Special Olympics Montenegro’s innovative Unified Club Naša škola Ekonomska was awarded the Champion of Solidarity Award by the Municipality of Nikšić on 8 March 2021.
Founded within the walls of secondary school JU Srednja Ekonomsko-ugostiteljska škola, the club has been one of the most active and engaging of the territory, partly thanks to the incredible dedication of Milica Kovačević, PE professor, coach and coordinator of the Naša škola Ekonomska Unified Club in Nikšić.
Kovačević is credited with inspiring 100 high school students to turn their school into a Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools®. Together students, teachers, parents and volunteers developed and took part in numerous activities, campaigns and sport events that supported the three main components of a Unified Champion School: Unified Sports, Inclusive Youth Leadership and engagement of the entire school.
Such passion and game-changing interventions did not go unnoticed and when the Municipality of Nikšić acknowledged the great work of Naša škola Ekonomska with this prestigious award, everyone involved was thrilled.
“I am very happy that our city has recognized the work, effort, energy, empathy and enthusiasm of our students with and without intellectual disabilities and that of my dear colleagues,” commented Unified Club Coordinator Milica Kovačević. “This means that we are on the right path to empowering a Unified Generation. Through humanitarian activities, we helped many people and families; and the smiles on their faces are our favorite award. We know now that we all have the ability to help our community.”
Since 2019, UNICEF Montenegro and the Ministry of Education have supported the development of Unified Sports in the country with great pride. The Unified Club Naša škola Ekonomska has been repeatedly cited as an example of good practice by the Ministry. The club’s participation in the Spread the Word campaign in 2019 is one of the most significant: with over 200 students, teachers and parents signing the pledge on just one day!
When the COVID pandemic struck earlier last year, the activities of Unified Club were focused on multiple humanitarian actions in the city, including raising funds for individuals who needed specialized medical treatment.