The mission of Special Olympics is to provide year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes and the community.
Anyone who has ever been part of a team knows practicing and playing together creates bonds, builds team spirit and uplifts participants. Unified partners does this on an even deeper level, where young people, those disabled and not, understand each other’s strengths and weaknesses through sports. Through Unified sports, disabled athletes can shine under the bright lights and be cheered on by their classmates.
Unified Champion Schools’ vision is to decrease bullying and exclusion, promote healthy activities and interactions, change stereotypes and negative attitudes, eliminate hurtful language and engage young people as leaders of a new social environment—helping create a new norm. Three components Unified Champion schools embrace are unified sports, whole school engagement and inclusive youth leadership.
It works: Studies prove Unified Champions Schools benefit the entire school that participates. Acceptance, positivity and inclusion are benefits of the program, including:
95% of Unified Champion School liaisons felts that the UCS program has created a more socially inclusive environment.
90% of liaisons indicated that the UCS program reduces bullying, teasing and use of offensive language in the school.
95% of liaisons reported increased participation of students with intellectual disabilities in school activities, leading to more inclusive attitudes school-wide.65% of high school students stated that the strong relationships developed with their peers with intellectual disabilities was one of the best parts of participating in the UCS program.
100% of teachers said the UCS program eased the transition from middle school to high school by fostering a sense of belonging, building relationships and providing continuity for students over time.
Join us at Alpine Bank by supporting Special Olympics Colorado’s Unified Champion Schools program, creating extraordinary, inclusive school settings across the state.