For this first time ever, Special Olympics Virginia offered a Youth Leadership Experience (YLE) at the 2019 Summer Games. The program brought together high school students, with and without intellectual disabilities, from across Virginia for a weekend of volunteering and training on how to be agents of change within their schools and communities. Two programs participated in the event, Wakefield High School (Arlington) and Monacan High School (Chesterfield).
We gave each of the schools a Polaroid camera and asked them to document their experience at the games! Here is what one of those schools, Wakefield, shared with us.
Pictured left to right: Mrs. Mckenzie, Hannah, Angie.
Angie's "Graham was funny."
Mrs. Mckenzie: "Graham made a lasting impression. He was very helpful, he stayed with us and guided us when we were at St. Christopher's School. It was great seeing him greet and speak with so many people. I enjoyed hearing stories about Special Olympics and different places he has visited."
Angie said: "I made new friends. I had fun!"
Mrs. McKenzie: "I am so happy that we were given this opportunity to attend YLE. It was an amazing experience. I was inspired and moved by what I saw. People sharing laughter, excitement, friendship, support, happiness, and love. I loved so much of what I experienced I can't say I have a favorite. However, I would like to mention two activities that I enjoyed. I enjoyed our "story telling interviews", which involved asking different athletes what they liked about Special Olympics. I also enjoyed learning about Healthy Athletes. Special Olympics is truly bringing opportunities and fighting for inclusion. We are happy to say that we are a part of Special Olympics."
To learn more about how you can get your school involved, visit our School Based Programs page.