Here’s a throwback to the 2021 year-ender event championing inclusivity
Year after year, international organization Special Olympics has sought ways to offer fun sports trainings for individuals with intellectual disabilities (ID). Sports have, anyway, long been a way to empower and to foster inclusivity through teamwork; and here in the Philippines, the local chapter of the organization has done the same, finding ways to rally behind inclusivity even amid the pandemic.
But practicing and advocating for inclusion, Special Olympics Pilipinas understands, isn’t just about raising awareness on disabilities. We’ve seen it firsthand at its year-ender event entitled, “Lead To Include 2021,” where the initiative was to first equip and then activate the youth, with the aim of accepting and welcoming everybody, regardless of ability or disability.
In November, Special Olympics Pilipinas hosted the aforementioned National Youth Leadership Summit over four days (all Saturdays in November), in which individuals ages 15 to 25 brought the celebration of the advocacy online. In lieu of in-person sports trainings, this was where interactive lectures, inspirational talks, workshops, and bonding activities took place.
“The participants learned to be changemakers and inclusive youth leaders through a series of interactive lectures given by professional speakers and meaningful workshops facilitated by youth volunteers,” the organization shared. “With the goal to #LearnThriveInclude, the youth of LTI 2021 were educated about The World of Special Olympics, Intellectual Disabilities, Social and Emotional Learning, Advocacy, Social Media Management, Content Creation, Project Pitching, and Project Management.”
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The #LeadtoInclude2021 organizers shared further: “At the end of the summit, our goal was for the participants to have Unified Partners (a pair of youth with and without ID) and [have them] come up with small-scale Inclusion Projects together.” This led summit attendees to bring their advocacy beyond the event, as they put together vlog entries, collaborated on infographic posters and videos, and even partnered up for donation drive initiatives.
The youth-led national summit by Special Olympics Pilipinas is set to return in 2022. Stay tuned for more details. To learn more in the meantime, visit the official website of Special Olympics Pilipinas.
Art Matthew Ian Fetalver