Sisters Inspiring Change
Ana and Elena are sisters and Special Olympics Youth Leaders in Romania whose Youth Innovation Project has two goals: change attitudes toward intellectual disabilities amongst youth and their teachers and to empower “youth with intellectual disabilities to be role models and agents of change.”
Inspired by Special Olympics activities around Romania, Ana and Elena set out to make a change of their own. As a Special Olympics athlete, Ana has experienced the direct “joy and pleasure” from participating in Special Olympics sporting events and has developed leadership and public engagement skills, giving speeches about her experience and inclusion in front of students and teachers. And as Ana’s sister, Elena has also experienced the pleasure of participating in Special Olympics events as she has witnessed firsthand the impact on all participating students.
Ana and Elena’s project aims to create an inclusive environment through Unified Sports and inspirational events for youth in local mainstream schools, such as inclusive seminars to demonstrate the benefits of inclusive education. and Elena say that they are “excited to involve new young people with and without disabilities and present them the Special Olympics movement” so that they “can contribute in changing attitudes.” This motivated pair of sisters believe that their project will provide them a way “to be part of Unified Generation, to change attitudes, to create inclusion but also a way for us to grow and be stronger leaders.”