Team sports bring people together. Special Olympics Unified Sports teams do that, too, and much more - in a really fun way!
Dedicated to promoting social inclusion through shared sports training and competition experiences, Unified Sports joins people with and without intellectual disabilities on the same team. It was inspired by a simple principle: training together and playing together is a quick path to friendship and understanding.
Unified Sports teams are made up of an approximately equal number of athletes (people with intellectual disabilities) and Unified Partners (people without intellectual disabilities). Our Unified teams dramatically increase inclusion in the community, using sports to help break down barriers that have historically kept people apart. Teams are made up of people of similar age and ability, which makes practices more fun and games more challenging and exciting for all.
We offer Unified basketball, bocce, candlepin bowling, 10 pin bowling, flag football, golf, soccer, softball,in many Area programs across Maine. You can become involved in one of our Unified Sports programs as a teammate or coach, or help us start a new Unified team in your community or school!
A Catalyst for Change
Through data collected, Special Olympics has learned that in order to be transformative within schools, state Programs need to go beyond simply providing students the opportunity to engage in single, Special Olympics-specific initiatives. It is the connection between Special Olympics initiatives, along with the youth and school's involvement in the design and implementation of Unified Champion Schools® that can foster a more inclusive and welcoming environment for students with intellectual disabilities.
We also understand how important it is for Special Olympics Maine to collaborate with educators in identifying what role Unified Champion Schools® can play in meeting their state, district and individual school's strategic goals, whether it be promoting school climate, developing physical fitness, building character, preventing bullying, enhancing student engagement, or any other important school reform.
What is a Unified Champion Schools® School?
A "Champion"Unified Champion Schools® School is a combination of all three components; sports, youth leadership/advocacy, and a school-wide activity. In a Unified Champion Schools® school there is an understanding that Unified Champion Schools® is not just an incident or event that happens for one day, or a single experience, but rather year-long or seasonal activities. In a Unified Champion Schools school there is an expectation that acceptance and inclusion are everyday occurrences that change entire schools and impact the whole student body.
Interested in learning more about how to start a Unified Champion Schools® program in your school? Click here for more information on Unified Champion Schools®
Maine Principals' Association & Special Olympics Unified Sports
Maine Principal’s Association & Special Olympics Maine have partnered together to provide more Unified Sports opportunities for High School students. For more information on MPA Special Olympics Unified Sports opportunities, click here.
Unified Sports® Resources
- Ian Frank
- Unified Champion Schools Director
- Office: 207-879-0489 x 14
- Fax: 1-888-490-0672