*note: Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools is formerly known as Project UNIFY. New name, same great program!
For information about getting involved in Unified Schools or how Special Olympics Hawaii can support your school, contact:
Unified Schools Coordinator
Special Olympics Hawaii
Join the SO Unified Hawaii Facebook Group!
The Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools program is a national, education-based program conducted in schools, which uses the sports and education programs of Special Olympics to activate young people to promote respect, dignity, and advocacy for people with intellectual disabilities. Special Olympics Hawaii believes that through sports, young people can make a difference in friendships, schools, and communities.
The magic of the Unified Schools program is manifested in the inclusive friendships formed, seeing paired youth in action as leaders, and creating communities of caring and respect. The inspiration and passion that comes from experiencing Special Olympics sports motivates young people to seek a world of unity, and then provides students with and without disabilities with the skills and opportunities to create social change.
The program sees results. School liaisons fill out a survey every year that is conducted by the Center for Social Development and Education at the University of Massachusetts Boston. Over 8 years of the Unified Schools program, these surveys have shown that friendships between students with and without intellectual disabilities form in those schools, exhibiting caring and respect. Students also become role models for acceptance and encourage positive changes in their schools.