NYS Council on Leadership & Student Activities Selects Special Olympics New York as Three-Year Charity Partner

Students from 50 Middle and High School Student Councils To Fundraise, Advocate for Unified Sports

Lake Placid, NY – The New York State Council on Leadership & Student Activities, which includes student council members from 50 middle and high schools across the state, has selected Special Olympics New York as its charity partner for three years, through academic year 2021-22.

Students began fundraising for Special Olympics New York this fall and presented the organization with its first check at a recent annual statewide conference in Lake Placid attended by nearly 700 students and advisers.

At the conference, students learned more about Special Olympics Unified Sports, where students with and without intellectual disabilities compete together on the same interscholastic sports team. They set a goal of 100 percent participation in the Unified Champion Schools program by 2022. Approximately 40 percent of NYSCLSA member schools currently participate.

“Today’s students are the Unified Generation. They value social equality, justice and inclusion, and they are creating more and more school communities where the abilities of all students are acknowledged and celebrated,” said Special Olympics New York President & CEO Stacey Hengsterman. “We are grateful and so proud to be working with NYSCLSA to ensure that New York’s students and schools continue to lead the ‘inclusion revolution’.”

“Our student council members are really amazing. They rise to the challenge each year, raising funds to support a charity of choice,” said NYSCLSA Executive Director Roberta Bittel. “This year, we wanted to take it to the next level—spend more time getting to know an organization and have a greater impact by making a three-year commitment. Special Olympics is redefining so many of our schools across the state through Unified Sports and community engagement. We are thrilled to be partnering with them as they mark 50 years of sports and inclusion in New York State.”

NYSCLSA students at the conference kicked off the Special Olympics New York partnership with a pledge to #ChooseToInclude, agreeing to advocate for school communities where all students are welcome, accepted and included.

A video of hundreds of students taking the pledge at the conference is available online.

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About New York State Council on Leadership & Student Activities

Founded in 1987, NYSCLSA helps develop leadership skills in high school and middle school students across New York State. Created by students and their advisers, NYSCLSA offers students the opportunity to learn, share and network with their peers in a safe and supervised environment. They lead many programs that assist students in furthering their skills in civic awareness, team building and goal setting. Learn more at: http://nysclsa.org/index.html.

About Special Olympics New York

Celebrating its 50th anniversary, Special Olympics New York is the largest state chapter in the country, serving more than 67,000 athletes across New York with year-round sports training, athletic competition, and health screenings. The organization also partners with more than 170 schools statewide to offer Unified Sports. All Special Olympics New York programs are offered at no cost to athletes, their families or caregivers. For additional information about Special Olympics New York, to learn more about getting involved, or to make a donation, visit www.specialolympicsNY.org.

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