Special Olympics Global Ambassador and renowned singer-songwriter Erika Ender took part in fun afternoon of Special Olympics Unified Sports with athletes from Special Olympics Panama and youth participants of the TalenPro Project. Students with and without intellectual disabilities played volleyball and basketball together, demonstrating the joy of sports and the power of inclusion.
Unified Sports, an inclusive sports program that unites Special Olympics athletes (individuals with intellectual disabilities) and Unified partners (individuals without intellectual disabilities) as teammates, has been growing steadily in the Latin America Region, with 27,926 athletes and 20,898 Unified partners reported in 2018.
The TalenPro Project, a part of the Puertas Abiertas Foundation, was created and designed by Erika Ender. The project incentivizes social responsibility and education, and fosters and promotes the artistic talents of young Panamanians.
By the end of the afternoon, Erika Ender asked participants about their experience. The youth spoke about how enlightening, rewarding and fun it was being able to share with differently abled athletes who nonetheless, shared their same passion and spirit on the playing field. Athletes expressed how important it was for them to be included and treated as equals, both on and off the field.
Erika shared her thoughts about inclusion at the event saying, “All of us are together, transforming a new generation through education, using tools such as entertainment, culture, values, social responsibility, family and community. We are therefore being better versions of ourselves, better humans, then better professionals and then, a better society.
Thank you, Global Ambassador Erika Ender, Puertas Abiertas Foundation, and the young people of TalenPro, for choosing inclusion and supporting a more dignified, just world for everyone!