Did you know Project UNIFY has a new name? Project UNIFY is now Unified Champion Schools!
Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools (formerly Project UNIFY) guides young people to make a future that’s welcoming and respectful to all. It’s an inclusive program, so everyone is welcome. Together we make an inclusive future for us all.
Remember SOLA athlete, Camrin Sandoz who we featured on the blog last month? He represented Special Olympics Louisiana when he traveled to Washington, DC to compete in the Quicken Loans National Pro-Am sponsored by Perfect Sense Digital.
This picture above is of Cam and professional golfer Arjun Atwal. Once their round of golf was finished, Cam gave Arjun a Special Olympics Unified Golf Gold medal (you can see it in Arjun’s right hand in the shot). Cam had won the medal this year at the Louisiana State Golf Tournament. He told Arjun “I know you have won lots of money and trophies as a pro golfer but I bet you have never won a Special Olympics Gold medal.” At first Arjun said he couldn’t accept Cam’s gold medal, but Cam quickly said, “Don’t worry I’ll win another one next year!”
Later that week, Cam went back to the golf course to watch the first round of the professional tournament. After following Tiger, Rikki Fowler, and many other great players, Cam was insistent on finding his new best friend Arjun. He managed to find him on the course and even watched him make birdie on 4 of his last 6 holes. Arjun spotted Cam and his family and came over to shake Cam’s hand and offer him a cold Gatorade. If you know Cam there’s nothing he likes more then free food or drinks! Arjun reached over and told Cam that his Gold Medal was tucked away in his bag for good luck. Cam’s quick response to this was, “I know that’s why you got all those birdies!” Ted Sandoz, father of Cam, was extremely touched by the experience. He said, “When we heard Arjun tell Cam about his medal, we had tears in our eyes. The knowing that a PGA professional took the time to tell our son that the medal he worked hard to achieve had now found its place in the bottom of his Ping bag was simply the true meaning of Play Unified!”
ESPN’s College Game Day will be live from LSU this Saturday, October 25th. Be sure to tune in to get as glimpse of the 2015 Special Olympics World Games banner and some of our Special Olympics Louisiana athletes!
Check out this awesome guest blogger article from FriendshipCircle.org on Inclusive Schools.
4 Things No One Tells You About Inclusive Schools is written by Nicole Eredics, an elementary school teacher who has been working in an inclusive classroom for 15 years.
Eredics says, “Students in inclusive schools are known to form meaningful relationships, have the same learning opportunities and high academic expectations as one another, and learn to respect the diverse nature of humankind.”
People first language is important to our organization and our athletes. By using this, our athletes are looked at for the person they are, or the things they have accomplished before their disability is known.
In a recent blog post from Special Olympics guest blogger, Daniel Smrokowski, he describes people first language by stating, “In other words, the person is named before the adjective or descriptive phrase referring to the person. It helps to memorize a simple example…”
We recently came across an article that features Project UNIFY and wanted to share it with you! The athlete featured attended the 2014 Special Olympics USA Games in New Jersey.
“The two formed an instant bond despite the fact that they had to overcome a major language barrier. “I didn’t know sign language, but through the hallways we gave each other high fives,” recalls Tate…”
Read the full article here. Learn more about Project UNIFY in Louisiana by clicking here.