Walk and Roll – Youth Innovation Grant Project

Written by:
Emi Carlson and Lilie Stoolman
Special Olympics CO Unified Partners

Special Olympics Colorado Unified partners, Lilie Stoolman and Emi Carlson are extremely passionate about Special Olympics and working alongside people with intellectual disabilities. One of their biggest goals as youth leaders for Special Olympics Colorado is to spread inclusion throughout their communities and make a positive impact. They received the Youth Innovation Grant from Special Olympics North America, which allows youth leaders all over North America to plan and implement projects to lead their schools and communities towards inclusion. Together, Emi and Lilie planned The Walk and Roll, a mile-long, parade style walk to celebrate intellectual differences and promote inclusion in Colorado. Their overall goal for the project was to get as many athletes involved as possible, so they had fitness captains at the beginning of the event, and an athlete emcee at the end of the event. They raised over $900, with over 75 participants in the parade celebrating inclusion.

Emi and Lilie created The Walk and Roll event in hopes to spread inclusion throughout their local and statewide community while bringing positive recognition to people with intellectual differences. The idea for The Walk and Roll event came from a dream Lilie had and she wrote it down a year before either of them knew about the Youth Innovation Grant. The entire event took them about two and a half months to plan and create. Emi and Lilie would call one another once a week to work on this project as well as they could from a distance.  While in the process of creating this project, they had countless ideas on how to work those ideas around COVID-19 restrictions. Lilie and Emi have a love for inclusion, and this event was held in hopes of inspiring people to live inclusive lifestyles. Overall, the event brought people closer together and created more friendships within the Special Olympics Colorado community. Thank you to everyone who came out to support this effort!

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