Updated: Jun 11, 2019
The following post was written by Li and Si, two Special Olympics youth leaders from Macau. The pair make it their mission to use the power of basketball to strengthen inclusion in their community. Check out how they #innovateforinclusion!
Participating in youth basketball is a fun way to build friendships, learn teamwork skills and much more. It’s pretty easy to form relationships, and it’s a great way to support the youth already involved in Unified Sports.
So we chose to use Unified Basketball to bring more opportunities for inclusion through sports to our community in Macau, where we led an introduction to Unified Basketball for other young people with and without intellectual disabilities (ID). With interaction among the teams, coaches and the players, there was plenty of opportunity for conversation about the one thing they all love — basketball!
To start the day of Unified Basketball, we led an ice breaker activity with young people with and without disabilities. The goal of this ice breaker was to understand each other through basketball skills so that they could become a more Unified basketball team.
Later in the day, we were able to emcee the Unified basketball game together and present our project idea and Unified message to all participants and guests. When they first met, there were some new dynamics to learn both on and off the court. By the end of the day, all teammates acted like old friends even though that had met only that morning.
Following the basketball game, a project youth leader and a Special Olympics athlete interviewed their Unified teammates who had joined from the nearby mainstream school. The Unified Partners were unanimous in saying they were not only able to learn more about individuals with intellectual disabilities, but were eager to play with them in the future. Unified basketball acted as a connector in creating and building relationships among all of them. By doing so, we were able to speak to the abilities of people with ID along with the message of Unified Sports. In addition, we invited other people with intellectual disabilities and their family to join this Unified Basketball day. We set up several basketball game booths for them to enjoy basketball and recruit youth volunteers to become involved with Special Olympics. We hope to let more people from Macau experience Unified basketball and youth power!!
Following the Unified basketball game, we spoke to students at local Macau middle schools. We were able to share our Unified experiences and promote the spirit of Unified Sports. By sharing Unified games with mainstream school students, we were able to help them understand the concept of Unified programming. Finally, we were able to share information about people with ID and Special Olympics with the hope of more people joining the Special Olympics family!