Athlete Leadership Program (ALPs) provide training and support for athletes who desire to expand their participation in Special Olympics both on and off the competition field. Through ALPs, athletes receive training and have opportunities to hold positions of leadership and influence. In these roles, athletes help determine policy and set direction for Special Olympics. Ultimately, ALPs helps to create a “culture of welcome” throughout the organization as athletes are welcomed into their new leadership roles and serve alongside other volunteers.

Throughout Ripley, Ohio, and Dearborn counties, Special Olympics athletes participate in many different ALPs initiatives. They serve as coaches and volunteers in local programs, and represent other athletes as members of the ALPS Management Team.

ALPs University, usually provide in the spring and fall in Indianapolis, provides educational programs for Special Olympics athletes in a variety of leadership topics. Students and graduates of ALPs University work with State, Area and the Delegation to promote, support and improve Special Olympics in Ripley, Ohio and Dearborn counties.

The Special Olympics Healthy Athletes initiative is designed to help Special Olympics athletes improve their health and fitness. Developed in 1996, Healthy Athletes mission is to improve each athlete’s ability to train and compete in Special Olympics as well as life.

The key objectives of Special Olympics Healthy Athletes are:

  • Improve access & health care for athletes at event-based and other clinics;
  • Make referrals & recommendations for follow-up to local health practitioners;
  • Train health care professionals, students, and others about needs and care of athletes;
  • Collect, analyze, and disseminate data on the health status and needs of athletes;
  • Advocate for improved health policies and programs for athletes.
  • The Special Olympics Healthy Athletes disciplines include: Healthy Hearing, Opening Eyes, Special Smiles, Health Promotion, Fit Feet, FUNfitness and MedFest.

Special Olympics Indiana currently offers Healthy Hearing, Opening Eyes, Special Smiles, and Health Promotion. These free screenings are usually offered in conjunction with Summer Games.

The TRAIN (Testing Recreational Activities and Improving Nutrition) program is a new sports assessment and nutrition education program developed by Special Olympics as one response to the fact that individuals with intellectual disabilities are more likely to develop a sedentary lifestyle, yet have the same fitness capacities and needs as those without a disability. A TRAIN assessment takes place when Special Olympics athletes complete a variety of fun physical fitness challenges at designated stations, such as the 10-meter run, the vertical leap, and balance test. Each athlete’s results are captured and entered into a specially-designed computer program, which produces a report highlighting the strongest skills and pinpointing which sports the athlete may be most successful pursuing as well as skills that could be improved through regular, at-home exercise. The program also tracks data on each athlete to illustrate progress over time. TRAIN is the first comprehensive program Special Olympics has ever used to collect and track data on sports readiness skills among individuals with intellectual disabilities. Special Olympics is using the data from TRAIN events to develop new scientific norms and better advice for Special Olympics athletes and coaches as they work toward being more successful in their sport as well as more fit and healthy overall.
Champions Together is a collaborative partnership between the Indiana High School Athletic Association and Special Olympics Indiana that promotes servant leadership among student athletes while changing their lives as well as the lives of those with intellectual disabilities.

Special Olympics International is supporting Champions Together as a model program to activate schools through “Project Unify: which also has the endorsement of the National Federation of High Schools.

Program Goals

1. Provide opportunities for student led servent leadership as part of the IHSAA experience

2. Create awareness and opportunities for inclusion as it relates to all individuals with intellectual disabilities

3. Unified Sports

4. Promote fundraising for the purpose of promoting the vision and programs of Special Olympics Indiana and Champions Together

Want to know more about the IHSAA Champions Together program and the ways your high school can get involved? Contact Lee Lonzo at [email protected] for more information.