Nicolas “Nico” Verene of New York, New York, has competed in Special Olympics for the past year, introducing him to a community that has broadened his value of inclusion. As a result of his hard work and determination, Nico will represent Special Olympics USA as a Unified partner in soccer. The most challenging obstacle Nico has overcome was breaking his collarbone. Through his recovery process, he was determined to keep practicing soccer. In addition to training with Special Olympics, Nico is also active in the Greenpoint Williamsburg Youth Soccer League.
He is a student at Harvest Collegiate High School, a Special Olympics Unified Champion School, and has contributed hundreds of community service hours to his school. As a member of the school’s youth-led restorative justice program, Nico works to mediate conflict within the school. The group also aims to mentor underclassmen and educate teachers on the principles of restorative justice. Through his participation, Nico has traveled to Washington, D.C., to meet with members of the United States Congress. In his role in the Special Olympics World Games Berlin 2023, Nico aims to keep fostering a sense of community, becoming even closer with his teammates.