Megan Czejkowski of Raleigh completed a four-week, virtual training program in July to become a credited Health Messenger by Special Olympics North Carolina’s (SONC) governing body, Special Olympics International.
A Health Messenger is a Special Olympics athlete who has been trained to serve as a health and wellness leader, educator, advocate and role model within their Special Olympics communities and the community at large.
Czejkowski’s experience serving as a peer leader within the SONC community is exemplified by her current role as a Global Messenger. Through the Global Messenger program, athletes are trained as spokespersons for Special Olympics in recruiting potential athletes, volunteers and sponsors through public presentations.
In order to create more effective public health programs, improve health systems and have community engagement supporting the health of people with intellectual disabilities, people with intellectual disabilities are encouraged to hold leadership positions. The Health Messenger program is empowering athletes, like Czejkowski, to: develop healthy lifestyles; influence other athletes to lead healthier lives; advocate within their communities for inclusion around health and wellness services, education and resources; and develop leaders to advocate for the health needs of people with intellectual disabilities. As one of SONC’s three trained Health Messengers, Czejkowski will focus her efforts on the promotion of mobile health applications and their benefits for individuals with intellectual disabilities.
“I have a lot to share with other athletes, but I really want to share what I know about health applications that can help with sleep, hydration and more,” said Czejkowski.
“We’re very excited to have Czejkowski as our newest Health Messenger,” said SONC Health Director Ellen Fahey. “She has proven to be a strong and vocal leader for SONC and I know she will make a positive impact on the health of her fellow athletes”
About Special Olympics North Carolina
Since 1968, the organization 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 20 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 Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube.