Lions and Leos in Romania have a long history of teaming up with Special Olympics to organize inclusive sports competitions. Through the “Mission: Inclusion” program between Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF) and Special Olympics, Lions and Leos are dedicated to promoting inclusion through sports.
I truly believe that the Lions Quest program can positively influence the lives and behavior of the participants in the Special Olympics competitions.
Lions, Leos and LCIF
These competitions, comprised of players with and without intellectual disabilities, not only give confidence to the Special Olympics athletes, but leave all participants with a new sense of understanding. The games are a brilliant way of showing that people who have intellectual disabilities have the skills necessary to be competitive athletes and active members of their communities. LCIF is proud to be partnering with Special Olympics to promote inclusion and create positive change for this often overlooked group of people.
Recent sport competitions included swimming, sprinting, table tennis, basketball, football and the Special Olympics Unified Football Tournament. Lions and Leos in Romania support the games by participating in the competitions, offering food and water and performing eye screenings for the Special Olympics participants.
A perfect combination: Lions Quest and Special Olympics
Several of the Special Olympics coaches involved with these sport events attended Lions Quest workshops last year and keep the spirit of Lions Quest lessons in their coaching. Lions Quest, an evidence-based social and emotional learning (SEL) curriculum, is LCIF’s flagship youth development initiative. The program teaches children in pre-kindergarten through grade 12 lessons in positive behavior, anti-bullying, drug and alcohol awareness, character education and service learning, while creating a stronger connection to school. Romanian Lions have been awarded grants by LCIF to implement Lions Quest in their schools. Lions Quest promotes an inclusive environment in which all children, regardless of whether or not they have a disability, can learn.
Encouraging future goals
The Lions in Romania hope that in the future, they can organize a Lions Quest workshop specifically for Special Olympics coaches, as social and emotional education is at the heart of acceptance and inclusion. Lions Quest training will help coaches incorporate SEL strategies into their coaching practices, which will generate relationship-centered sports through character education and team building.
“I truly believe that the Lions Quest program can positively influence the lives and behavior of the participants in the Special Olympics competitions,” said Marin Florin, Director of Lions Quest in Romania
Visit LCIF.org/BE100 to learn how Campaign 100 will sponsor and deliver programs addressing the distinct needs of at-risk and vulnerable populations, such as the elderly, the disabled, females, orphans and others disproportionately impacted by social and economic factors and requiring special services.
Jamie Konigsfeld is the marketing content specialist at Lions Clubs International Foundation.