This past week Special Olympics Iowa held the first annual Youth Summit which brought together students from across the state to discuss inclusion and develop action plans that they can take back to their local communities. The summit had 65 attendees ranging from 7th graders to juniors in high school. The schools that sent students to the summit were East High School, Goodrell Middle School, Hoover High School, IKM-Manning Schools, North Scott Junior High, Robert Blue Middle School, Roosevelt High School, Spencer High School, Urbandale High School, Wayne Community High School and Harlan Community Schools.
The event tackled the topics of motivating and empowering others, accountability, leadership and Unified sports. Participants also participated in a Hy-Vee KidsFit workshop and capped the day off with a pool party.
“It was wonderful seeing so many youth leaders come together to share ideas and stories about the Unified Generation and to learn more about how the simple concept of inclusion can change the culture of an entire school,” shared Bryan Coffey, Special Olympics Iowa Director of Unified Programs.
All participants were students at Unified Champions Schools, schools that bring together students with and without intellectual disabilities through education, sports and youth leadership to provide them with the knowledge, attitudes and skills necessary to create and sustain school communities that promote acceptance and respect.