Faith In Action: Introducing Special Olympics
Materials for Activity
- A copy of the story (poem) “Like Me”
- Optional: Session 1, Activity 1, Love Surrounds Us – Song
- Optional: Session 2, Activity 2, Love Surrounds Us – Circle Game
- Optional: Computer with Internet access, and a large monitor or digital projector
Preparation for Activity
- Explore the Special Olympics website. Click on “Find A Special Olympics Near You” to locate local games and resources. Use the “Stories” link to view slide shows and videos, and (optional) choose one or more to share with the group. Print pages you wish to share with children and their families.
- Consult with the religious educator to choose a day, time, and place for a family gathering. Invite the children’s families to come and learn about Special Olympics and plan a way to support the national organization and/or local competitions. If you wish to engage the wider congregation, spread the word.
- Invite guest speakers who are knowledgeable about Special Olympics and/or athletes who have participated in Special Olympics games. Find out if any of the children’s families have volunteered or participated in Special Olympics, and invite them to share their experiences, too. Support guest speakers by offering to print information they suggest as handouts.
- Optional: Set up and test equipment immediately before the presentation.
Description of Activity
Children, their families, and the congregation learn about Special Olympics and plan actions to support the national organization or local games.
Welcome families and guests. Introduce the Love Surrounds Us program. Explain that the goals of Session 3 include an understanding of our first UU Principle, that each person is unique and valuable. Share the story (poem) “Like Me” and invite participants to respond. You might prompt: What is the speaker in the poem saying to us?
Introduce the visitors. Invite each visitor to share their response to the poem. Then, facilitate speakers, any video presentation you have planned, and questions and answers. Make sure you allow time for the children to ask questions.
If there are local games that the congregation could help support, ask for a small group of volunteers to work with the religious educators or appropriate congregational leaders to develop a plan for next steps. Families may also choose to volunteer on their own, or perhaps work together with local groups (or other nearby Unitarian Universalist congregations). Make sure there are opportunities for the children to be actively engaged in the event.
If there are no Special Olympics games in your area, plan a fundraiser such as a “field day” with games that all ages can play, or a bake sale.
Close the gathering by having the children lead the song “Love Surrounds Me.” You may also wish to do the circle game from Session 2, Activity 2 with the song.
Make plans to communicate with families and the wider congregation about next steps and to have participants gather, after the volunteer event, to process and celebrate their experiences. Remember to arrange for volunteers to take plenty of photographs or video!