than 400 schools in Colorado are Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools —
schools that give students who may be excluded in sports the chance to wear a
jersey, train hard, be part of a team and create lasting friendships.
people who have intellectual disabilities often are excluded on the playing
field, sport court or any team activity. Unified Champion Schools prove it
doesn’t have to be that way. Through the power of sport, Special Olympics
Unified Champion Schools teams young athletes with and without disabilities.
The end result? Strong friendships, inclusivity and teams that win in more ways
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
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
works: Studies prove Unified Champions Schools benefit the entire school that
participates. Acceptance, positivity and inclusion are benefits of the program,
of Unified Champion School liaisons felts that the UCS program has created a
more socially inclusive environment.
of liaisons indicated that the UCS program reduces bullying, teasing and use of
offensive language in the school.
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.
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.
us at Alpine Bank by supporting Special Olympics Colorado’s Unified Champion
Schools program, creating extraordinary, inclusive school settings across the