The following post was written by Vitor, 2019 Global Youth Leadership Summit Participant from Brazil. Check out his experience at the Summit, and how he plans to #innovateforinclusion in his community!
I’m grateful for the opportunity to share our project, “Todos pelo Judô”, in Abu Dhabi. I returned to our country to spread not only the philosophy of Judo but to share the message of inclusion. This was the opportunity of a lifetime. Jorge, Maria, and I want everyone to know that the stories Timothy Shriver talks about are true. It’s impossible to participate in any Special Olympics event and return without being moved.
The 2019 Global Youth Leadership Summit showed me that I’m more than capable of accomplishing anything I dream of. Through union, inclusion, love, and engagement, it’s possible to achieve any goal. Our project idea wasn’t easy. It was a bold move, but it had a lot of potential to bring change to the Paula Ramos community, Rio de Janeiro, and Brazil.
Prior to the Summit, I never thought that I had the power to lead change. However, I now know that I’m responsible in leading the Unified Generation through inclusion, Judo, and our Apostando no Futuro Project. We want to show the world the movement of inclusion that started more than 14 years ago, especially now that it is even stronger and more motivated to bring new landmarks to history.
I made many new friends at the Summit who are now part of my family. Everyone at the Summit received us like a family. All of the staff, volunteers, Youth Leaders, mentors, and the entire host city of Abu Dhabi showed us the true strength of inclusion. The choice of the United Arab Emirates to host the Summit is an example to the whole world of a country’s commitment to inclusion and unity.
Thank you Special Olympics and thank you Abu Dhabi!
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 atsogyls2019ad.org/participants.