As a high school student, Mason Bird spent much of his spare time actively serving his local community. Aside from coaching youth soccer at Upward Sports and volunteering for Operation Christmas Child, Mason Bird also volunteered for the Special Olympics, serving as a mentor to one of the organization’s athletes.
Here is a brief overview of the Special Olympics’ Project UNIFY program.
As one of several core programs of the Special Olympics, Project UNIFY combines education and sports to inspire America’s youth to become agents of change in their school communities. Started in 2007, this program is designed to encourage respect for all individuals, including those with intellectual disabilities, among young people. There are several ways in which individuals can participate with Project UNIFY, including serving as a mentor to a young athlete, bringing the Project UNIFY message into the classroom, or becoming a coach for the Special Olympics.
An idea first conceived in the early 1960s by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, the Special Olympics has blossomed from a summer camp hosted by Ms. Shriver in her backyard into an international movement that has helped shape the lives of athletes with disabilities since 1968. Today, the organization is comprised of 1 million registered athletes who participate in the World Winter and World Summer Games, as well as many local competitions.