Creating Opportunity for Inclusion

Kristen was named Innovator of the Week! Click here to learn more about her story and the impact she is making in her community. 


Kirsten is a Special Olympics Youth Leader from Washington and a member of her high school’s Associated Student Body (ASB), an organization comparable to a Student Council. Throughout her life, she has also been involved in a variety of sports, but never had the opportunity to compete as a Unified partner on a Unified Sports team. Last year, alongside ASB, she worked to create a Unified Sports Club. Students enjoyed an event called “Pack the Stands” where the Unified basketball team held a competition to raise money for the new club. The event brought in enough funding for new uniforms, but the team did not have another school to compete against. With the Unified Club now entering its second year, Kirsten is ready for growth.


Kirsten’s Youth Innovation Project will bring together the Unified Sports Club, and the Unified Basketball Team to create a Unified Basketball League where her high school can challenge other schools to competition. With the school’s administrative support, Kirsten is confident she will be able to make this an opportunity other schools and students will want to be part of. By engaging more community members in Unified, Kirsten and her fellow leaders will create more opportunities for inclusion in Washington.


Alongside the goal of a Unified basketball league, Kirsten wants to increase the inclusion of Special Education students at her school’s. Currently, the classroom for students with disabilities is in a separated building on campus. Kirsten plans to work with her school administration to create a classroom in the center of campus for these students to increase their interaction with their general education peers. Bringing this classroom to the main point on campus and creating opportunities for interaction and engagement will change the culture of the school and create a more inclusive environment.


To Kirsten, being part of the Unified Generation is all about opportunity. “Being able to provide more opportunities for individuals to gain new experiences, and provide the same opportunities to people of all abilities, is what this is really all about.”