Using sport to bring people together and increase understanding of the abilities of individuals with intellectual disabilities, the Special Olympics movement is helping build the Inclusion Revolution with the Unified Generation that will lead the way to a more inclusive future.
Special Olympics BC is so fortunate to have received a range of impressive applications for our new Youth Engagement Project, which is funded by the Government of Canada under the Canada Service Corps. We are so excited to work with the selected participants who are bringing exciting ideas and inspiring passion to build a better world!
These champions are committed to increasing inclusion and respect for individuals with intellectual disabilities in their communities and creating empowering opportunities for Special Olympics athletes. Our movement is lucky to have them involved and leading the way to a more inclusive future!
The selected participants will come together for a summit on August 16 to 18 to help kick off their planning, and then will work with the Local Committees and SOBC staff to develop initiatives in their communities, building their own skills and creating benefits for everyone.
Sincere thanks to Government of Canada through the Canada Service Corps for funding this important project, to everyone to took the time to apply, and to all the members of the Special Olympics BC community who spread the word about this amazing opportunity!
Meet the inspiring changemakers who have been selected to participate in the Youth Engagement Project!
Recruitment and Awareness
Lucas Damant, Kootenays Region:
Lucas plans to develop recruitment materials for his Local Committee, in order to help get more people in his community involved with Special Olympics BC. A long-term goal for Lucas is to help get a FUNdamentals program up and running in his community.
Sanjana Karthik, Fraser Valley Region:
Sanjana is currently a valued Special Olympics volunteer and champion of Spread the Word: Inclusion in the community. Sanjana is interested in taking on a new initiative expanding on the UBC Youth x SOBC Project, where opportunities will be organized for athletes to teach their sport in local elementary schools, using sport to break down barriers between individuals with and without intellectual disabilities and create leadership opportunities for Special Olympics athletes.
Donald Lin, Fraser River-Delta Region:
Donald is hoping to creatively promote awareness and recruit people to Special Olympics BC by hosting a series of inclusion-focused events.
Megan Owens, Fraser Valley Region:
Megan is already a dedicated SOBC volunteer who serves as SOBC – Chilliwack’s Co-Volunteer Coordinator, and she has led Spread the Word: Inclusion initiatives in local schools. She plans to work with Special Olympics athletes to promote inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities through elementary schools, expanding on the UBC Youth x SOBC Project. She is hoping to do so by organizing opportunities for athletes to teach their sport in elementary schools throughout her community, using sport to break down barriers between individuals with and without intellectual disabilities and create leadership opportunities for Special Olympics athletes.
Ronak Sheikhi, Vancouver Island Region:
Ronak has presented inspiring project proposals, all with the aim of ensuring that “individuals with special abilities are placed in an inclusive and positive environment, where they are able to develop/improve their physical literacy skills, develop friendship, and gain confidence in their athletic abilities.” Ronak’s project ideas centre around fitness programming opportunities and a storytelling documentary designed to attract new participants to Special Olympics. The final project selection will be made in conjunction with the Local.
Rachel Simes, Fraser Valley Region:
Rachel, who is already a valued Special Olympics volunteer, aims to run professional development for staff within her school district. Her goal is to help others to obtain knowledge about Special Olympics BC and the positive impact sports can have on child development and growth.
Cassandra Thummerer, Cariboo-North East Region:
Cassandra is looking forward to bringing the Spread the Word: Inclusion initiative to her community. The campaign, created and reimagined by youth, is intended to engage schools, organizations, and communities to rally and pledge their support of the inclusion and acceptance of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Arshia Uppal, Fraser Valley Region:
Arshia is excited to develop an initiative titled “Project Inclusivity.” Arshia hopes to promote inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities by working with Special Olympics athletes to visit elementary schools and teach the students about inclusivity and Special Olympics BC. The project will use sport to bring together people with and without intellectual disabilities, erasing misconceptions and empowering the inclusive, unified generation of the future.
Angela Wang, Vancouver-Squamish Region:
Angela is aiming to raise awareness about Special Olympics BC and the importance of inclusion by inviting members of her community to an inclusion fair.
Bremiella De Guzman, Fraser Valley Region:
Bremiella aims to host a series of events in her community that will raise funds and awareness for people with intellectual disabilities by providing them with leadership opportunities. One of her fundraising ideas is to develop a fashion event that features people with ID as the main models.
Pavneet Kalsi, Vancouver-Squamish Region:
Pavneet is planning to develop a Special Olympics BC Fitness Event Series to raise funds and awareness for people with intellectual disabilities.
Anneke Cairnie, Fraser Valley Region:
Anneke is very passionate about basketball and is planning to develop a unified 3-on-3 tournament titled “We All Ball” for her school district in Langley.
Jessica Kerr, Vancouver Island Region:
Jessica is an Adaptive Physical and Healthy Education teacher who has been involved in Special Olympics BC school sports. She plans to expand SOBC school sport programming in her school and enhance their Adaptive Physical and Healthy Education program.
Avery Lane, Vancouver-Squamish Region:
Avery’s family has already been giving their time to Special Olympics, and now Avery aims to bring high school students and Special Olympics BC athletes together to develop inclusion through fun sport opportunities fostering friendly competition and teamwork.
James Shi, Fraser Valley Region:
James feels he has learned many life skills through the power of sport, and he plans to implement inclusive sport opportunities for others that will enhance their lives and his community.
Ishita Agarwal, Vancouver-Squamish Region:
Ishita is hoping to expand upon the nutrition component of Fit Families and Friends that encourages healthy eating habits for people with intellectual disabilities and their family members. She is planning to do this by not only using recipe cards but by actually having stations that allow everyone to cook together.
Troy Boucher, Fraser River-Delta Region:
Troy is planning on developing a day camp for adolescents and young adults with intellectual disabilities to attend where they can make new friends, learn about healthy diets and physical activity, play exciting games, engage in physical activities, and learn about the resources that are available to them and their families through Special Olympics BC. The current Lab Manager for the SFU Autism and Developmental Disorders Lab, Troy is already making a difference with his involvement in the Champions for Inclusive Health initiative.
Calista Chau, Vancouver-Squamish Region:
Calista is hoping to develop a similar program to Fit Families and Friends but focusing on providing opportunities for people with intellectual disabilities and their families to exercise together indoors. She aims to do this by using full-body video games (such as those that are available on X-Box Live) to encourage fun fitness activities among family members and friends.
Vivianna Latjor, Fraser Valley Region:
Vivianna will work to develop local initiatives similar to SOBC Fit Families & Friends, in order to promote athlete health and wellness through inclusive activity.
Zakia Tasneem, Fraser Valley Region:
Zakia is passionate about teaching the value of enhancing communication skills and developing self-awareness, seeking to help others build stronger presence and focus as well as improved mental health and resilience to succeed in life.