At Universities, the SOUL of the Unified Generation
Sheridan is a Special Olympics Youth Leader from North Carolina leading a Youth Innovation Project to expand and enhance Special Olympics reach and impact at universities throughout the state. Through her project, Sheridan aims to recruit two new colleges as Unified Champion Schools, create and distribute kits for leading contact tables to help university student leaders recruit participants, and make a recruitment video specifically for UCS high school seniors to encourage them to stay active in the Unified movement when they reach college.
Sheridan is committed to expanding Unified Champion School programming to more colleges throughout North Carolina and to encourage the communities around these universities to be inclusive in everything that they do. To do this, Sheridan will be selecting target schools to recruit and providing resources to support clubs throughout the state through the Special Olympics University Leaders network. From August to November, a committee of student from Special Olympics university clubs from throughout the state (known collectively as the Special Olympics University Leaders or ‘SOUL’) mentor student groups at newly participating universities to help them with club meetings and event planning. Sheridan believes that successful Special Olympics campus will enable universities to create positive and welcoming campus environments for those with intellectual disabilities. Special Olympics University Leader (SOUL) meetings will occur frequently so individuals can discuss which schools should be targeted for recruitment and the best communication practices for engaging individuals.
For Sheridan, being part of the Unified Generation means that she is opening up the path to create a world that is not afraid of differences. Sheridan says, “I am a part of a generation that is open to being inclusive and are encouraging others to step away from a world of conformity. We are moving towards a world where people with and without intellectual disabilities are seen as equal. We are creating a welcoming and positive environment for everyone and are continuing to break down the walls of discrimination towards people with intellectual disabilities.” With the leadership of Sheridan and other Special Olympics University Leaders in North Carolina and around the world, the Unified Generation is growing on campuses and beyond.