Special Olympics Florida

Healthy Communities Make a Difference

Special Olympics Healthy Community’s Health and Wellness Program not only educates participants throughout the 10-week program, but also arms them with the tools necessary to make healthy decisions in their everyday lives. The components of the program allow students to learn about two topics a week, engage in activities regarding these topics, and engage in 20 minutes of physical activity each class.

Throughout the program it was evident that many of the lessons were easily tailored to each student’s personal experiences and areas that would create the most change in their lives. The lessons varied from healthy food choices, to emergency preparedness, to personal and dental hygiene. Because of the diversity of the topics, this allowed students to receive an all-encompassing program that targeted multiple behaviors. Something great about this program is that not only were the students learning about healthy behaviors, but they were also encouraged to take this information home with them and share with their friends and family members.

Christine was a student who always engaged in class discussions and activities, but because she used a walker, she rarely agreed to partake in the physical activity portions of class.  She would often sit in her chair and do arm exercises until she became disinterested. Playing music while doing physical activities helped Christine become interested in class again, and she loved the Beach Boys in particular.  This led to playing the Beach Boys when exercising in the class and at home.

On the last day doing physical activity Christine surprised everyone by standing up and doing exercises on her own. This was a huge step for her to try new exercises without her walker. Furthermore, she stated that she had started to ride her stationary bike for 30 minutes every night when she went home. This was a promising indication that the classes had taught her something that would remain with her for longer than the duration of the program. 

Learn more about our Healthy Community initiative.