About sarahgyas

My name is Sarah Barnhart, I'm going into my junior year in Cherry Creek High School in Colorado. I've partnered in Special Olympics since i was 9 and I am now almost 16. My brother Ben is attending the Global Youth Activation summit with me in Athens, Greece from June 22 to July 5. I hope you all enjoy our posts!

Ben’s Experience in Greece

7/25/11: Last night I saw Ben kneeling on the floor, hunched over with his forehead close to the carpet and music playing. I thought he was asleep since he often sleeps like that. However; after an hour or so, he proudly brought me a totally unsolicited and unprompted story. To share it with you, the first version is typed exactly as he wrote it. The second version is a direct translation. This is a significant amount of writing for Ben, as it took up eight pages in his composition notebook. He typically writes only one to two pages for a story. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

            Terri Barnhart

The perfect place to stand Ben’s writing:

One day I went to Athns Grece for the wolde games for spucshl olpicks. We full to Now York and then to athns Greec. are plan ride was 14 Howers to get to greec and three Howers to Now Yorck. Then we got Grees we were welcomed to Grees by a lot of people for Griees. We tuck some Bus to are houtal at Greec. I had two room mats and they were ok some times.

We had brifst in the moring and eat soom food and ete really to go on are bus to go to opening caremones and we saw stevey wonds sigh some song’s and some fire works to woch. They had crkts sowlay at the opening Games. Then we went back to are hotale. Then we made some Now frends in athise Greec.

We wen into the guvers house and hade a good meeting with hime.

Then we wen to the Beach and sawame for a hower and 30 mints. then we at lunch Beach. We did a lot of Shoping.

We went to the big old towers in greec and wock all over for on Howere and had so much fun and so cool to look at evry thing up high. We went to SO minny coptishons sports. We sowe hand ball ange Athles poram and then we sow tabl tanise and Galf and valey ball.

We at so much food and it was ok. Then I eat some pizza that was vary good to eat. Then we went to closing sarmonys. Thay had so miny fire works that was my time in Greece. the end


One day I went to Athens, Greece for the World Games for Special Olympics. We flew to Newark and then to Athens, Greece. Our plane ride was 14 hours to get to Greece and three hours to Newark. Then when we got to Greece we were welcomed to Greece by a lot of people for Greece. We took some bus to our hotel at Greece. I had two roommates and they were okay sometimes.

We had breakfast in the morning and we ate some food and ate really fast to go on are bus to go to opening ceremonies and we saw Stevie Wonder sing some songs and some fireworks to watch. They had Cirque du Soleil (he thought it looked like that style of entertainment) at the opening games. Then we went back to our hotel. Then we made some new friends in Athens, Greece.

 We went into the governor’s house and had a good meeting with him.

 Then we went to the beach and swam for an hour and 30 minutes. Then we ate lunch at the beach. We did a lot of shopping.

We went to the big, old towers in Greece and walked all over for an hour and had so much fun and it was so cool to look at everything up high. We went to so many competition sports. We saw handball, young athletes program, and then we saw table tennis and golf and volley ball.

 We ate so much food and it was okay. Then I ate some pizza. That was very good to eat. Then we went to closing ceremonies. They had so many fireworks. That was my time in Greece. The end.


Reflections on the GYAS from Ben and Sarah


GYAS Friends


Beginning to describe the incredible ways in which the Global Youth Activation Summit has impacted me proves itself to be a difficult task. The first moment when I walked into the Stratos Hotel I was met by welcoming, smiling faces and intertwined into a community of inspired, motivated, determined, and powerful people. Everyone had so much in common that we clicked right away. Optimism, leadership, respect, and empowerment gave us a common platform to build friendships that will last a lifetime. 

I was blown away by how each group presented their ideas in unique styles and in their native language. Witnessing the diversity of Project Unify showed me that the whole world is ready to lead a dignity revolution. I am thrilled for what is to come on an international level as well as the upcoming projects Ben and I are starting back in Colorado. The youth are not just going to be leaders tomorrow, we are leaders now! We are changing the world!

Ben and I wish to be involved with future Global Youth Activation Summits; however, as I realize we will not be “youth” forever, we are going to go where ever the summer games take us, for as long as possible. I would like to make it a tradition to go to every World Summer Games from now on. It is easy for me to say that the GYAS was one of the best experiences of my life. Ime mesa!

Ben and Tyler


Hi my name is Ben Barnhart and I am from Colorado. I liked going around to all of the competitions and watching the young athletes program to get more information about it so that we can bring it back to Denver.

I liked making a lot of new friends. All of my friends were very kind and helpful when I needed it. I loved having breakfast with them. It was hard to say goodbye.

It was a pleasure to have Tim Shriver at our table for the Conversation Series. We gave each other good ideas that we will bring back to Colorado.

The opening ceremonies had good singers and dancers and lots of fireworks. Walking into the stadium with the crowd cheering was so cool because I got to be with my friends and wave at the people cheering for me.

I would like to come back to another World Games and participate in another GYAS because it was a good experience in my life.

Core of Special Olympics

This week we have been enhancing our leadership skills, learning about different
Special Olympics programs from around the world, having fun, and so much more.
We participated in numerous conferences and discussions which strengthened our ability to activate our schools and communities back at home. Along with meeting Tim
Shriver, we went to the Parliament, the opening ceremonies, and visited sites
like the Acropolis and Plaka.

Even though all of these experiences are life changing and motivational, it is
important to stay focused on sports, which are at the core of Special Olympics.
We had a chance to play basketball and volleyball with the other GYAS members
and it was great to do what got us all involved in the first place. We felt
like it strengthened our relationship with some of the other participants and
gave us an opportunity to see each other in our prime. Without the sports Project
Unify would not have the power that it has. Playing sports is one of the most
unifying activities and it provides a common ground for athletes and partners
to interact. We just want to remember our roots and the initial mission of
Special Olympics.