Champions Together is a collaborative partnership between the Indiana High School Athletic Association and Special Olympics Indiana that promotes servant leadership among student athletes while changing their lives as well as the lives of those with intellectual disabilities.
Special Olympics International is supporting Champions Together as a model program to activate schools through “Project Unify” which also has the endorsement of the National Federation of High Schools.
Questions? Want to get your school involved? Contact Mike Hasch, Director of Unified Champion Schools.
The IHSAA SAC researched options and unanimously requested that an official partnership be formed with SO Indiana as the most appropriate fit for education-based athlete servant leadership. Special Olympics Inc. is supporting Champions Together as a model program to activate schools through “Project Unify” which also has the endorsement of the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) and the Indiana Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (IIAAA).
During the first full year of the program 26 schools were awarded the Champions Together awards banner for achieving all four (4) of Project Unify goals, 13 schools participated in the inaugural IHSAA Unified Track & Field state championship, participating schools raised in excess of $75,000 for the support of Champions Together activities and 197 high schools achieved at least one (1) of the Project Unify goals.
Unified Champion Schools
The Champions Together partnership will provide an award banner to all IHSAA member schools that meet the following Unified Champion Schools goals in the 2019-20 school year:
1 – All school sponsored activities must be planned, organized and administered by an Inclusive Student Leadership team that strives to do things WITH students with intellectual disabilities NOT FOR them.
2 – The school must participate in at least one activity designed around Whole School Engagement that promotes and encourages awareness, respect and inclusion of persons with intellectual disabilities.
3 – The school must organize and participate in at least one Unified Sportsactivity such as IHSAA Unified Track & Field and Flag Football, a Unified practice or clinic, or a Unified competition such as Unified Bocce or Unified Bowling with students with intellectual disabilities OR local Special Olympics athletes. Participation in Unified Fitness Clubs and/or Unified physical education meets the requirements as a Unified sport.
4 – Fundraising—the school must raise a minimum of $1500 (high schools), $750 (middle schools), and $250 (elementary schools) for the Champions Together project.
Financial Support of Champions Together
Through fundraising, schools have the power to “pass it forward” by providing additional opportunities for more students to become involved in the #InclusionRevolution!
If schools wish to make a ceremonial check presentation SO Indiana will attempt to have a representative in attendance.