Harpeth High School students Calli Copeland and Haley Romines will represent Special Olympics Tennessee as members of the newest cohort of Special Olympics U.S. Youth Ambassadors.
The 2022-2024 class of U.S. Youth Ambassadors consists of 14 youth leaders with and without intellectual disabilities who are striving to make the nation a more inclusive place for all.
These youth leaders will act as advocates, share stories and demonstrate the values of Inclusive Youth Leadership across the country.
Earlier this year, Copeland and Romines participated in the Youth Leadership Experience at the 2022 Special Olympics USA Games in Orlando, Florida.
Both Copeland and Romines are strong representatives for Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools — a strategy that creates sports, leadership, and whole school engagement opportunities for students with and without intellectual disabilities.
The result is a school environment that promotes inclusion and respect for all. As many as 3.6 million young people are taking part in inclusive experiences through Special Olympics across the U.S.
“Haley and Calli have received extensive training and experiences that have helped them to become leaders,” said Jennifer Copeland, Cheatham County Area Director. “Calli is currently the Harpeth Unified president, senior class president, a Special Olympics U.S. Youth Ambassador, on the youth activation committee for Special Olympics, is in youth and government, student council and National Honor Society. Haley is the volleyball manager, Special Olympics Health Ambassador and in the Special Olympics Tennessee youth activation committee. Both girls have grown into amazing young leaders who are leading the inclusion revolution. They have been instrumental in helping Cheatham County to become the first unified district in the state of Tennessee.”
“I want to see unified programs extended throughout the world,” said Calli Copeland. “I want to see everyone, regardless of their disabilities, be included and given equal opportunities. I hope to be a leader that everyone can come to and feel comfortable with so that ideas can be shared, and everyone can grow.”
“I get to be a leader, travel with new people and make new friends all while sharing inclusion with others,” said Haley Romines on becoming a U.S. Youth Ambassador. “Inclusion is for everyone. Unified Champion Schools provides friendships that are meaningful and lasting where all students get to have real friendships.”
For more information about Unified Champion Schools, please visit GenerationUnified.org.