The following post was written by Chloe Griffiths and Willek Murphy, a Special Olympics Unified pair from Special Olympics Delaware. In July of 2018, Willek and Chloe attended the 2018 Special Olympics USA Games in Seattle, Washington to participate in the Youth Leadership Experience (YLE). Along with Unified pairs from across the country, Willek and Chloe were chosen for the YLE because of their leadership skills and passion for inclusion. Congrats on being named the #SOYouthOfTheWeek!
Since returning from the 2018 Special Olympics USA Games in Seattle, Washington, Willek and I have been very busy. We have enjoyed a celebrity status here in our small town and we have shared stories of our amazing experiences at the Youth Leadership Experience. Willek is participating in Unified flag football this fall and is working hard for a State Championship. I am cheering on Smyrna High School’s first ever Unified cheer team. My Unified cheer athletes and I actually cheer for the Unified flag football games that Willek is playing in. It’s a great experience and Willek and I are enjoying helping the Unified programs expand at Smyrna High school.
During the winter sports season, Willek will be participating in Smyrna High School’s first Unified basketball team. We will also be putting in action our plan to make Young Athletes programs more inclusive and bring in youth from Delaware to lead the Inclusion Revolution. Willek and I brainstormed in Seattle and we believe that more youth involvement will grow the programs exponentially. Our goal is to start inclusion programming at a young age so that the ideals of the Inclusion Revolution are ingrained in the youth from their athletic beginnings.
I have also been given opportunity to do an internship in my high school to learn how to be an occupational therapist. I work closely with the teachers to fulfill the Occupational Therapy plan for the students in the specialized learning program at Smyrna High School. I also participate in a Unified physical education and in the Spring of 2019, I will again coach the Unified track and field program at Smyrna High School.
Our school has shown a steady growth in the involvement and creation of Unified Sports programs. In Seattle this summer, we learned so much about the value of the Unified Programs and ways to bring more programs to our school. This was a pivotal time for Willek and I — it was eye-opening for us. We realized we have to bring change back into our community and we weren’t going to stop until change happened. We returned fired up to bring more to our community and we knew how to better do that after Seattle.