Club plans to introduce special needs students to sports

Official logo taken from https://resources.specialolympics.org/unified-champion-schools-resources/

Official logo taken from https://resources.specialolympics.org/unified-champion-schools-resources/

Isabella Abraham

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The Unified Champion Schools club promotes whole-school inclusion by bringing typically-developing and special needs students in a group setting where they can participate in sports and other activities together.

The club meets once a month during Eagle Time in the gym (1400).

“Our special education students don’t always take the same classes as our general education students, so they don’t get the same opportunity to interact with their typically-developing peers,” Life Skills teacher Tanya Barrios said. “It’s basically a way for everybody get to know one another and appreciate one another.”

Members travel to different Special Olympics meets that include bowling, basketball skills and track and field. Participants can also go with the Life Skills class on community outings.

““Students in the club also come with us to special olympics meets when we go to other campuses,” Barrios said. “When we host our special olympic meet for track and field in the spring students can be volunteers, fans in the stands, they can help run events and they can be peer partners for our athletes.”

Of the 45 to 50 participants, a select team of student leaders guide the club in group activities.

“We are trying to form leadership teams that are composed of typically-developing students and students with special needs and basically the meetings are supposed to be fun, student led groups,” Barrios said. “We might pick up some balls and shoot some hoops or play with each other.”

Prospective members should fill out an application and hand it in to Barrios as soon as possible.

“I think it’s a great opportunity to make friends with people you don’t usually get to socialize with,” Barrios said. “It’s a really humbling experience. It’s a lot of fun and there is something to be learned from everybody.”