Building the Teams
Dennis and Maria are Special Olympics Youth Leaders from El Salvador leading a Youth Innovation Project to expand inclusion at their school and engage new youth leaders through a Unified football league. Dennis and Maria will recruit students from regular schools (general education), inclusive schools (general and Special Education), and Special Education schools onto mixed Unified football teams to compete against each other. By combining students from multiple schools, Dennis and Maria are hopeful students will form connections and want to continue competing in Unified football activities in the future. At the event, Dennis and Maria will also have areas where participants can learn more about individuals with disabilities and how to host their own Unified Sports events.
As their project expands, Dennis and Maria also plan to include teams from local football clubs. Invitees from these local clubs will serve as mentors to the Unified football players and demonstrate different sports skills and the importance of teamwork to the participants.
Through this initiative, Dennis and Maria are committed to expanding inclusion, encouraging camaraderie and friendship among the players, and raising awareness about intellectual disabilities. Dennis and Maria are excited to educate others about Unified Sports and hope the Unified football league will serve as a catalyst for youth in El Salvador to engage in the Unified Generation.