Celebrating the Power of Inclusion with Special Olympics in 2019

It is estimated that there are as many as 200 million people with intellectual disabilities around the world – more than the total population of Canada and the United Kingdom combined. Each of those individuals possesses unique talents, strengths and abilities that, when united, hold the potential to be a powerful force. Special Olympics uses the transformative power of sports to show that when we embrace inclusion, there is no limit to what we can achieve together.

Bank of America has partnered with Special Olympics for more than 30 years by supporting leadership and empowerment through sports on the field, and providing opportunities to achieve economic mobility and advancement off the field. Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019 is the most inclusive competition that Special Olympics has ever hosted. Special Olympics Unified Sports® teams are made up of athletes with and without intellectual disabilities, in celebration of the true meaning of inclusiveness. We are reminded that during these Games, and in our daily lives, we all have the power to look for opportunities to #ChooseToInclude.

Inclusion is a Team Effort

Téa Campbell and Zek Maldonado compete on a Unified volleyball team, which is a team that is made up of players with and without disabilities. For Zek and Téa, the Unified Sports teams are not about athletic ability or competition; they are about celebrating the joy that a team partnership can bring. Bank of America is committed to inclusion in a similar way – we aim to pursue togetherness and remain focused on the advancements that can be made for our customers, employees and community when we put these values into practice. Téa and Zek explain, “Playing on a Unified Sports team means that you can play with each other instead of playing against each other. It’s a group effort to accomplish a goal, and everyone feels like they belong.”

Sports as a Gateway to Acceptance and Teamwork

Through the community’s passion for sports, Special Olympics unlocks ways to promote a world of unity, tolerance and respect for athletes and those around them. Cori Davis is an accomplished equestrian athlete who has had a passion for horses since she was young. Sports have helped Cori open up to others, and learn the importance of acceptance and teamwork. “Horses accept everyone, and they don’t see disabilities,” she explains.

It is Bank of America’s long-standing commitment to support athletes like Cori, who show us how much we are capable of when we #ChooseToInclude.

Special Olympics is a Community

Bank of America is proud to partner with artist, graphic designer and photographer Chuck Anderson. Chuck’s sister, Paige, has intellectual disabilities and is an active member of Special Olympics. Through her passion for sports and involvement in Special Olympics, she has gained a supportive community of friends and mentors who embody what it means to be inclusive in sports, and supportive in daily life. Chuck has witnessed first-hand the transformative impact Special Olympics has had on Paige, beyond just competition on the field. “Athletes deserve to be represented as we would with any other athlete, and the inclusion that Special Olympics offers has made Paige feel loved and empowered.”

Bank of America is proud to support Special Olympics as they continue to promote and embody the true meaning of inclusion through sport, joy and a community of shared passion. This year, and every year, we are reminded that everyone wins when we choose to include.


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