We are delighted to share a blog written by student Alejandro Manzanares from Lincoln School, who is part of a team delivering a Global Goals project for the 2019-20 Global Goals Competition.
Their project is among over 957 social action projects currently running as part of the GSL movement and we are excited to be supporting them to design and lead positive social change in their community.
A challenging but enriching journey where I learned how to be a leader by being actively engaged with members and volunteers by leading the team towards achieving Global Sustainability Goals to create a better community.
As a tennis competitor, the Special Olympic athletes and their undeniable physical and mental potential caught my attention and led me to start participating as an assistant coach. Their mental strength and discipline showed me how capable these individuals are.
They experience an undeniable exclusion in the Costa Rican society because there is a lack of knowledge and education about their capabilities, limiting their work opportunities and lives in social environments. These experiences motivated me to take the project to a whole new level and invite, Karina Serrano, my Unified Partner.
Building Health Through Sports is a social impact project focused on promoting an inclusive society for people with intellectual disabilities by recruiting volunteers, collecting donations, and organizing unified tournaments in schools and communities.
We are developing an App/Web platform, TIPT, a facilitator between Special Olympic members and companies to allow individuals with ID to have employment opportunities in CR.
The GSL Competition has helped me learn and develop crucial skills like being a good communicator, project management and planning, public speaking, and marketing skills to develop a digital footprint in the media. I have also developed deep sensibility towards achieving Sustainability goals.
This experience has served as a personal reflection, which allowed me to understand that I am very committed and passionate about this project and that I want to serve as an advocate of people with intellectual disabilities in my community and that I enjoy competing for a greater cause. As an advocate, I can communicate my knowledge to classmates and be able to inspire them so that they can have a positive impact on society.
Our biggest challenge so far was being able to organize and promote the activities in an efficient and timely manner. Our events ranged from sports like tennis to swimming, needing a different set up for each. We were able to overcome this situation by delegating work to volunteers and distributing roles and responsibilities to achieve our goals. We learned that teamwork is one of the most important abilities to be successful.
The Next Chapter
As an advocate for individuals with intellectual disabilities, I have learned the importance of being involved in projects like these. By getting involved, individuals my age can understand the realities people live in and the many challenges they face day-to-day. So, yes, I would definitely encourage people my age to get involved in their communities and empower their leadership potential. I believe education is key to a sustainable community and if people my age start educating themselves the future can be more inclusive and sustainable.
Us, young leaders are crucial to society because the future will be based on our decisions and empowerment. Therefore, I encourage young adults to act, get out of their comfort zones and empower themselves to be individuals that will leave a positive footprint in the world. Big change starts with small decisions and actions, by making these, positive impacts are made in people’s lives. I would encourage them to think big but start acting small, in their own schools, communities, sports clubs, and hometowns.
As for Building Health Through Sports’ future, we will keep encouraging a safe space for individuals with intellectual disabilities in Costa Rica by empowering their capabilities and opening as many opportunities for them as we can.
The 2019-20 GSL Global Goals Competition is now open and runs until June 2020. If you belong to one of the 700+ teams of students currently delivering a social action project as part of the competition we would love to hear from you and feature your blog and project photos on our website to inspire others.