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.
Together, we can make change!
Skyler Sharp reporting from Greece…”Being here in Greece I have been shown how much fo an impact that youth can have on their communities and the world. When I get back I hope to make an impact as well as get other people involved with youth leadership and Special Olympics.”
Chris Sullivan reports… “I Love it! I talked to my friends Josh and Noah last night on the computer. I danced with everyone.”
By the end of this trip I am fairly confident Chris will have a photo with someone from each country represented here. I am daily inspired by the camaraderie youth here demonstrate regardless of any intellectual, political or religious backgrounds. No language or ability barrier is going to stop this group from making a difference in their communities and in the world. The political situation here in Greece is difficult, but it is somewhat ironic that Special Olympics and Project UNIFY bring this amazing example of hope to Greece and the world at such a difficult time!
Yesterday we ate breakfast with the celebrities including Eddie Barbanell and Dikembe Mutombo. The breakfast was not only nutritious but empowered youth to be the change! Apolo Anton Ohno provided an inspiring message of how important Unified Sports are and the difference they create in the sports arena and our communities! Discussions also surrounded how we are going to get the media to help us make changes! Chris, Skyler and youth from around the world continued to shine with their presentations. The night ended with dance… the best part about dancing is that it supersedes any language or ability! Youth from around the world danced the night away to music that spanned the globe. Today we are off to cheer on athletes and meet more people at the games! – Team Oregon
Greetings from Greece! On behalf of Team Oregon we are having an amazing time! Skyler said today that it seems like we have been here forever! Ever since the moment we arrived we have been welcomed by people from all over the world! It is refreshing to be in a place where nothing matters except the fact that we are all human and have a common goal, unity! Last night we had the amazing opportunity to attend Opening Ceremonies! Chris sums up the experience, w
Chris and Tanealya at opening ceremonies!
hen asked how it felt to walk in opening ceremonies he said, “I felt famous!” The ceremony was four energizing, inspiring hours with words from celebrities and most importantly athletes! After much suspense the torch was lit and that is just the beginning, the games have begun. The games will continue as we work with and learn from people all over the world about global activation to make our world more unified! It is inspiring to see how even though we have all just met, everyone is welcomed, supported and respected! Hope to keep you posted with all the exiting events!
We’re on our way to Greece! The waiting is over and we are in route to Greece to represent Oregon and the Northwest in a life changing experience! We look forward to meeting people from around the world to see how Project UNIFY is alive and strong! Chris can hardly wait to share his excitement of Project UNIFY with other youth and wants to hear about what they do. Skyler is excited to make new connections and bring back the excitement of Project UNIFY to Forest Grove! We arrive in Athens tomorrow and look forward to sharing our experiences with you. Thank you Forest Grove, Oregon and the Northwest for your support!