Latest on Family Programme and Young Athletes across the Region
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Athletes in France prepare for Demonstration at Pilot Launch
Special Olympics France is preparing to launch a Young Athletes Pilot Project to take place on January 14th at La Roseraie, Paris.
The launch will include a demonstration by 16-18 young Special Olympics athletes between the ages of four and seven and is expected to be well attended by those involved in the disability field in France as well as Russian philanthropist and model Natalia Vodianova.
The children and staff have been training since October in preparation for the demonstration. The event will be used to showcase the Young Athletes programme and to make plans for it’s implementation in the other regions of France.
“The children have been training for the last two months and have been responding very well to the range of activities. The launch of the programme at La Roseraie will be a wonderful occasion to bring the families and community together.” Christophe Boissard, Programme Coordinator, SO France.
A young Special Olympics Great Britain athlete enjoying the class.
Special Olympics Great Britain launch new Young Athletes site
The Young Athletes programme is to begin in the new region of Sandwell in Great Britain. The new group which will also serve the West Midlands, will provide a structured play programme for children aged 2-7 with intellectual disabilities. The children involved in the programme are part of the Ups and Downs group which provides support and education to families and individuals with Down syndrome.
This week the group including parents, volunteers and children got together at Portway Leisure Centre to learn more about the programme. The details of the programme were presented by Mo Clarke, Young Athletes coordinator from Special Olympics Europe Eurasia, followed by a practical session led by Dr. Niamh Reilly from the University of Derby. Group leader Norma Freeman is very excited to begin: “ It will be wonderful to bring this amazing programme to the Sandwell & West Midlands area and we are very eager to get started. The programme will provide a consistent training programme for the children in a fun-filled environment”.
The project which will begin in the New Year has been kindly supported by Mattel Children’s Foundation.
YA Family Summer Camp which
took place on 13 - 15 September in Palanga, Lithuania.
YA Success in Lithuania
Olympics Lithuania began the Young Athletes (YA) programme in December 2012
thanks to funding from the Samuel Family Foundation. It began initially in
kindergarten schools in the cities of Kaunus and Vilnius. This pilot project
took place over 12 months and in that time they registered 150 new young
athletes, exceeding their original target of 50. The project also involved 50
new family members.
In March and April 2013 Young Athletes coordinator
Ausra Kriskovieciene and Sports Director Dovile Sertvytiene organised a
conference in the new regions of Utena and Panevezys where they presented the
YA programme to kindergartens, physiotherapists, educators and physical
education teachers who work with people with intellectual disabilities.
To sustain the programme, Ausra began approaching potential sponsors and
partners to seek support for the programme going forward. By April 2013 they
had successfully secured two partnerships. The first partnership was with
sports equipment suppliers UAB Gudragalvis who will provide discounted YA
equipment. The Lithuanian Regional Department of Education formed the second
partnership with Special Olympics Lithuania and resulted in presentations
of the YA programme to regional education centres throughout the country.
As the new school year began in September this year, the YA
programme was implemented in 20 new schools and institutions across
Lithuania. This progress in such a small space of time is a remarkable
achievement for Special Olympics Lithuania and is a true reflection of
their hard work and commitment to the Young Athletes programme.
Young Athletes demonstration in
YA Evaluation in Romania
Congratulations to Special Olympics Romania on the completion of their Young
Athletes (YA) programme research study. Funding from the Samuel Family
Foundation supported the project which was carried out in collaboration with
the National University Of Physical Education and Sports in Bucharest.
Young Athletes & Family coordinator Roxana Ossian along with professor
Aura Bota from the University attended a seminar in Washington DC in October
2012 which focussed on research and evaluation of the Young Athletes
Initial evaluation took place at the university in early
February involving 32 children aged 2-7. The level of YA abilities were
recorded, to be compared with results at the end of the project. Teachers,
students, physical educations teachers, psychologists and parents were all
involved in the study. The specific YA training took place over three and a
half months in four different regions in Romania. A special focus was made on
the importance of regular attendance at the training sessions.
Presentations about the Young Athletes and Family Support Network programmes
were given to parents of the Young Athletes. They received detailed information
on how to organise YA trainings and how to use the equipment at home. They
were also shown how to adapt the exercises from the lesson plans according to
the level of the children’s abilities.
Final evaluation was carried
out at the university in early June. The children involved in the study had
shown a significant increase in motor and cognitive development compared to
the initial testing in February. Test results were gathered and submitted to
the University Of Boston, Massachusetts where they will be combined with
results from our other regions. Detailed results and evaluation will be
published next year.
First General Assembly of the
World Disability Union in progress, Istanbul April 6th - 7th
World Disability Union
During the First
General Assembly of the World Disability Union (WDU), held in Istanbul April
6th - 7th, Special Olympics Malta has been approved as a Member of the WDU, as
a result of this membership Malta has also been approved as a Member State in
Malta was represented by Mrs Simone Attard, Family
Co-ordinator of Special Olympics Malta. Simone is also the current Global
Family Leader for the Special Olympics Europe Eurasia Region.
the First General Assembly, Simone presented to the delegates from 65
different countries and 6 continents her presentation regarding the rights
for persons with intellectual disability.
presentation Simone Attard was appointed to serve as a member of the
Advisory Board for WDU and also was elected to serve as a member to the
Commision of Rights of Persons with Disabilities Research and Strategy
Development within the WDU.
With these International Appointments,
Malta will have a leading role in the setting up of Universal Standards
and Policies for Persons with Disabilities.
Simone Attard (second from
left) at the Global Family Leader Summit, PyeongChang 2013
New Global Family Leader
We are delighted to welcome Simone Attard from
Special Olympics Malta as our new Global Family Leader for the SOEE region.
Simone recently attended the Global Family Leader Summit during the World
Winter Games in Korea where she was officially appointed.
Family Leader Programme seeks to motivate and activate family members to be
fully engaged as community builders and to support the expansion of the Young
Athletes programme by 100% in every region by 2015.
Simone is an
integral part of the Special Olympics Malta team and is very involved with
their Healthy Athlete Programme, in particular during the National Games in
2012. She is also involved with family outreach and the Young Athletes
Welcome Simone from the Special Olympics family.
Jozef Kwiotek will be deeply
missed by all at Special Olympics.
Sad Passing of Jozef Kwiotek
We are deeply saddened by the loss of
Jozef Kwiotek, Family Programme leader for Special Olympics Poland. Jozef
passed away earlier this month on Monday 11th of February following a short
battle with cancer. Jozef had amazing optimism, inner strength and life
wisdom; he will be missed very much.
Jozef was involved with Special Olympics Poland
for over 20 years and was a wonderful ambassador for the movement. He was the
true “heart” of the family programme, always happy and ready to help others in
any way he could.
will be a huge loss for Special Olympics and for all who knew him. He is
survived by his wife Grazyna and sons Slawek and Mariusz.
Rest in Peace Jozef.
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