Youth and Schools

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Special Olympics understands the value of involving young people in our movement. By educating youth that intellectual disabilities cross all boundaries of age, gender, religion and culture, and showing them that all people have something to contribute, Special Olympics is building communities of acceptance for the next generation.
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Young people often seek out opportunities to impact the world around them, be it in their schools or in their communities. Special Olympics provides opportunities to get involved with Unified Sports, through Special Olympics Get Into It ® (SO Get Into It) curriculum and Youth Summits for communal conversations about acceptance and change.
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The Get Into It® curriculum for students from kindergarten to high school educates youth about intellectual disabilities while creating positive attitudes of inclusion, value and respect. Get Into also encourages students without disabilities to participate in Special Olympics, bringing together youth who otherwise might not have the opportunity to meet and to learn from one another. Learn more about the Get Into It curriculum
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Available in 14 languages and used in over 60 countries, the Get Into It curriculum is endorsed by numerous organizations, including the National Associations of Elementary and Secondary School Principals. Independent research proved Unified Sports and Get Into It highly effective in changing attitudes. The curriculum is free of charge. Learn more about the Get Into It curriculum
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“The event that influenced me most this school year was when two people competing in Special Olympics came to our school and talked about people with disabilities. It is true that people with disabilities cannot do certain things that we can, but that is not a reason to dislike them and to be mean to them.” - Harris Kaplan, Roosevelt Middle School
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Special Olympics conducts Youth Summits with the belief that young people are not just the leaders of the future, they can be leaders today in their schools, their communities and around the world. Youth Summits provide opportunities to channel the energies of exemplary young people up to age 17 on a local, national, regional and global scale.
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Youth Summits bring together young people with and without intellectual disabilities to discuss issues of inclusion and acceptance in guided discussions, and make action plans that they can take to their schools and communities to teach other students and community members about acceptance and inclusion.
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Special Olympics is connecting high school and college-aged youth through technology and the Internet. Through social networking platforms and mobilization plans, young people with a common interest in creating a more accepting world for people with intellectual disabilities are sharing ideas and stories, and spreading our message like never before.
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Through all our programming, Special Olympics pursues two intertwining goals: to improve the quality of life for people with intellectual disabilities, instilling new attitudes of self-confidence and self-worth; and to educate the general public about the value and talents of every human being.
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“I will bring my experiences from Ireland back home to my school and community so that people will understand (about people with intellectual disabilities) and see them through my eyes.” – Yibiao Guo, Global Youth Summit participant from China