Special Olympics Health Messenger training equips athletes with knowledge and skills about health, empowering them to serve as health and wellness leaders, educators, advocates, and role models within Special Olympics programs and communities.
The Health Messenger program is part of Special Olympics’ vision of inclusive health. We want people with intellectual disabilities to have the same opportunities and access to health care as people without intellectual disabilities, building health and equality and helping Special Olympics athletes to perform their best on and off the playing field.
Special Olympics BC's Health Messenger program trains athletes to:
- Understand how to live a healthy lifestyle and be a positive role model to others
- Learn about healthy activities that can be done at home or virtually
- Develop skills to help them lead in their community and advocate for the health of people with intellectual disabilities
- Develop skills to lead on their teams and in their communities to help others establish healthy lifestyles
- Think about how they can best use their leadership skills for action
- Leave feeling empowered to lead SO athletes in health and fitness
Special Olympics BC – Creston’s Claire Lemaire is an enthusiastic Health Messenger in her community and an inspiring role model to others.
“I enjoyed staying active every day as best I could. I did [the Health Messenger training] on my own with my mom because we couldn’t meet in groups. We tried different activities and different places,” she says.
Lemaire has recently given Health Messenger presentations at her Local’s programs, sharing valuable information about health, such as ways to stay active during the winter season and talking about the benefits of hydration.
She is also active online, sharing on Facebook some practical health tips!
“I used Facebook to show other athletes what you could do if you did not or could not do your sports with your local SOBC athletes. I was a role model like some other athletes on the SOBC Wellness Challenges Group,” she says.
Huge thanks to all of Special Olympics BC’s Health Messengers for helping everyone have healthy lifestyles in communities across the province! Stay tuned for Health Messenger training opportunities coming up in 2023! You can be notified about upcoming courses by joining the SOBC Athlete Leadership Academy or by contacting SOBC Health Coordinator Bailey Macklem at email@example.com.