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UPS and Special Olympics: Pure Shared Joy

The Special Olympics National Games 2024 in Belgium were supported by a team of enthusiastic UPS employees, known as UPSers.
A group of five people stand on a football pitch smiling at the camera and wearing brown UPS-branded t-shirts.
A team of enthusiastic UPS employees, known as UPSers, were among the 2,000 volunteers at the recent Special Olympics Belgium National Games 2024.

From 8 – 11 May in La Louviere, Belgium, 3,400 athletes with intellectual disabilities demonstrated their skills in 20 different sports disciplines. Among the 2,000 volunteers, a team of UPSers from UPS Region Office in Brussels and UPS Centre in Diegem helped with the event organization to maintain the annual tradition. This year, the recently established Focus On Abilities Business Resource Group also joined the event. They took care of the pre and post event logistics, spent one or more days guiding the athletes during skills assessment, in their preparation for the competition and right up to the excitement of the medal ceremonies.

A football player in a blue and white football kit runs towards the camera with fists clenched in celebration.
A Special Olympics football player celebrates during the recent Special Olympics Belgium National Games 2024.

Making memories of endless joy!

UPSers not only contributed to the smooth running of the event, but also to make this a memorable experience for all athletes, coaches and their families. It was a delight to see and experience firsthand this endless joy. In line with Special Olympics’ motto, participating is more important than winning, and all athletes deserve recognition for their remarkable efforts and for what they teach us in the process.

“The event was so inclusive”

“I realized that these athletes with disabilities are happier than most of us who have no hinders in life. It gives a distinct perspective, maybe our worries are not even that big as we like to think—they are inspiring role models. The event was so nice, inclusive, and full of positivity and comradery!” Gianina says.

She adds, “The athletes inspired everyone involved with their energy and joy. Each individual athlete brings his/her own story and passion, which creates the diversity and, above all, the profound sense of community that you can only experience with Special Olympics.”

“Inclusion and sport go hand in hand”

“One moment that I particularly remember is the award ceremony. Whether it is first place or last place, the joy and pride the athletes felt when they received their medals is indescribable. It is a clear proof that inclusion and sport achievements can go hand in hand, one can fuel the other.” Jan says.

A group of three people wearing red t-shirts branded with Special Olympics Belgium National Games face the camera smiling with sports activities going on in the background.
A team of enthusiastic UPS employees, known as UPSers, were among the 2,000 volunteers at the recent Special Olympics Belgium National Games 2024.

“As a volunteer, I lived real inclusion”

“I have had the pleasure to support several Special Olympics events in the last few years, but every time I go back home extremely proud and energized, aware that another piece of the barrier that prevents real inclusion has been torn down, and that we gave to all athletes an opportunity to show their abilities. And, as volunteer, I could live what is real inclusion” Nicolo` says.

Our shared values: inclusion, equity, and diversity

UPS has been sponsoring the Special Olympics National Games in 14+ countries for several years now. The logistics company strives to create an inclusive environment for everyone, and like Special Olympics, the Focus On Abilities Business Resource Group at UPS Belgium, aims to foster a culture that embraces and supports UPSers with disabilities. With the support of The UPS Foundation, the philanthropic arm of UPS, they encourage employees to volunteer in organizations that shares their values of inclusion, equity, and diversity.

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