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Bring your own passion to whatever you want to do at Special Olympics, says Tanmay Agarwal to the youth leaders

New Delhi, October 12: The second National Youth Leadership Summit kick-started as a virtual event on 10th October 2020, opening to a total of approx 200 participants. Twenty states of India were represented by the youth and officials.

The Summit will be a three-day event, with the second and the third day to be held on the 12th and 15th of October 2020. Each day would witness presentations and interactions around the subject of Inclusive Youth leadership along with a focussed subject for the day and finally a 'Call-to-action' that would draw the youth and the State leaders in collaborative engagements

10 October 2020 being the World Mental Health Day made 'Mental Health' the subject of focus in the second half of the summit. Ms Mukta Narain Thind, National Director- Organization Development welcomed the viewers defining the three-day roll-out and Air Marshal Keelor, Founder & CEO, SO Bharat opened the Summit.

"It is established that the youth are the best medium to support and promote Inclusion and to be able to reach out to more and more people. From the Youth activities I have attended I have always observed two distinct characteristics, which are, Unlimited energy and fun. I am very impressed to see so many states participating, which goes to show that the States and the Coaches are opening their minds to including a new way of bringing about Inclusion. Despite the pandemic, the enthusiasm to run the Special Olympics programs is very much there," Air Marshal Keelor.

Shivam and Jessica Verma, a Sibling pair gave a brief orientation of the Special Olympics movement while Gayatri Pore, a youth leader from Maharashtra spoke specifically on the topic of Youth Activation. Param Ahuja, a youth leader from Delhi set the tone for the session with stoking responses around Leadership, Inclusion and 'Inclusive Leadership'. Laying out the characteristics of Inclusive leadership he rolled out a poll of self-reflective questions around the main subject. The Area Directors too joined in the discussion, expressing the Youth Activation activities and their potential in their respective States.

"We have approached the Govt to implement Unified Schools all over the State, including the rural areas since most of the state of Himachal Pradesh is rural. We have approached the NGOs associated with us in strengthening our endeavours at the grassroots and turning aaganwadis into inclusive activity zones activating the youth at every level," said Parikshat Sood, Area Director, SO Bharat - Himachal Pradesh.

Upholding the World Mental Health Day and also turning the spotlight on the subject that has gained much significance during the pandemic, Ms Kavita Pujara, Dietician from Chattisgarh presented diet and nutrition that would boost Mental Health.

"We are what we eat," said Ms Kavita Pujara who was introduced by her daughter, Simran Pujara, Athlete leader from Chattisgarh.

The session was followed by another, led by Ms Gaura Lohani from You're Wonderful Project (YWP) who have been working with SO Bharat on research on how sport participation impacts Mental Health. YWP is a youth-run organisation which believes in peer-counselling and motivating people towards betterment. Aaynu, Athlete from Rajasthan responded to her questions during the course of the presentation

The best friend of a leader is good mental health. Such leaders are able to respond to situations and adjust their approaches accordingly. They will be agile and design realities for people they lead- Ms Chitra Shah, Area Director, SO Bharat Puducherry.

Tanmay Agarwal was the very first youth leader who connected with SO Bharat through Project Unify that was piloted when he was in the seventh grade. He had also planted the idea of Pratishtha having conducted the first one himself.

Tanmay joined the Summit yesterday from outside of India where he is pursuing higher education. He spoke about 'subconscious biases' ingrained in the minds of people and that the best way to tackle them is to increase exposure, therefore encouraging the participants to join and engage with the Athletes as much as possible, and learn from their experiences.

His thought-provoking address brought the first session of the Summit to a conclusion while also leaving the participants to think over a few reflective questions provided to them.

Source: Media Release

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Story first published: Monday, October 12, 2020, 18:23 [IST]
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