The things that happen in a community have an impact on everyone who lives there. Our communities are where our children learn, play, and grow up, so what happens in them is important in how children develop and see the world. Making sure our communities are accepting and positive environments is essential for giving our children everything they need to live happy, healthy lives.
That’s exactly what we aim to do at the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, as our mission is to enable all young people to reach their potential. One of the ways we’ve done this is by partnering with Special Olympics Mississippi to create inclusive communities in the Mississippi Delta. Through this partnership, we’ve worked to build Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools that bring together athletes with intellectual disabilities and students without disabilities to create opportunities for everyone to enjoy sports together.
You can watch this video to see how we’ve done so and the impact it has had on the children involved, as well as on the community as a whole.
As you can see, community inclusion is important not just for the children and athletes involved, but also for their teachers, coaches, parents, and countless others in the community. Here are some of the key ways our partnership benefits our communities:
- Creating Friendships - First, these opportunities help individuals in the communities to bond with one another and create friendships. This is particularly true for the children who take part in sports and activities. But it also allows others to connect as well. For example, coaches build relationships with the players, their parents, other coaches, and more. This helps to promote an environment of friendliness and respect, which teaches children valuable lessons about how to treat one another.
- Celebrating Diversity - Another way this partnership benefits our communities is by celebrating diversity. The children who take part in these sports and activities come from different backgrounds, have different abilities, and have each lived through different experiences. Coming together to form teams of kids from diverse backgrounds helps us to celebrate our differences and improves the overall community by teaching everyone that diversity is a good thing.
- Including Everyone - Finally, our partnership focuses on inclusivity and giving every child an opportunity to be involved. Whether it’s playing basketball, being a part of the cheer squad, taking part in other club activities, or anything else, everyone deserves the chance to do the things they want to do and the things they enjoy. Through our partnership, we ensure that all of the kids in our communities have those opportunities, and that provides many adults with the chance to become coaches, teachers, and mentors as well.
At the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Mississippi Delta, we are proud to partner with the Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools and work together to do whatever it takes to build great futures.
One of the main ways we do this is through our afterschool programs, which provide a safe place for all children where they have access to homework help, fitness activities, workforce development, literacy activities, and more.
Each of our programs and clubs provides kids with a safe place to play, learn, exercise, and receive nutritious foods. Find out how you can get involved with our organization by signing your child up for a club or afterschool program, making a donation, or volunteering to help our cause today!