Human Health & Discrimination at the Special Olympics Canada 2014 Summer Games
School of Kinesiology

Our project started as a KIN 465 class project where we were challenged to recommend strategies to make the Special Olympics Canada 2014 Summer Games an event that promotes UBC student, staff, and community involvement and well-being pre-, during, and post-Games. We accepted this challenge and collaborated with partners all over campus to create a project proposal which highlighted key events and programs to achieve our goal.

We believe there is a lack of knowledge and awareness of the Special Olympics amongst students, staff, and the University community. This lack of information may lead to the creation of stereotypes and prejudices, which produce an inaccurate portrayal of the Special Olympics and their athletes. Moreover, a key factor in Special Olympian success is rooted in motivation, one of the main categories being social approval. With this in mind, we are hoping to engage the UBC community by bridging the gap between assumptions and the wealth of opportunity and success that is tied to the Special Olympic Games. We are aiming to increase awareness, promote education, and decrease discrimination and stigma associated with the Special Olympics.

Key programs/events:

1. Hosting a UBC Thrive Week event to asses the level of awareness of the Special Olympics, intellectual disabilities, and the 2014 Summer Games coming to UBC.

2. Hosting Special Olympians for a free-throw charity contest during a UBC Varsity Basketball game. This event was hosted on Feb 15, 2014 and was very well received by both athletes and game attendees. We promoted awareness for the Special Olympics, raised $500 for SOBC and the 2014 Summer Games, engaged the crowd, and recruited volunteers.

3. Applied for funding ($20,000) from a Telus community grant to help finance our projects.

4. SOBC-UBC Varsity athlete collaborative heat for Storm the Wall (March 23-27).

5. Creating the UBC BUILD club (Building Understanding of Intelectual Disabilities) mandated to:

a. Provide resources to the UBC community with volunteer and/or employment opportunities to work with individuals with intellectual disabilities. This particularly caters to individuals searching for pre-professional experience working with individuals with intellectual disabilities.

b. Promote awareness, advocate, and circulate knowledge of intellectual disabilities (and it’s distinction from mental and physical disability) to all members of the UBC community

c. Act as a liaison between organizations assisting individuals living with intellectual disabilities (ie. SOBC, Canucks Autism Network) and UBC students, faculty, and community members.

6. Host general meetings for all students, staff, and community members assisting with the preparation of the 2014 Summer Games. This meeting will aim to connect and assist with the collaboration of projects as well as open a discussion for the sustainability of project efforts.

Team Members: Emily Ryan, Rachel Brodeur, Kimberley Jung, and Rhiannon Evans

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