Strengthening Bonds for Families and Unified Pairs

Joselyn and Sofia are Special Olympics Youth Leaders from Panama who participated in the 2019 Special Olympics Latin America Family and Sibling Workshop. As a Unified Pair, Joselyn and Sofia will lead a Youth Innovation Project to increase sibling and family engagement in Special Olympics programs and to increase support and inclusion for youth with intellectual disabilities. Joselyn and Sofia believe that individuals without intellectual disabilities can learn a tremendous amount from youth with intellectual disabilities. Together, Joselyn and Sofia will deepen the bonds between families and siblings of youth with intellectual disabilities through a series of activity days and will increase inclusion in their community by establishing new Unified Schools, new Unified Champion Schools, and increased programming at existing Unified Schools.  


Over the course of twelve months, Joselyn and Sofia will mobilize existing Special Olympics programs and engage new Youth Leaders to increase Unified Schools programming in Panama. Together, Joselyn and Sofia will raise awareness by advertising their programs through social media, radio stations, and TV advertisements. Joselyn and Sofia will also host Unified Sports activities specifically for families and siblings of youth with intellectual disabilities. These activity days will also serve as an opportunity to learn and improve their program, as Joselyn and Sofia plan to distribute surveys for parents to complete and provide feedback and ideas for improvement to best serve those with Intellectual Disabilities. Joselyn and Sofia also hope that expanding Unified Schools programming will engage new Youth Leaders in Panama to join the Unified Generation.