The Special Olympics Global Youth and Education team has released its second annual “Faces of Inclusion” storybook collection. The two books feature 16 total stories of people with and without intellectual disabilities around the globe, documenting inclusion in sports and education.
“Faces of Inclusion” is a Special Olympics’ storytelling initiative that highlights the impact of global Unified Schools programming through the lens of its key communities—students, coaches, teachers, parents, and partnerships. Currently focused on two international projects, the Play Unified: Learn Unified storybook (in collaboration with the Stavros Niarchos Foundation) and the Global Expansion of Unified Champion Schools storybook (in collaboration with His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of U.A.E, Ruler of Abu Dhabi, and Supreme Commander of the U.A.E. Armed Forces), illustrate just some of the many lives and communities forever changed through the transformative power of Special Olympics programming.
For over four years and spanning across 26 countries, the nearly one million youth participating in Unified Schools programming have seen great change in themselves and their communities. Since 2020, more than 634,000 youth and over 10,500 coaches and teachers have gone through inclusive education programing in Unified Schools. Capturing and sharing their stories with local and global communities has been a priority to inspire and connect individuals with others just like them.
The pages of the two Faces of Inclusion storybooks introduce just a handful of the thousands of individuals whose day-in and day-out commitment to inclusion have taken the goals of Unified Schools from vision to reality.
These are the individuals who are driving inclusion forward in their own schools and communities and whose lives have changed because of Unified Schools programming.
These are their stories of impact.