A Race Toward Inclusion

Marla and Gaviria are Special Olympics Youth Leaders and their group Jaime Rook 16 is always ready to serve. This organization is a group of Unified scouts who are dedicated to assisting others, facing new challenges, and contributing to projects that will increase inclusion at their school. With the scouts ready and excited to participate in a variety of activities, Marla and Gaviria have the team they need to make an impact in their community. This team will lead a Youth Innovation Project to host two different footrace events, 3-kilometer race for all students and Special Olympics athletes on their campus and a 5-kilometer race through the communities for others to participate in.


Marla was inspired to lead this project by her sister, who has a disability. She noticed that her sister was not respected by others in the community and wanted to raise awareness to change this stigma. Through the implementation of these footrace events in her area, Marla is confident that her team will be able to increase inclusion. With everyone completing the same course, on the same day, at the same time, members of the community will see how individuals with disabilities are capable of accomplishing the same things as those without. Once people start taking notice of abilities through these opportunities, they will include them into more aspects of everyday life. Marla, Gaviria, and the Jaime Rook 16 team are all excited to see how the community rallies behind these events and will gather testimonials during these times to see what others have learned from being part of these footrace events.


To these youth leaders, being part of the Unified Generation is an important and valuable responsibility. Not only does it mean working every day to generate awareness among others about valuing differences, but it also means providing opportunities for those with disabilities to be included into more events and to shape a Unified World. By being part in the Unified Generation, they are excited to see how little steps over time can lead to big changes in Colombia and around the world.