The following post was written by Bryan and Carlos, two Special Olympics youth leaders from El Salvador. The pair make it their mission to strengthen inclusion in their community. Check out how they #innovateforinclusion!
I am very happy to have met Bryan Ortiz because we planned our project together. While we were working on our project we had to modify it because the youth did not count their daily steps and that was the main objective.
We replaced it with health activities, sports activates, and talks to grow awareness about intellectual disabilities. At the beginning I was frustrated but Bryan helped me understand that there was another solution and that I didn’t earn anything from getting angry. I was encouraged and I was surprised because that should be me. Because of Bryan I understood how to handle the situation better and I admire that in him.
Once we started the project I liked it much more than the original idea because the steps would be counted independently and with this modification they were constantly seeing each other. In the closing activity we counted our steps in the same space with individuals with and without intellectual disabilities, allowing us to meet with each other even more.
I am happy that we were able to make this project happen. In the end we reached our goal: encourage exercise, promote a healthy lifestyle, and set aside the sedentary life. Through our project we were able to create an inclusive world through types of activities other than sports, such recreation and health activities.
The 2018–2019 Special Olympics Youth Innovation Grant initiative is supported through partnerships with Hasbro, Inc., The Samuel Family Foundation, the Office of Special Education Programs at the United States Department of Education, the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, the Kantar Group, the Microsoft Corporation, Lane Global Youth Leadership, and the Lions Clubs International Foundation. Learn more about these inspiring projects at SpecialOlympicsGlobalYouthProjects.org.