Volleying their Way to Inclusion

Sam and Seth were named Innovators of the Week! Click here to learn more about their story and the impact they are making in their community.


Sam and Seth are Special Olympics Youth Leaders from Oregon who plan to introduce a third Unified Sports program into their school and increase community awareness and student involvement. Sam and Seth’s Youth Innovation Project will introduce a spring intramural volleyball program to the school. As an indoor activity, the Oregon weather will not limit accessibility to sport practices and games. Sam and Seth are planning to collaborate with the middle school, high school, transition school, and alternative learning school in their school district, bringing the Unified volleyball opportunities to students throughout the district.


These two youth leaders will collaborate with current Special Olympics athletes and Unified partners at their school, as well as Student Council, and the NW Elite Volleyball Team, providing ample participation for this new Unified Sports program. Sam and Seth’s school also hosts an annual Club Awareness Week that invites all clubs to share information about their work, providing more opportunity to spread the word. The new Unified Intramural Volleyball club will also post on the school website for students and community members to learn more about the program.


Sam and Seth will also visit the three middle schools in their area to discuss this new student organization and other Unified Sports activities. They will also work in partnership with other high schools in the area who have expressed interest in the program and invite them to participate in an end-of-year Unified volleyball tournament.


Both individuals are excited to expand their Unified Sports programming and enhance inclusion and awareness within the community about Special Olympics. Unified Sports gave these students the opportunity to feel like a part of their community. To Sam and Seth, being part of the Unified Generation means getting the chance to play sports and expanding opportunities for all students to participate together in.