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*note: Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools is formerly known as Project UNIFY. New name, same great program!


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The Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools program is a national, education-based program conducted in schools, which uses the sports and education programs of Special Olympics to activate young people to promote respect, dignity, and advocacy for people with intellectual disabilities. Special Olympics Hawaii believes that through sports, young people can make a difference in friendships, schools, and communities.

The Unified Schools program is implemented through inclusive activities that support the program’s three main components. Each component focuses on promoting friendships and respect between students with and without intellectual disabilities.

Unified Sports

Inclusive Youth Leadership and Advocacy

Whole School Engagement



National Banner Recognition

Hilo High School

A Special Olympics Unified Champion School has an inclusive school climate and exudes a sense of collaboration, engagement and respect for all members of the student body and staff. A Unified Champion School receiving national banner recognition is one that has demonstrated commitment to inclusion by meeting 10 national standards of excellence. These standards were developed by a national panel of leaders from Special Olympics and the education community. Please see the attached award letter and list of standards.


2016-2017 National Banner Schools in Hawaii

Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School, Lihue, Kauai

Governor Wallace Rider Farrington High School, Honolulu, Oahu

Hilo High School, Hilo, Hawaii


Congratulations schools! Learn more on the national site.



Why Unified?

The magic of the Unified Schools program is manifested in the inclusive friendships formed, seeing paired youth in action as leaders, and creating communities of caring and respect.

The program sees results.

  • 79% of Unified teammates without disabilities reported increased understanding of people with intellectual disabilities.
  • 81% of students say that the Unified Strategy is changing their school for the better.

Unified Schools Resources


Waialua Bulldogs promote unity

For information about getting involved in Unified Schools or how Special Olympics Hawaii can support your school, contact:

Mollie Bruhl

Unified Schools Manager

Special Olympics Hawaii


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Want to receive the monthly SO Unified Hawaii e-newsletter? Just let Mollie know.



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