If you think back to last year’s American Idol season, you’ll remember Lauren Alaina telling us about her relationship with the Special Olympics athletes back in her hometown of Rossville, GA. Now Lauren is more than just a friend to these athletes, she’s an Ambassador.
Special Olympics Project UNIFY® announced Lauren Alaina, American Idol Season 10 runner up, as a Special Olympics Project UNIFY® Ambassador for North America. The announcement was made as part of the 23rd Annual National Service-Learning Conference® in Minneapolis, in which Special Olympics Project UNIFY® is a proud sponsor. She was introduced by Special Olympics Minnesota athlete and National Youth Activation Committee member, Danielle Liebl.
Project UNIFY® brings youth with and without intellectual disabilities together through education, sports and related initiatives to provide them with the knowledge, attitudes and skills necessary to create and sustain school communities that promote the acceptance, respect and human dignity for all students. In her capacity as a Special Olympics Project UNIFY® Ambassador, Alaina will assist Special Olympics’ efforts to raise awareness and change the attitudes of youth toward people with intellectual disabilities who struggle to be accepted, heard and included in society. Alaina will play a pivotal role influencing young people across the nation to embrace and live the Special Olympics message of inclusion. Through her American Idol journey she draws the parallel to Special Olympics in the power of participation in competition, and serves as a role model on how perseverance, dedication and personal best can truly change lives.
“Special Olympics Project UNIFY is pleased to welcome Lauren Alaina as an Ambassador to our family of athletes, coaches and volunteers. In her young career she has exemplified the ideals of Special Olympics and commitment to this important work through her involvement as a volunteer. We are excited that Lauren will serve as our Ambassador and help carry our message to young people around the country.” Andrea Cahn, Senior Director, Special Olympics Project UNIFY.
In celebration of the partnership and her new role as Special Olympics Project UNIFY® Ambassador, Alaina performed at the conference and expressed her commitment to inclusion and to help overcome prejudices about intellectual disability.
“I am honored to be asked to be an Ambassador for Special Olympics. I have been involved with the local chapter in my hometown since I was in 6th grade. There is nothing that makes me happier or inspires me more than spending time with the athletes.” Alaina said, “I have made friends for life and they did their part to support me throughout my run on American Idol. Now, it is my turn to support them and help bring awareness to this wonderful organization.”