Umified Sports unites athletes

By Keiona Trimmer - Staff Reporter

The Highline Unified Sports Program has helped students on and off the field this year.

"Our goal is to create and develop relationships beyond the classroom for the students with and without disabilities," said Fawzi Belal.

The Unified Sports Program helps students become evolved in a team environment no matter their playing abilities.

For this program teammates are not required to be of similar abilities. Teammates of higher abilities are mentors to help assist the teammates of lower abilities in developing sport-specific skills in a team environment.

Athletes and partners should be of similar age, but a greater variance in age is allowed in specific sports. The program has equal number of athletes and partners of similar age.

Teammates' skill levels are so widely varied that the rules are utilized to ensure a safe and competitive sport training atmosphere.

The program also has a partnership with the Special Olympics of Washington.

Sports Outreach Coordinator Fawzi Belal at Highline has been a part of the Unified Program by being the Unified Soccer Coach.

The Unified team at Highline currently has two soccer teams, a flag football team, and a basketball team. They're currently working on having a tennis team added to the program. The students in the Unified Program have a 3.8 cumulative GPA. Team member Madison William, who also plays soccer and basketball, has a 4.0 GPA.

"Our unified GPA of 3.8 has been a huge accomplishment for us," said Belal.

During the 2015 year, the Unified Soccer team at Highline won gold during a unified tournament.

The Unified Program wants to continue to be a part of the community by adding more sports to the program. The program wants to grow and continue to get local community members involved, he said.

Belal said the program has had a successful year of fundraising and putting together multiple community events. They have a lot to look forward to as they start their season again during the fall.

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