Special Olympics Northern California (SONC) and its Youth Activation Committee (YAC) hosted a fun-filled week of events and campaigns during Inclusive Spirit Week from March 1-5.
Inclusive Spirit Week was built around the Spread the Word >> Inclusion movement, formally Spread the Word to End the Word. It recognizes the need to build connections and ensure that everyone feels seen, heard, and valued on campus and in their communities.
Inclusive Spirit Week was driven through social media and encouraged schools, teachers, administrators and students to share and be involved. Activity appeared largely through the new @sonc_yac Instagram account. Daily events were:
- A challenge to learn and share a positive message in American Sign Language or another unique style of communication.
- A call to wear the most colorful tie-day clothing and create virtual high-fives with classmates, students or peers.
- The official Spread the Word >> Inclusion global day of activation. Everyone was encouraged to share a photo or video explaining what inclusion means to them; and sign the 2021 Pledge to Respect and Spread the Word.
- A look back at before COVID-19, this was a challenge to post a favorite photo or video memory of a Special Olympics event at school.
- Students and staff were encouraged to wear their favorite sports team gear. More than 700 students also took part in a live virtual workout with San Francisco 49ers PREP.
The SONC YAC was primarily responsible for the planning and execution of Inclusive Spirit Week. The YAC is comprised of students with and without disabilities who work together to learn, grow friendships, and create change.
To round out Inclusive Spirit Week, SONC hosted an Inclusive Essay Contest for students. Check out the winning essay below from Aries, an 11th grader from Hayward High School:
Perfect Doesn’t Matter
I see, I hear, I feel & I love,
Perfect doesn’t matter.
What I see is beautiful
What I hear is musical
What I feel is serene
& I love all.
I don’t see ugly
I don’t hear bad
I don’t feel disgusted
& I love all.
In my eyes I see beauty
In my ears I hear grace
In my soul I feel love
We are all exactly the same
Because perfect doesn’t matter.