Minneapolis, MN - Special Olympics Project UNIFY® announced Lauren Alaina, American Idol Season 10 runner up, as a Special Olympics Project UNIFY® Ambassador for North America. The announcement was made as part of the 23rd Annual National Service-Learning Conference® in Minneapolis, in which Special Olympics Project UNIFY® is a proud sponsor. She was introduced by Special Olympics Minnesota athlete and National Youth Activation Committee member, Danielle Liebl.
Project UNIFY® brings youth with and without intellectual disabilities together through education, sports and related initiatives to provide them with the knowledge, attitudes and skills necessary to create and sustain school communities that promote the acceptance, respect and human dignity for all students. In her capacity as a Special Olympics Project UNIFY® Ambassador, Alaina will assist Special Olympics’ efforts to raise awareness and change the attitudes of youth toward people with intellectual disabilities who struggle to be accepted, heard and included in society. Alaina will play a pivotal role influencing young people across the nation to embrace and live the Special Olympics message of inclusion. Through her American Idol journey she draws the parallel to Special Olympics in the power of participation in competition, and serves as a role model on how perseverance, dedication and personal best can truly change lives.
“Special Olympics Project UNIFY is pleased to welcome Lauren Alaina as an Ambassador to our family of athletes, coaches and volunteers. In her young career she has exemplified the ideals of Special Olympics and commitment to this important work through her involvement as a volunteer. We are excited that Lauren will serve as our Ambassador and help carry our message to young people around the country.” Andrea Cahn, Senior Director, Special Olympics Project UNIFY.
In celebration of the partnership and her new role as Special Olympics Project UNIFY® Ambassador, Alaina performed at the conference and expressed her commitment to inclusion and to help overcome prejudices about intellectual disability.
"I am honored to be asked to be an Ambassador for Special Olympics. I have been involved with the local chapter in my hometown since I was in 6th grade. There is nothing that makes me happier or inspires me more than spending time with the athletes.” Alaina said, “I have made friends for life and they did their part to support me throughout my run on American Idol. Now, it is my turn to support them and help bring awareness to this wonderful organization."
About Special Olympics
Special Olympics is an international organization that changes lives through the power of sport by encouraging and empowering people with intellectual disabilities, promoting acceptance for all, and fostering communities of understanding and respect worldwide. Founded in 1968 by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, the Special Olympics movement has grown from a few hundred athletes to more than 3.7 million athletes in over 170 countries in all regions of the world, providing year-round sports training, athletic competition and other related programs. Special Olympics now takes place every day, changing the lives of people with intellectual disabilities all over the world to community playgrounds and ball fields in every small neighborhood’s backyard. Special Olympics provides people with intellectual disabilities continuing opportunities to realize their potential, develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, and experience joy and friendship. Visit Special Olympics at www.specialolympics.org. Engage with us on: Twitter @specialolympics; fb.com/specialolympics; fb.com/projectunify; youtube.com/specialolympicshq, specialolympicsblog.wordpress.com, and projectunifyblog.wordpress.com
About Lauren Alaina
Lauren Alaina, a Rossville, GA native, and the American Idol Season 10 runner up, released her debut album Wildflower in the fall of 2011 and it landed at No. 2 on the Billboard’s Top Country Album chart and an impressive No. 5 on the Billboard Top 200. She became the youngest female artist to debut this high on the Billboard charts since LeAnn Rimes' debut 15 years ago and is the best-selling country female debut since 1996. Lauren is currently touring with Sugarland as part of the "In Your Hands" tour. In addition, she is performing in select cities with other Georgia native’s Jason Aldean and Luke Bryan as part of the “My Kinda Party” tour.