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Athlete Leadership Programs

Special Olympics Athlete Leadership Programs (ALP's) allow athletes to explore opportunities in roles previously considered "non-traditional".  Such participation might come in the form of an athlete serving on the Board of Directors or local organizing committee; or it might find an athlete as a spokesperson, team captain, coach or official.  Participation in Athlete Leadership Programs may be in addition to or in place of participation in traditional athlete roles.

Below are some initiatives that Special Olympics Programs around the world have instituted:


Athlete and Board Member George Martin at a recent Board of Directors meeting.
  • Athletes on the State Board of Directors
  • Athletes on Games Management Teams
  • Global Messengers (spokespersons)
  • Athlete Congress or Input Council
  • Athlete sessions at Leadership Conferences
  • Athletes as Coaches
  • Athletes as Officials
  • Athletes as Volunteers
  • Athletes as Donors
  • Athletes employed by Special Olympics

Special Olympics is about breaking down barriers that others thought were permanent.  ALP's are about breaking down our internal barriers that keep athletes from fully enjoying Special Olympics through self-directed, meaningful participation in virtually any aspect of the program.

Two Kansas athletes currently serve on Special Olympics Inc., Athlete Input Council

  • George Martin, Olathe Trailblazers
  • Melissa Hylton, KCK Kings

They regularly respond to surveys and provide input on current issues, sports and programs.


The Global Messenger program is designed to teach Special Olympics athletes how to speak in public in front of a variety of audiences.  The program pairs a Special Olympics athlete with a speech coach.  Coaches learn how to help the athlete prepare a speech to address various types of public groups and corporate audiences on a variety of topics related to Special Olympics.

Participants must possess a willingness to speak in a public forum and feel comfortable before an audience.  The abililty to read is helpful but not mandatory.  After completing the training course, Global Messengers are expected to go out into their community and speak to service groups, the corporate community and/or other organizations promoting Special Olympics. 

Special Olympics Kansas has several trained Global Messengers.  If you are interested in a Global Messenger to speak to your group please contact us at 913.236.9290 or pr@ksso.org.

The Global Messenger Program is sponsored by a grant        
                                   from Mattel, Inc.
Mattel Inc.



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