Winter Highlights

We are so excited that your school has joined the inclusion revolution, and we can’t wait to continue the school year with Whole School Engagement activities, Inclusive Youth Leadership opportunities, and Unified Sports. We encourage you to share this newsletter with your students and read these updates together.
Component 1:
Whole School Engagement

Join us as we plunge to support the mission of Special Olympics Florida! This year we are doing it up BIGGER and better than ever, and we want you to join in all the fun! 

#COOLSCHOOLPLUNGE is a way to support Special Olympics Florida and have some fun. We want you to be creative and have fun as you take the virtual plunge. But we want you to be safe too, so please don’t do anything dangerous. Here are a few ideas you can try: take a cold shower or fill your bathtub with ice cubes (remember to wear a swimsuit), plunge in your pool, plunge at the beach, run through a sprinkler, have your favorite action figure plunge into a water cup, or get sprayed with a hose outside. Most of all have fun! And the can earn some cool prizes!

Upcoming in-person plunges are on March 5 in Tampa and March 26 in St. Johns. Register your school today and create a team.
Unified Sports events and field days have officially kicked off in early 2022! Several campuses have already started the party with whole school engagement opportunities complementing sports and play! So far, we've seen drum corps, torch parades, choirs, lunch buddies, school resource officers, art posters, and many more joining in on these special UNIFIED occasions!
Component 2:
Inclusive Youth Leadership

Thank you to everyone who made a visit or donation this year at Publix as part of our Torch Icon Campaign in January. On behalf of our 60,000 athletes, their families, coaches and volunteers, we appreciate your support as we gear up for a special year celebrating our 50th anniversary. Students and staff from Spruce Creek High School helped raise awareness by making store visits in Volusia County. Great work!
2022 Spread the Word >> Inclusion day is just around the corner on Wednesday, March 2. You can take action today to make your school more inclusive with this year's theme Champions of Change. Seek out someone who has been left out, isolated, or bullied. Sit with them. Welcome them. Be a friend. Be a teammate. The actions that you take for inclusion are unique to you, but they contribute to a shared global goal. Our individual actions can combine to create a new and inclusive world. Make your pledge for inclusion today and spread the word!

How will you be a champion of change this year?
  • Take action for inclusion.
  • Be a friend. Be a teammate.
  • Plan a Spread the Word event to encourage your community to take the pledge.
How can you build a more inclusive future for your community?
  • Bring new ideas to your school or community.
  • Get your community involved in Special Olympics Florida through school clubs, volunteering, and more.
  • Encourage connection. Reach out to your friends, peers, and community members.
Who are the champions of change in your life?
  • Who in your community is already working to build a more inclusive future?
  • Who inspires you to be more inclusive?
  • Who do you look up to or go to for support?
Component 3: Unified Sports

FHSAA Basketball - Fourteen teams competed in league play games throughout the winter, with Regionals on February 18 in Tavares. Congratulations to all teams who participated! Four teams will advance and compete at the FHSAA State Championships in the Unified division on February 25 and March 4.

Young Athletes, Little ELITES, Rising Stars and competitive Unified Sports programs are busy training this winter! Contact us to make plans for your culminating events.
The Special Olympics University of Central Florida College Club hosted local Special Olympics athletes for a fun-filled day of Unified basketball games on February 5. UCF students had a blast as Unified partners and athletes, parents and spectators enjoyed the inclusive event so much!
Meet the Staff at Special Olympics Florida
We are here to assist you with your Unified Champions Schools program.

Danielle Kent, Manager, Unified Champion Schools, Health & Fitness, 352-242-7770

Jana Arnette, Manager, Unified Champion City Schools - Jacksonville, 904-568-6681

Meredith Narayanan, Sr Director, Unified Champion Schools & Non-Competitive Programs, 352-727-5097
March 2, 2022
(statewide & virtual)

March 5 and 26, 2022
Polar Plunge - Cool Schools in Tampa and St. Johns
(statewide & virtual)

April 2022
2022 Special Olympics Florida Virtual Youth Summit (stay tuned for registration & details)

May 2, 2022
Open registration for 2022-2023
Unified Champion Schools program

June 5-12, 2022
(Unified Champion Schools and Young Athletes are invited to attend, learn and support fellow athletes.)