The Rise School of Denver began their Young Athlete Program (YAP) in 2010 for students from the ages of 12 months to 6 years. Rise found that Special Olympics Colorado’s Young Athlete Program fit perfectly with their philosophy of inclusion, supporting both students with and without a disability. Since then, their Young Athlete Program has developed extensively, utilizing evaluations and assessments to determine the students’ progress.
Rise families have been impacted by YAP in many ways. Rise students are able to participate in inclusive sports-like activities, preparing them to move into more structured sports as they get older. Families can get involved in their community, and have the opportunity to participate in activities as a family.
Lisa Swenson, a Physical Therapist at Rise shared, “Our students learn to see each other as people, not as kids with disabilities. They are the way they are, and the fact that they might need help or need to do things differently doesn’t matter. Kids without intellectual disabilities learn empathy and acceptance, and cheer on students with different disabilities.”.
The Rise School of Denver truly is a great place for their students to grow, learn, and rise and for that we are honored to induct them into the Special Olympics Colorado Hall of Fame.