Accepting! Never have I been in a place where everyone was truly welcome! A place where ability, politics and ethnicity didn’t matter. A place where everyone belongs! This was the 2011 World Special Olympics Games and Global Youth Summit. Youth brought and demonstrated acceptance, energy and an optimism that we can have a dignity revolution. For two weeks the world seemed so small and the possibilities endless. I can’t wait to see what these youth do next!
From the moment we arrived there was a buzz of excitement! The thrill of students meeting other students around the world and hearing about what is going on in their countries. All this during the World Special Olympics Games and beginning of a dignity revolution. Inspiring are the diverse groups of people these games brought together for a common goal. The effects are more widespread than we could ever imagine because youth have taken ideas and energy and are making change in their communities.
I will never forget our Serbian friends speaking at the Global Youth Rally or the 7000 youth that gathered for that event. Eddie Barbanell was amazing in his leadership role creating a more just world. Loretta Clayborne and Apollo Ohno played key roles in telling their stories of perseverance. Participating in the half marathon unity sports event was an honor finishing alongside my new friend Mike from Greece. Walking in opening ceremonies was priceless. Thank you Special Olympics and Project UNIFY for this incredible opportunity to learn and be inspired! Thank you to everyone for all the ideas, time and energy! Thank you to a group of amazing youth who will change the world.