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Inclusion Starts Young

Arianna stands on a running track.
Arianna feels good when she can dress herself independently and feel stylish.

As a Special Olympics Young Athlete from Washington, Arianna is already demonstrating what it takes to be a champion on and off the field. She enjoys being active and loves any sport or activities that has to do with a ball. When Arianna is not in motion, she loves cheering on other people.

Arianna’s mother Andrea recently shared her feelings about ways to help Arianna reach her full potential.

Q: What does inclusion mean for you?

Andrea: To me, inclusion means that my child is valued and belongs regardless of her differences. Arianna is seen as important and worth cheering on even if she is not holding world records. Her success is measured by her progress and the strength she has shown to overcome obstacles to get where she is today.

"To me, inclusion means that my child is valued and belongs regardless of her differences."
Andrea, Arrianna's mother

Q: How has participating in Special Olympics helped Arianna be more independent or feel empowered?

Andrea: Arianna has been participating in Special Olympics for just over a year and it has been world changing for her and our whole family. Arianna has always loved running. Doing track events has given her a good reason to run with expectations—she is a runner/eloper meaning she likes to bolt away and run. With training for running events, we set up cones and she runs from the start line to the finish line and then stops. She has learned that there is a place to run and be safe. It’s taught her safety skills. She loves when people cheer her on and so she will run with the biggest smile on her face knowing that when she crosses the finish line, there will be lots of cheers. Arianna's involvement with Special Olympics gives her an outlet of energy in a very positive manner. It has also gotten our family more active!

Arianna sits on a bleacher outside while smiling at the camera.
Arianna is a Special Olympics Young Athlete who loves to run!

Q: What role does clothing play in helping Arianna feel good?

Andrea: Putting on clothing that is fun, comfortable and cute helps Arianna feel good about herself. Some clothing is challenging for her to put on independently. When we find something she loves to wear that she can also independently put on herself, that is HUGE! We have always loved BILLY Footwear because the shoes are functional, but they are also very stylish. Arianna always gets compliments on her new Inclusion One shoes!

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