Updated: Jul 18, 2019
The following post was written by Mayra, 2019 Global Youth Leadership Summit Participant from Mexico. Check out her experience at the Summit, and how she plans to#innovateforinclusion in her community!
Being part of Special Olympics has been an unforgettable experience because everyone involved in the movement wants to increase inclusion.
From the first day at the 2019 Global Youth Leadership Summit in Abu Dhabi, all of the teams were quickly integrated. Although some participants did not speak English or Spanish, we helped each other to translate and communicate. We quickly learned about each other and took many pictures together.
I liked the activity in the workshops where everyone had a different question and then we asked someone near us to answer the question. Later, when the answer was complete, we had to change the roles and ask a new question to another person. I really liked how this activity allowed us to interact with other teams. I also enjoyed the Cultural Night, which was an incredible event. There were cultural performances from different countries with lots of dancing. Once the dancing started, we all couldn’t stop dancing until the end of the event. The event was impactful because we perceived an environment of inclusion among all of us — adult mentors, youth leaders with and without intellectual disability, the organizing committee — and we all worked for a common purpose.
The Summit also allowed me to meet people from across the globe and share our project. I formed great friendships, each of them fueled by the passion and inspiration to create a more inclusive world. In addition, when presenting our project in the Summit Poster Hall Exhibition, I gained insight from different people on how to grow our project. I realized some other ways that we could implement our project in our country would be to include people with intellectual disabilities in schools to break the barriers that separate us. By going to Global Youth Leadership Summit, I had the opportunity to share our ideas, stories, culture, and projects to get more people to join the movement and get to know the vision of Special Olympics.
The 2019 Global Youth Leadership Summit was supported through partnerships with The Lane Family, Kantar, the Lions Clubs International Foundation, The Samuel Family Foundation, and the Office of Special Education Programs at the United States Department of Education. Learn more about the other participants of the Global Youth Leadership Summit at sogyls2019ad.org/participants.