Special Olympics Florida

Collier County

Unified Champion Schools

2013 State Flag Football 068

Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools (formerly called Project UNIFY) is an initiative that uses sports and education to encourage students to help create communities that accept everyone, encouraging all young people, with and without disabilities, to participate in athletic and leadership activities together.

Three basic components make up Unified Champion Schools:

Unified Sports: Teammates with intellectual disabilities (Athletes) participate with teammates without disabilities (Partners) to practice and play together on Unified Sports teams, in either a competitive or recreational setting.

Inclusive Youth Leadership: The Youth Activation Committee (YAC) is a group of student leaders who work to increase the positive impact that youth can have in school. They serve as ambassadors to motivate and educate peers, and they organize school events to promote unity and equality for all.

Whole-school engagement:

  • Fans in the Stands: No one likes to play or compete in front of empty bleachers! Fans in the Stands  encourages the entire school community to show support for its Unified Sports teams.
  • The R-Word Campaign: Spread the Word to End the Word is an ongoing effort to raise awareness about the dehumanizing and hurtful effects of the word “retard(ed).” The campaign urges people to pledge to stop using the R-Word.