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Athletes with intellectual disabilities to take on leadership challenge

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

A group of athletes with intellectual disabilities are preparing to take on a new challenge, as they kick off their training to become athlete ambassadors for Special Olympics New Zealand, known as Global Messengers. The goal of the programme is to equip athletes with the skills to take up the role of ambassador for the organisation within their communities around the country.

The six athletes are Monique Irvine (Howick-Pakuranga), Shonagh Clark (Southland), Oscar Stace (Wellington), Alice Robb (Nelson), Wade Ledingham (Hutt Valley) and Ryan Stewart (Otago). They will take part in a series of four workshops this year, focused on goal setting, communication and presentation, networking and planning and development, beginning on 14 February.

Following the training they will join a group of more than 70 Global Messengers who promote Special Olympics in New Zealand and support and inspire other athletes.

"Being selected to become a Global Messenger is a huge achievement and an amazing opportunity for these athletes," said Julia Sanson, Regional Team Leader for Special Olympics New Zealand.

"Not only will they learn new and valuable leadership skills that will help them in their lives and careers, but they will also become the face of Special Olympics in their communities.

"As an athlete driven organisation it is important that our athletes have a voice in raising awareness and breaking down barriers which they and their peers often experience. They share their experiences and achievements gained through Special Olympics as a very strong and powerful voice of awareness and change."

For the past five years the Global Messenger training workshops have been delivered by leadership and development firm The Training Practice.

"I continue to be impressed with the character, courage and commitment shown by the athletes I've worked with," says Claire Keenan, Development Consultant for The Training Practice.

"I feel very privileged to support the Global Ambassadors and am very much looking forward to getting to knowing and helping to grow the skills and confidence of the incoming Class of 2018."

Special Olympics New Zealand also partners with Attitude Pictures for the delivery of the media training session of the course - a highlight for the athletes.

The Class of 2018 will start their leadership training on 14 February in Wellington. Workshops will also take place in May, August and October.

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