Smithfield-Selma High school students Savanah Allen and Nathaniel Beliveau spoke to Senators and the House of Representatives about the impact that Unified Champions School Program has had on their high school experience on February 14, 2023 for this year’s Capitol Hill Day.
Capitol Hill Day is an important advocacy event that Special Olympics puts on every year. Its purpose is to connect government leaders and Special Olympics athletes from across the country in small group meetings. Special Olympic athletes with support from Unified Partners and staff members share their personal stories and experiences about how the Unified Champion Schools (UCS) program and Special Olympics have impacted their lives. This year, representatives from 50 states met with 237 government officials to share their stories.
Savanah Allen and Nathaniel Beliveau represented UCS for North Carolina in their goal to convince government leaders to provide additional funding for UCS and Inclusive Health. This experience is an example of inclusive leadership, one of the three tenets of UCS; the other two tenets are Unified sports and whole school engagement.
Nathaniel said, “I’m ready to tell everyone about Unified across the world.”
They were accompanied by Keith Fishburne, CEO of Special Olympics of North Carolina (SONC), Kelly Vaughn, Vice President of SONC, Jennifer Wardlow, Special Olympic athlete and staff member at SONC, and Bethany Jones, Unified Spartan club advisor.