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Downingtown East awarded grant to promote inclusion and awareness

Downingtown East awarded grant to promote inclusion and awareness

On December 21, the Downingtown High School East Special Olympics club and Unified Bocce team were awarded a $1,000 grant by The Believe and Achieve Foundation to promote inclusion and awareness of neurodiversity in athletics. The groups will use the funds to replace aging Bocce materials, as well as take a trip to Citizens Bank Park on for the Special Olympics Polar Plunge in February.

Unified Sports is a fully-inclusive, co-ed high school sports program that brings together a proportional number of students with and without disabilities on teams for training and competition. Downingtown East has offered Unified Bocce as a competitive PIAA sport since the 2018-19 school year, and the current team consists of 14 members

The grants were funded by the proceeds and sponsorships from the 2022 Believe and Achieve Valor Bowl, Chester County's premier high school, senior, all-star football game. East is one of five recipients, all of whom will be formally recognized and honored at the 2023 Valor Bowl.

“It is an absolute honor to be one of the recipients to the Believe and Achieve grant this year,” East Special Olympics club advisor and Unified Bocce coach Meghan Funderberg said. “The Believe and Achieve organization is a fantastic partner in honoring the abilities of all athletes.”

Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Justin Brown and the Cultural Equity Task Force hopes that continuing athletic programs like these will continue to create a more inclusive environment for all students. “Our students and teachers work hard to ensure that all DASD spaces create a sense of belonging,” Brown said. “It is great to see the progress we are making.”

To learn more about DEI work in DASD, visit www.dasd.org/diversity