Yoona Kim

Yoona Kim

International Global Messenger

Yoona has been participating in Special Olympics since elementary school. Special Olympics is a family affair for the entire family. Yoona's mother is a Chairperson of Special Olympics Korea. Yoona's brother, 17-year old Joe, attends school in the United States, in New Hampshire, and has been dedicated to organizing a unified basketball league to promote Special Olympics Unified Sports. Special Olympics Unified Sports is where people with and without intellectual disabilities play on the same team together, opening hearts, and breaking down the barriers that exist for people with intellectual disabilities.

First wanting to strengthen her legs, Yoona started swimming for Special Olympics Korea eight years ago. She says Special Olympics has, "changed her life and given her self-confidence, self-esteem and has made her proud of herself." Yoona is an accomplished athlete who is not only involved in sport, but also in many leadership activities within the Special Olympics movement. Yoona served as a co-chair during the Youth Activation Summit at the 2013 Special Olympics World Games in Pyeongchang and was elected as President at the Youth Activation Summit at the 2011 Special Olympics World Games in Greece.

Today, her passion is spreading the word about Special Olympics Unified Sports and playing the drums in her band, Yoonaband. For the last six years, she has played in Yoonaband. The band is made up of seven girls, including five girls without intellectual disabilities. She is currently a senior in college, studying music as her major. "My two passions are unified sports and drumming. Unified Sports must get off the ground in Korea and I'm going to help make that happen and do whatever I can to encourage more people to play and get involved with unified sports. With playing the drums, I forget everything else. I'm the most happy [sic] when I get to play with my band. Special Olympics gave me the confidence to find my true passions and I'm forever grateful.

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