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2010.07.07> For Immediate Release
contact: Tim Kaldahl - University Relations
phone: 402.554.3502 - email: tkaldahl@unomaha.edu

UNO to Host Summit and Conference Connected to Special Olympics

Omaha - The University of Nebraska at Omaha will host both the National Youth Activation Summit and the National Education Conference beginning on Sunday, July 18. The two events are closely connected to Special Olympics’ USA National Games, which starts in Lincoln on the same day.

More than 300 people are expected to attend the Summit and Conference. Participants will include special education and general education teacher, students and Special Olympic athletes from around the country.

“We are extremely excited to work with the Special Olympics in this way,” said Mike Messerole, a professor in the UNO School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation who also serves as the events’ coordinator at the university. “All of us in education want to increase the focus on school-based activities that engage students with and without intellectual disabilities, and also deepen and broaden quality school-based programs that have lasting impacts on students, schools and communities.”

Details of both the summit and conference follow below.

The National Youth Activation Summit (NYAS), a completely youth designed and facilitated week of activities, will provide a forum where youth participants acquire and enhance their knowledge and skills needed to activate youth around the country. Through the NYAS, youth will increase their understanding of how social justice movements effect change and learn how to apply these tactics in developing strategies using Special Olympics as the catalyst through sports and inclusive educational programming. The summit will run from Sunday, July 18, to Saturday, July 24.

The inaugural 2010 Special Olympic National Education Conference (NEC) will focus on all teachers and all students. The four-day Education Conference will engage teachers in large and small group sessions focused on building their knowledge, skills and attitudes to motivate and educate students with and without intellectual disabilities. In addition, it will examine how Special Olympics Project UNIFY is an effective youth engagement, school climate and sports-oriented set of strategies that will identify future leaders of the movement. The conference will run Sunday, July 18, to Wednesday, July 21.

“This will be a very active and very involved week for us at UNO,” Messerole said. “While there are traditional presentation, many of the sessions that have been planned are hands-on and will get people out of their chairs.”

For more information, contact Hannah Lefler at (402) 658-3190 or hannah.lefler@gmail.com.

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The University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) is Nebraska’s metropolitan university. The core values of the institution place students at the center of all that the university does; call for the campus to strive for academic excellence; and promote community engagement that transforms and improves urban, regional, national and global life. UNO, inaugurated in 1968, emerged from the Municipal University of Omaha, established in 1931, which grew out of the University of Omaha founded in 1908.

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