Special Olympics Develops Curriculum and Opportunities to Eradicate Stigma and Transform Attitudes in Schools Nationwide

Service Learning Opens Doors to Students to Embrace Differences



Apr 03, 2001, 01:00 ET from Special Olympics

    WASHINGTON, April 3 /PRNewswire/ -- To help alter attitudes and
 stereotypes about individuals with mental retardation and create caring,
 inclusive environments in schools nationwide, Special Olympics has developed a
 curriculum and recommended service learning opportunities as the portal for
 change.  Refinement of the curriculum and recommendations came during a series
 of meetings Special Olympics hosted involving education, service learning, and
 Special Olympics professionals this past weekend in Washington, D.C.
     "There are serious underlying social problems in schools today and metal
 detectors don't detect alienation, depression and the loneliness that kids
 face due to social pressures, stereotyping, and a fear of being different,"
 said Timothy P. Shriver, President and CEO of Special Olympics. "Lessons
 learned from service to and participation in Special Olympics are those of
 acceptance, inclusion, tolerance and inspiration and teach students about
 caring, respectful environments."
     On Friday, March 30, Special Olympics brought together key professionals
 to discuss ways in which Special Olympics can integrate a Service Learning
 Curriculum into schools across America. Participants included: Terry Pickeral,
 Executive Director of the Education Commission of the States; Dr. Marilyn
 Smith, Executive Director of Communities in Schools; Dr. Nancy Miller, Project
 Director of Opening School House Doors Program; representatives of other
 leading youth service movements throughout the United States as well as a
 variety of Special Olympics staff and consultants. Their actions will help
 formulate new partnerships between Special Olympics and the service learning
 agencies at the local, state, national, and global level that will ultimately
 benefit thousands of young people both with and without mental retardation.
     Throughout the weekend, educators and Special Olympics staff refined the
 Special Olympics - Get Into It! Service Learning Curriculum, which will be
 ready for distribution to, schools this Fall. The curriculum offers lesson
 plans that help students gain an understanding and appreciation of individuals
 with mental retardation and opens doors for service learning opportunities
 with Special Olympics for them. Additionally, it will create opportunities for
 students with mental disabilities to become involved in a variety of year-
 round sports activities within their schools and communities.
     The curriculum will incorporate a video of a Nick News Special Edition: "A
 World of Difference" which explores the lives of kids with mental disabilities
 and discusses the stigma they face. Hosted by award-winning journalist Linda
 Ellerbee and featuring Shriver, the special was taped at the first-ever
 Special Olympics Global Youth Summit on March 7, 2001, in Alaska. The Summit
 brought together students with and without mental disabilities from around the
 world to discuss the importance of respect, tolerance, acceptance, and
 friendship. These students are now the Special Olympics Global Youth Advisory
 Council and will spend the next two years expanding Special Olympics in their
 schools and communities.
 
     Special Olympics is an international year-round program of sports training
 and competition for individuals with mental retardation.  More than one
 million athletes in over 160 countries train and compete in 26 Olympic-type
 summer and winter sports.  Founded in 1968 by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, Special
 Olympics provides people with mental retardation continuing opportunities to
 develop fitness, demonstrate courage, and experience joy as they participate
 in the sharing of gifts and friendship with other athletes, their families and
 the community.  There is no cost to participate in Special Olympics.
 
     Visit Special Olympics online at http://www.specialolympics.org or
 on AOL (Keyword: Special Olympics).
 
 

SOURCE Special Olympics
    WASHINGTON, April 3 /PRNewswire/ -- To help alter attitudes and
 stereotypes about individuals with mental retardation and create caring,
 inclusive environments in schools nationwide, Special Olympics has developed a
 curriculum and recommended service learning opportunities as the portal for
 change.  Refinement of the curriculum and recommendations came during a series
 of meetings Special Olympics hosted involving education, service learning, and
 Special Olympics professionals this past weekend in Washington, D.C.
     "There are serious underlying social problems in schools today and metal
 detectors don't detect alienation, depression and the loneliness that kids
 face due to social pressures, stereotyping, and a fear of being different,"
 said Timothy P. Shriver, President and CEO of Special Olympics. "Lessons
 learned from service to and participation in Special Olympics are those of
 acceptance, inclusion, tolerance and inspiration and teach students about
 caring, respectful environments."
     On Friday, March 30, Special Olympics brought together key professionals
 to discuss ways in which Special Olympics can integrate a Service Learning
 Curriculum into schools across America. Participants included: Terry Pickeral,
 Executive Director of the Education Commission of the States; Dr. Marilyn
 Smith, Executive Director of Communities in Schools; Dr. Nancy Miller, Project
 Director of Opening School House Doors Program; representatives of other
 leading youth service movements throughout the United States as well as a
 variety of Special Olympics staff and consultants. Their actions will help
 formulate new partnerships between Special Olympics and the service learning
 agencies at the local, state, national, and global level that will ultimately
 benefit thousands of young people both with and without mental retardation.
     Throughout the weekend, educators and Special Olympics staff refined the
 Special Olympics - Get Into It! Service Learning Curriculum, which will be
 ready for distribution to, schools this Fall. The curriculum offers lesson
 plans that help students gain an understanding and appreciation of individuals
 with mental retardation and opens doors for service learning opportunities
 with Special Olympics for them. Additionally, it will create opportunities for
 students with mental disabilities to become involved in a variety of year-
 round sports activities within their schools and communities.
     The curriculum will incorporate a video of a Nick News Special Edition: "A
 World of Difference" which explores the lives of kids with mental disabilities
 and discusses the stigma they face. Hosted by award-winning journalist Linda
 Ellerbee and featuring Shriver, the special was taped at the first-ever
 Special Olympics Global Youth Summit on March 7, 2001, in Alaska. The Summit
 brought together students with and without mental disabilities from around the
 world to discuss the importance of respect, tolerance, acceptance, and
 friendship. These students are now the Special Olympics Global Youth Advisory
 Council and will spend the next two years expanding Special Olympics in their
 schools and communities.
 
     Special Olympics is an international year-round program of sports training
 and competition for individuals with mental retardation.  More than one
 million athletes in over 160 countries train and compete in 26 Olympic-type
 summer and winter sports.  Founded in 1968 by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, Special
 Olympics provides people with mental retardation continuing opportunities to
 develop fitness, demonstrate courage, and experience joy as they participate
 in the sharing of gifts and friendship with other athletes, their families and
 the community.  There is no cost to participate in Special Olympics.
 
     Visit Special Olympics online at http://www.specialolympics.org or
 on AOL (Keyword: Special Olympics).
 
 SOURCE  Special Olympics