Katie Hut and Natalie Green (Kat n’ Nat) will be joining Special Olympics North America (SONA) as staff-in-training during the Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019! Hailing from Special Olympics Utah, the team will be reporting stories and contributing to social media from athletic competitions and the Global Youth Leadership Summit.

Kat n’ Nat were selected from a group of youth leaders participating in SONA’s #EKSchallenge, which urged students with and without intellectual disabilities to share their passion for inclusion and to become agents of change by following the example of Special Olympics founder Eunice Kennedy Shriver. As part of the Unified Generation, youth are leading the charge for inclusion of children and adults with intellectual disabilities in schools and communities all over the country. SONA challenged these leaders to write and record a speech sharing what inclusion means to them. Katie and Natalie’s video was selected from the applicants, which earned them the opportunity to attend Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019 in March.

Katie and Natalie will work with the Special Olympics communications team to capture activity across all of the events taking place at World Games. They will provide written and social media commentary, interviews, video and daily wrap-ups for sports competitions, Global Youth Leadership Summit, celebrity interviews and local interest pieces. By working closely with the Special Olympics communications team, they will help curate and publish media, as well as highlight Special Olympics North America attendees across all of the World Games events. Messaging focused on the Global Youth Leadership Summit will be to #Innovate4Inclusion. Messaging focused on athletic competition will be to #MeetTheDetermined.

Katie is a senior at Olympus High School in Salt Lake City, and plans to attend Utah State University in the fall with a major in Special Education. She has volunteered with Special Olympics Utah since she was twelve years old. Her dream job is to work for Special Olympics North America.

Natalie is a senior at Real Salt Lake Academy High School in Herriman, where she shares the message of inclusion as a Diversity Officer. She is a Special Olympics Global Messenger for Special Olympics Utah who speaks on leadership, respect, inclusion and her personal experiences as a team member of the inaugural Real Salt Lake Unified soccer team.

It was a mutual passion for inclusion that brought Katie and Natalie together at the 2018 Special Olympics USA Games. They were each selected by Special Olympics Utah to represent the state at the inaugural Youth Leadership Experience in Seattle. Katie and Natalie recognized a special bond as they prepared together for the Games. Their enthusiasm was evident in their volunteering, interviews, job shadowing and social media posts. Following the USA Games, they are helping build and expand the statewide Youth Activation Committee at Special Olympics Utah. They are thrilled at the opportunity to attend the 2019 Special Olympics World Games, participate in the Global Youth Leadership Summit, grow their network, and gain international experience which they can bring back to Utah to share with their community and schools.

About her role, Katie said, “We all want to play, learn, have fun and most importantly have a friend. Inclusion is more than treating people the way that you want to be treated; it’s advocating for change and being a leader. We want to build inclusive communities in our schools, in our workplaces, in our communities.”

We’re thankful to have Katie and Natalie join our SONA team for World Games as part of the #InclusionRevolution!