event.

We were very happy to be involved in putting on our event for our community. We had a lot of fun, worked with others with and without disabilities, and had a great time. The most emotional moment for me was when an athlete who had motor problems did not use his wheelchair and moved from one station to another with the help of others and when it was his turn to perform the circuit.

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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