Make Your Year-End Donation

Donate by Dec. 31 and help us get one more person onto the playing field.

  • Main
  • Press Room
  • Special Olympics Empowers Youth and Appoints 10 Young People to National Honor

Special Olympics Empowers Youth and Appoints 10 Young People to National Honor

Special Olympics’ youth-focused initiative, Project UNIFY®, today announced the appointment of 10 new members to the National Youth Activation Committee (YAC), a group that empowers young people to engage in active social change. These candidates were selected from applicants across the United States, and exemplify extraordinary leadership skills and passion for the Special Olympics movement.  

“We are excited to welcome this slate of accomplished young people to the Project UNIFY® team. The National YAC offers youth a chance to be leaders in a national arena. They not only will advocate for social inclusion but will inspire their peers to create school environments of acceptance and welcome for people of all abilities. They are pioneers in a movement that will change the social norms for generations to come”, said Andrea Cahn, Senior Director of Project UNIFY.

The National Youth Activation Committee, which is currently in its fifth year, is comprised of young people with and without intellectual disabilities from across the country who work together to promote inclusive school communities where all young people are agents of change. With the appointment of the newest members, the National Youth Activation Committee will include 19 active and engaged young leaders from around the country, eight of whom have intellectual disabilities.

Currently, as many as 500,000 young people and 2,100 schools are participating in Special Olympics Project UNIFY® where they develop school communities that foster respect, dignity and advocacy for all people, including those with intellectual disabilities.

The 10 New Youth Activation Committee Members

  •  Jamie Behymer, Arizona 
  •  Rachel Alm, Hawaii 
  •  Gabrielle Parila-Kauvaka, Hawaii 
  •  Roberto Equia, Idaho  
  •  Oh Sang (James) Kweon, Idaho  
  •  Kelsey Foster, South Carolina  
  •  Brady Platt, South Carolina 
  •  Shelby Lynne Dial, Wyoming 
  •  Heather Glaser, Wyoming 
  •  Dallas Lopez, Texas 

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 nearly four million athletes in over 175 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, from community playgrounds and ball fields in every small neighborhood’s backyard to World Games. Special Olympics provides people with intellectual disabilities continuing opportunities to realize their potential, develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, and experience joy and friendship. Special Olympics continues to grow thanks in part to the support of global corporate sponsors including The Coca-Cola Company, Procter & Gamble, Hilton Worldwide, Mattel and Lions Club International.