Educating the Future of the Unified Generation
Marissa is a Special Olympics Youth Leader in Hawaii who saw an opportunity to connect with younger individuals at a nearby elementary school. As a student at Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School, she will work with the school’s Team Unify to engage in activities with elementary students and explain Special Olympics and the Unified movement. As a Unified partner for track and bowling, Marissa has enjoyed her experiences and hopes others will be excited to start their involvement.
Marissa’s project will focus on increasing younger students’ understanding of inclusion and the importance of acceptance. Through different presentations and inclusive activities, students will gain a better understanding of the Special Olympics movement and creating a Unified Generation. Some of the activities presented stem from engagement Marissa successfully implemented at her middle school and contributed to a school culture of acceptance. By engaging with elementary students, Marissa will be able to identify students who will be interested in being a member of Team Unify once they enter middle school. Not only will Marissa be able to find potential new members for the student organization, but she will also create opportunities for the younger generation to spread tolerance and change their perspective toward individuals with disabilities.
To Marissa, the best part of this project will be interacting with younger students and helping them understand the importance of inclusion and the appreciation for diversity. By assisting in these educational (but fun!) lessons, Marissa and Team Unify will be changing the world into the inclusive one they want to see. To Marissa, being part of the Unified Generation is being part of a generation that creates environments of acceptance and encouragement; it means “that everyone, including myself in this world, is making progress towards acceptance of everyone.”