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Special Olympics Appoints Youth Leaders to Advocate Social Change

Special Olympics appoints six young people to national honor that empowers youth to engage in active social change. 

New Youth Leaders

Washington, DC -  Special Olympics' youth-focused initiative, Project UNIFY®, today announced the appointment of six new members to the National Youth Activation Committee for the United States. The committee 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.

The new members are:

  • Abigail Abel, Indiana
  • Mitch Bonar, Indiana
  • Christopher Clare, Montana
  • Jonathan Wilson, Montana
  • Alexandra Gould, Rhode Island
  • Jessie Oliveira, Rhode Island

See all Youth Activation Committee members.

"Our National Youth Activation Committee members bring exceptional talent and leadership ability to our national work - and our new class is no exception. We are excited to welcome these six members who will advocate for social inclusion and positive school environments that foster acceptance and respect for all," said Andrea Cahn, Senior Director of Project UNIFY.

The National Youth Activation Committee, which will begin its seventh year, is comprised of young people with and without intellectual disabilities from across the country who work together to promote the core components of Project UNIFY - Special Olympics Unified Sports®, inclusive youth leadership, and awareness and education initiatives that impact entire schools - and foster inclusive communities where all young people are agents of change. With the appointment of the newest members, the National Youth Activation Committee will include 21 active and engaged young leaders from around the country, eight of whom have intellectual disabilities.

Currently, nearly 3,000 schools are actively participating in Special Olympics Project UNIFY® and as many as 1.8 million young people have been impacted by the messages of inclusion, acceptance, dignity and respect for all people, including those with intellectual disabilities.


Rebecca Ralston
(202) 824-0121

About Special Olympics

Special Olympics is a global movement that unleashes the human spirit through the transformative power and joy of sports, every day around the world. We empower people with intellectual disabilities to become accepted and valued members of their communities, which leads to a more respectful and inclusive society for all. Using sports as the catalyst and programming around health and education, Special Olympics is fighting inactivity, injustice and intolerance. Founded in 1968 by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, the Special Olympics movement has grown to more than 4.4 million athletes in 170 countries. With the support of more than 1.3 million coaches and volunteers, Special Olympics delivers 32 Olympic-type sports and more than 81,000 games and competitions throughout the year. Visit Special Olympics at www.specialolympics.org.