“Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.” -Eunice Kennedy Shriver
In every corner of the earth, the Special Olympics is changing the lives of people with intellectual disabilities through the power of sports and inclusion (www.specialolympics.org/about). Special Olympics Pilipinas furthered the mission of making the world a more inclusive place by hosting a 4-day National Youth Leadership Summit online entitled “Lead To Include 2021” (LTI 2021). Over a hundred youth of ALL abilities, ages 15-30, coming from Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao, gathered in Unified Teams (consisting of individuals with and without Intellectual Disabilities). They each received a summit kit consisting of an LTI 2021 handbook, shirt, bag, ballpen, phone popsocket, keychain, and other materials that were used during the summit. All these were delivered right at their doorsteps.
Throughout the 4-day summit, the participants learned to be changemakers and inclusive youth leaders through a series of interactive lectures given by professional speakers and meaningful workshops facilitated by youth volunteers. There were 8 lectures and 8 workshops in total. With the tagline and the goal to #LearnThriveInclude, the youth of LTI 2021 were educated about The World of Special Olympics, Intellectual Disabilities, Social and Emotional Learning, Advocacy, Social Media Management, Content Creation, Project Pitching, and Project Management. At the end of the summit, each Unified Team presented their Inclusion Projects that all aim to spread the message of what they pledged to do –
“I pledge to look for the lonely, the isolated, the left out, the challenged, the bullied. I pledge to overcome the fear of difference, and replace it with the power of inclusion. I choose to include.”
The future is bright with these brave, eager and passionate inclusive youth leaders who are motivated to Lead To Include. Indeed, inclusion is worth-choosing, all the days of our lives.
For more information, visit the Special Olympics Pilipinas page here.