In 2018, the Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP) partnered with Special Olympics to implement Young Athletes, which is a program offered children with and without disabilities, the opportunity to play and learn together.
Special Olympics is a global movement that unleashes the human spirit every day around the world through the transformative power and joy of sport. In 2018, the Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP) partnered with Special Olympics to implement Young Athletes - an inclusive pre-sport and play program for children, ages three to seven. The program offered children with and without disabilities, the opportunity to play and learn together. During our 2018 pilot, 24 families from three installations participated their local program, delivered on their installation.
At the conclusion of the multi-week program, we asked participating families to complete a survey to tell us if the program met their expectations. Here’s what families told us:
91 percent of participants would recommend Young Athletes to a friend and 81 percent would participate again, if offered.
Some comments include: “It was a phenomenal experience. I have tried other activities for my son and none have been as successful and inclusive as this! It was great to see other families out with their siblings who are not special needs getting involved with everyone. Great program, great experience, GREAT organization, GREAT LEADERSHIP!!!”
“Our EFMP team who coordinated our program did an amazing job! My children (ages 4 and 5) were excited to go each session. My 5 yr. old had no interest in sports and now he wants to get a basketball hoop to practice. Seeing his peers try things and that everyone has different abilities has changed his outlook and I'm so grateful!”
While the COVID-19 pandemic impacted our ability to deliver the program in 2020, EFMP is excited for a new year and the chance to deliver the Young Athlete program again. Check with your local EFMP office to see if they will deliver Young Athletes in 2021.