Advocating for and working with the special needs population is one of my greatest passions. A big draw to attending Central Michigan University for me was that Mount Pleasant is home to the Special Olympics Michigan headquarters. I knew that this was an organization I would love to get involved in, so when I had the opportunity to as part of my protocol for LAS I did.
Each member of LAS is required to be a member of a “lead team”. This is a group of students who are working together to create an event of project or event for a variety of things. I was fortunately given a spot on the Special Olympics lead team. Our goal on this team was to execute the Leadership Launch event.
Special Olympics has a mission called Project Unified, which promotes inclusion within schools and athletics. The Leadership Launch was a day long conference for students in Michigan who are a part of Project Unified. Each student with special needs has an average student “buddy”. At the conference, the students participated in different activities to promote the idea that they are all leaders.
One of the activities students participated in required them to share their aspirations and dreams for the world. When doing this many students said they hoped for things like:
- A world without “R-word”
- A world where everyone can communicate though sign language
- A world without discrimination
- A world with more kindness
- A world with equality
- A world of inclusion
In a world with so many complicated issues, its hard to understand why this list exists. Being kind is effortless, but instead, everyday, people are put down or pushed out. The world needs more inclusion. If everyday people took the time to smile to others, to show compassion, to help others, and to consider others, we could eliminate this list.
Together through just a change in behavior, we all have the ability to make the world a better place for all. I may not be able to end world hunger, war, poverty, or climate change, but I can change the way people feel.
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”- Maya Angelou