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Sugar House Journal

High school teens meet to implement ways to unite communities

Mar 28, 2022 21h34 ● By Julie Slama

By Julie Slama | [email protected]

High school students from across the state will gather April 8 as part of the Special Olympics state youth activation committee.

About 40 high school students who participate in the Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools, which brings youth with and without intellectual disabilities together, will meet to learn how to make a positive impact in their school communities, said Unified Champion School’s college-growth coordinator Boston Iacobazzi, who coordinates Utah’s YAC.

At the conference, the Special Olympic athletes and their peers will learn teambuilding, learn how to work together and how to share their stories as inclusive student-leaders. In addition, there will be a teacher training offered to learn how best to support the program in schools.

“A lot of states are growing the YAC program and learning of its importance,” Iacobazzi said. “I’m super excited where ours is at.”

Utah introduced its youth activation committee this year and currently has 16 on its board. The group works together throughout the year to educate, motivate and activate youth to become agents of change in their communities and advocate for respect, inclusion and acceptance of all people, regardless of abilities.

Iacobazzi said that these youth are leaders by implementing programs that unify schools.

“The youth are driving every event, getting grants and planning what we’re doing,” Iacobazzi said. 

Already the group has promoted a statewide spirit week, participated in unified soccer and basketball programs, held a Disney Day at Westlake High and is planning a unified dance sponsored by Hillcrest High. 

First Lady Abby Cox has been invited to speak at the conference and Colorado YAC is planning on attending and participating in break-out sessions.