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Special Olympics Youth Innovation Grantees announced

Special Olympics North Carolina youth leaders receive funds

Special Olympics North Carolina youth leaders are among the recipients of Special Olympics International’s Youth Innovation grants. 84 student-led inclusion initiatives in communities around the world received funding that aims to advance a broad range of inclusion initiatives and Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools®. 

David Evans and Landon McLamb, both of Northwest Guilford High School in Greensboro, received one of the Youth Innovation grants and will use the $2,000 grant to expand the Unified track and field program in Guilford County. The pair will work to increase the number of participating schools, provide additional competition opportunities and develop a Coaching Unified Sports in Schools – Unified Track Training to teach proper coaching techniques. Unified Track gives students with intellectual disabilities a chance to experience high school sports alongside their peers.  This program is an extension of the already existing track team where students with and without intellectual disabilities compete together.
Sheridan Lee of NC State University in Raleigh received a $1,500 grant to expand the Special Olympics University Leaders (SOUL) Club. SOUL will expand the Unified Champions Schools program to North Carolina colleges and universities.  Special Olympics University Leaders will mentor these new Special Olympics College Clubs to help them with club meetings and event planning as well as work to establish strong relationships with local program leadership. Special Olympics College Clubs is an official club on campus that connects college students and individuals with intellectual disabilities through sport to build friendships and help lead the social justice movement of Special Olympics.
“By investing in our next generation of leaders through our Youth Innovation Grants, we can help produce change makers ready to lead a revolution of inclusion. We unequivocally believe the investment in our youth leaders can lead to an end to discrimination against people with intellectual disabilities around the world,” said Dr. Tim Shriver, Chairman of Special Olympics.
The funded projects will help to both strengthen and create more Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools® — schools that combine Special Olympics Unified Sports®, inclusive youth leadership and whole school engagement to create school and community climates of acceptance and inclusion. Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools®is funded by the U.S. Office of Special Education Programs at the U.S. Department of Education.
Youth leaders with and without intellectual disabilities applied for funding as individuals or as inclusive pairs (one youth with intellectual disabilities and one youth without) earlier this year. The Special Olympics Youth Innovation Grant initiative is supported through partnerships with Hasbro, Inc., The Samuel Family Foundation, the Office of Special Education Programs at the United States Department of Education, the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, and the Lions Clubs International Foundation. Learn more about these inspiring projects at SpecialOlympicsGlobalYouthProjects.org.
About Special Olympics North Carolina
Since 1968, Special Olympics North Carolina has used the transformative power of sports to improve the lives of children and adults with intellectual disabilities. Nearly 40,000 athletes in North Carolina inspire thousands of coaches, sports officials, local program committee members and event organizers involved in Special Olympics statewide.  SONC offers year-round training and competition in 19 Olympic-type sports on local and state levels as well as health and wellness initiatives to improve the health status and increase access to community health resources for individuals with intellectual disabilities. Youth become agents of change through Unified Champion Schools, an education and sports based program created by Special Olympics to build an inclusive environment among youth with and without intellectual disabilities as well as empower them to become youth leaders and create change in their community. Visit Special Olympics North Carolina at www.specialolympicsnc.com. Engage with us on TwitterInstagramFacebook and YouTube.
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