WASHINGTON, DC – July 15, 2019: On World Youth Skills Day, Special Olympics is helping to lead the efforts in encouraging youth’s potential through skilled abilities that can lead to a more inclusive world. Over 155 youth leaders with and without intellectual disabilities are the recipients of the next round of Special Olympics Youth Innovation grants, resulting in 85 Youth Innovation Projects. This diverse cohort of youth leaders represent 52 countries and span all seven Regions of the global Special Olympics movement (Africa, Asia Pacific, East Asia, Europe Eurasia, Latin America, Middle East North Africa, North America). To learn about these inspiring projects being led around the world click here.
Today, there are 1.2 billion young people aged 15 to 24 years, accounting for 16% of the global population. The active leadership of youth in community efforts is central to achieving a sustainable, inclusive and stable society. On this World Youth Skills Day our Youth Leaders are putting their skills to the test to create a more inclusive world, as they are learning to learn for life and work.
In March, a portion of youth leaders were able to form their vision of social inclusion through the 2019 Global Youth Leadership Summit in Abu Dhabi, UAE. By supplying the necessary knowledge and tools, youth leaders were able to develop their projects and solidify the global legacy of the summit through their pioneering projects. All projects, funded up to $2,000, will aim to create change through inclusive sport and community engagement. To strengthen the impact of their projects, some youth leaders will produce video series on the power of inclusion or lead social media campaigns focusing on inclusive activities.
In turn, the funded projects will help to strengthen and grow Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools®—an education initiative that combines Special Olympics Unified Sports®, inclusive youth leadership, and whole school engagement to create school and community climates of acceptance and social inclusion. The projects will positively affect hundreds of schools and thousands of students—all while working toward one common goal: increased inclusion.
Youth leaders with and without intellectual disabilities applied for funding as individuals or as inclusive pairs (one youth with intellectual disabilities and one youth without) earlier this year. The Special Olympics Youth Innovation Grant initiative is supported through partnerships with the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, The Samuel Family Foundation, Hasbro, Inc., Kantar, the Office of Special Education Programs at the United States Department of Education, Lions Clubs International Foundation, Microsoft, and the Lane Family.
About Special Olympics
Special Olympics is a global inclusion movement using sport, health, education and leadership programs every day around the world to end discrimination against and empower people with intellectual disabilities. Founded in 1968, and celebrating its 50th Anniversary this year, the Special Olympics movement has grown to more than 6 million athletes and Unified Sports partners in over 190 countries. With the support of more than 1 million coaches and volunteers, Special Olympics delivers 32 Olympic-type sports and over 100,000 games and competitions throughout the year. Special Olympics is supported by individuals, foundations and partners, including Bank of America, the Christmas Records Trust, The Coca-Cola Company, ESPN, Essilor Vision Foundation, the Golisano Foundation, IKEA Foundation, the Lane Family, the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics, Lions Clubs International, Safilo Group, Stavros Niarchos Foundation, TOYOTA, United Airlines, and The Walt Disney Company. Click here for a full list of partners. Engage with us on: Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and our blog on Medium. Learn more at www.SpecialOlympics.org.