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Press Releases

Special Olympics Welcomes the Newest Class of U.S. Youth Ambassadors

Special Olympics Unified Champion School logo

Washington, D.C. — Aug. 25, 2023 — The 2023 – 2025 class of Special Olympics U.S. Youth Ambassadors were announced after a three-week application process. The 14 youth leaders with and without intellectual disabilities are making the nation more inclusive by serving as advocates, sharing stories, and demonstrating the values of inclusive youth leadership.

19.5 Million
million young people are taking part in inclusive experiences through Special Olympics across the nation.

These young leaders are strong representatives for Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools® programming—a strategy creating sports, leadership, and whole school engagementopportunities for students with and without intellectual disabilities. The result is a school environment that promotes inclusion and respect for all. As many as 19.5 million young people are taking part in inclusive experiences through Special Olympics across the nation.

The diverse group of like-minded high school and college students are from Colorado, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Minnesota, Connecticut, Washington, and North Carolina. During their two-year tenure, the Youth Ambassadors will engage in speaking and advocating activities, including participating in local and national Special Olympics events, attending meetings with community and education leaders, and others. They participate in half a dozen sports and hold various leadership positions at their schools, including Unified Club Co-Presidents, Special Olympics State Youth Activation Council Presidents, and Co-Captains of Special Olympics Unified Sports® teams.

A group of athletes sitting around a table.

“These phenomenal young people are the torchbearer for inclusion and are leading their schools and communities toward a more equitable and accepting future. Special Olympics will provide training to help them develop leadership skills and find their voices, and we look forward to the results of their efforts and advocacy.”
Andrea Cahn, Senior Vice President of Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools

Learn more about U.S. Youth Ambassadors here. For more information about Unified Champion Schools, please visit GenerationUnified.org.

About Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools®

The Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools® program is a strategy in more than 8,300 schools Pre-K through university across the U.S. that intentionally promotes social inclusion by bringing together students with and without intellectual disabilities through Special Olympics Unified Sports® programming, inclusive youth leadership opportunities, and whole school engagement. The three-component model offers a unique combination of effective activities that equip young people with the knowledge, skills, tools and training to create classrooms and school climates of acceptance, respect, and meaningful inclusion. These are school climates where students with disabilities feel welcome and are routinely included in—and feel a part of—all activities, opportunities, and functions. The Unified Champion Schools program is funded by the Office of Special Education Programs at the U.S. Department of Education. Engage with us on: Instagram,Twitter, Facebook, TikTok, andYouTube. Learn more at GenerationUnified.org.

About Special Olympics

Founded in 1968, Special Olympics is a global movement to end discrimination against people with intellectual disabilities. We foster acceptance of all people through the power of sport and programming in education, health, and leadership. With nearly four million athletes and Unified Sports® partners and one million coaches and volunteers in more than 170 countries, Special Olympics delivers more than 30 Olympic-type sports and nearly 50,000 games and competitions every year. Engage with us on: X, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, TikTok, and LinkedIn. Learn more at SpecialOlympics.org.

Media Contact

Kendra Cummings

Special Olympics North America
Unified Champion Schools Manager of Media Relations
+1 (202) 715-6445