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Special Olympics Michigan Unified Champion Schools is an education and sports-based strategy powered by an engaged student community that breaks down the barriers that separate students with and without intellectual disabilities.

The Unified movement activates youth, engages educators, and promotes school communities of acceptance and inclusion where all young people are agents of change. It aims to increase athletic and leadership opportunities for students with and without intellectual disabilities.

The three components of Unified Champion Schools are Inclusive Student LeadershipUnified Sports, and Whole School Engagement. All three areas are crucial to shift the culture of a school towards inclusion.

Here is how you can be a part of the movement:

  • Plan an event any time during the year.
  • Join thousands of students throughout the United States in helping to Spread the Word to End the Word.
  • Take the pledge to not use the R-word and encourage your friends at school and on Facebook to take the pledge.
  • Get a group of students and friends and support fundraisers like the Unified Champion Schools Youth Plunge or SOMI.
  • Join the UCS MI Liaison Facebook Community       


Welcome Back and Welcome Interested Schools - 

our staff welcome video:

A Catalyst for Change 
Unified Champion Schools (UCS)
Unified Champion City Schools (UCCS)

  1. Inclusive Student Leadership
    Inclusive student leadership is an all-embracing leadership club for every student leading their school in the advancement of inclusion.
  2. Sports
    Unified Sports bring together students with and without intellectual disabilities as teammates training and competing together in inclusive sports.
  3. Whole School Engagement
    Whole School Engagement promote inclusion and bullying prevention to an entire school population through engaging, creative and interactive events.

We understand how important it is for Special Olympics Michigan to collaborate with educators to identify what role Unified Champion Schools can play in meeting state, district. and individual school's strategic goals; whether it is promoting school climate, developing physical fitness, building character, preventing bullying; enhancing student engagement, or any other important school reform. 

A Unified Champion School has an understanding that this is not just an incident or event that happens for one day, or a single experience, but rather year-long in all seasonal activities. In a Unified Champion School there is an expectation that acceptance and inclusion are everyday occurrences that change entire schools and impact the whole student body.


  1. Complete the UCS Interest Form 
  2. Meet with UCS Coordinator to discuss options and plans  
  3. Submit UCS budget (after meeting with UCS Coordinator) 
  4. Return signed school agreement 
  5. Time to make your school UNIFIED! 


We love to hear about your success, events, and more. To share with other liaisons across the state, gain new ideas, and network feel free to join our UCS MI Liaison Facebook Community 



Shriver and Max

Youth Activation Committee
Young people with and without intellectual disabilities are leading their schools and communities toward a more inclusive future. By providing training, funding, and other resources, Special Olympics supports Youth Leaders across the globe.


This year, we put together a live & up-to-date calendar of UCS Calendar Events we have coming up, due dates, etc. We will be sure to include any necessary registration links, locations, and information for each one. We will be include this calendar on every newsletter from now on so you are able to see what opportunities we have coming up!

Add to your bookmarks to always have access to this live calendar view or

SCAN the QR code to go to live UCS Calendar  



Links also available on UCS Calendar Link above 

      STATE UCS Unified BOWLING (Registration CLOSED)

 Friday, Nov 4th   Royal Scot, Lansing, MI


Leadership Launch


This year, for the very first time, we are excited to be hosting our Leadership Launch conference in an intergenerational format meaning that we will be hosting sessions for both UCS Liaisons and Unified students - some of which will take place together, and others that will take place separately.

Southwest: October 26th at the Unified Sports and Inclusion Center   (160 68th St. SW Grand Rapids, 49548) Register by Oct 14th

Central: November 17 at Lansing Community College West Campus   (5708 Cornerstone Drive, Lansing, 48917) Register by Nov 1st

UP:  December 6th

Southeast: December 8th at Northville High School     (45700 Six Mile Rd, Northville, MI 48168)

All Leadership Launches, regardless of location will run from 9:00am-1:30pm. Registration is due 1 week prior to the event date that you will be attending.

Registration:   HERE is one link for registration for all locations 


The 2022 Annual UCS Leadership Conference and SOMI Celebration                Dec 2-3, 2022          Registeration Closed


What: Annual Leadership Conference and SOMI Celebration and Awards Dinner

When: December 2nd & 3rd

Where: Unified Sports & Inclusion Center – 160 68th St. SW, Grand Rapids, MI

Who: Area Directors, Asst. Area Directors, Management Team, UCS Liaisons, Athletes, Staff

Why: To celebrate the past few years progress and look into planning for 2023 and beyond. This year’s theme is Back to the Basics as we continue to bring schools back to activities and grow their programs for 2023 and beyond.

Deadline: Please register by 11/15/2022


Questions? Reach out to Dan Ekonen at or Jamie Cotter at

Women's Champions

It was a Great Event!



Special Olympics uses sports as a catalyst for inclusion in communities, classrooms, workplaces, and health care. The 2022 Unified Cup will show the world the power of sport to build and shape a diverse community that unites and empowers people of all abilities, from all backgrounds.


    Check out the results and pics…                               

UCS / UCCS Staff 2022

The SOMI Unified Champion Schools and Unified City Champion Schools Staff are here to help you impact your students and your school.

UCS in the News

Whole School Engagement

Whole School Engagement activities positively impact school climate by including all students, teachers, staff, administrators. An inclusive school climate that fosters understanding and respect for all can influence how students think and act within and beyond the school.

Unified Sports

Team sports bring people together. Special Olympics Unified Sports® teams do that, too and much more. About 1.4 million people worldwide take part in Unified Sports, breaking down stereotypes about people with intellectual disabilities in a really fun way. ESPN has served as the Global Presenting Sponsor of Special Olympics Unified Sports since 2013, supporting the growth and expansion of this program that empowers individuals with and without intellectual disabilities to engage through the power of sports.

Youth Leadership YAC

Inclusive youth leadership is when young people of all abilities are given opportunities to be leaders in their schools and communities. These leadership activities help students find their voices and teach them to become change agents in their communities by promoting equity and acceptance. Social inclusion is best fostered when activities within the classroom, school, and community are designed and implemented by a diverse group of students within a school.

Unified Champion Schools Contacts

Unified Champion Schools Partner Organizations


As schools around Michigan and the nation strive for a culture of inclusion and acceptance within hallways, the MHSAA and Special Olympics Michigan continue to grow their partnership by building inclusive school communities through sports. To learn more about the MHSAA, click here.