Special Olympics Athlete Leadership Programs (ALP’s) allow athletes to explore opportunities in roles previously considered “non-traditional”. Such participation might come in the form of an athlete serving on the Board of Directors or local organizing committee; or it might find an athlete as a spokesperson, team captain, coach or official. Participation in Athlete Leadership Programs may be in addition to or in place of participation in traditional athlete roles.

Below are initiatives Special Olympics Kansas currently offers.

Athletes on State Board of Directors
— Special Olympics Kansas Board
— Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics Kansas Executive Council
Global Messengers
Health Messengers
Kansas Athlete Leadership Council
Youth Activation Committee

Special Olympics is about breaking down barriers that others thought were permanent. ALP’s are about breaking down our internal barriers that keep athletes from fully enjoying Special Olympics through self-directed, meaningful participation in virtually any aspect of the program. We are pushing for a more inclusive world and are proud to be part of the #inclusionrevolution.

To learn more about current Kansas programs click the dropdowns below. 

Athletes on State Board of Directors

Athletes are selected through an application process to serve a three year term on both the SOKS Board of Directors and the KSLETR Executive Council. Athletes on the board have full voting privileges and attend regular meetings to provide input and share information with the board. To inquire about the SOKS Board of Directors position, email To inquire about the LETR Executive Council position, email

Current athletes serving in these roles: 
Abbi Griswold,  Sedgwick County Thundercats, Special Olympics Kansas Board of Directors
Steven Walters, Wichita Independents, Law Enforcement Torch Run for SOKS Executive Council

Global Messengers / Health Messengers

The Global Messenger program is designed to teach Special Olympics athletes how to speak in public in front of a variety of audiences. The program pairs a Special Olympics athlete with a speech coach. Coaches learn how to help the athlete prepare a speech to address various types of public groups and corporate audiences on a variety of topics related to Special Olympics.

Participants must possess a willingness to speak in a public forum and feel comfortable in front of an audience. The ability to read is helpful but not mandatory. After completing the training course, Global Messengers are expected to go out into their community and speak to service groups, the corporate community and/or other organizations promoting Special Olympics.

To learn more email

Health Messengers are trained to:

  • Present and interact at meetings with health partners and health influencers
  • Be health representatives on Athlete Input councils and Boards
  • Motivate peers on maintaining good nutrition, hydration and physical activity
  • Deliver Fit5 lessons to other athletes
  • Lead Special Olympics athletes to establish healthy lifestyles and set personal health and fitness goals

To learn more click HERE or email

Athlete Leadership Council

The Kansas Athlete Leadership Council (KSALC) is a way for Special Olympics Kansas leaders to be in touch with athlete interests and opinions on needed improvements, sports, competitions, coaching and other programs. It is a place for athletes to practice leadership skills, and a way for athletes to provide input and feedback to and from schools, group homes, day training programs and other athletes.

Members of the KSALC are provided with leadership training opportunities and expected to hold positions on committees within or outside of SOKS. They are also expected to work together to facilitate training programs for other SOKS athletes and participate in fundraising efforts to sustain KSALC programs.

The KSALC Chairperson regularly attends SOKS Board of Directors meetings to provide feedback.

Each athlete on the KSALC has a mentor who helps the athlete prepare for meetings and work on speaking and listening skills prior to meetings. Meetings are led by the chairperson and held using parliamentary procedure. Meetings are held monthly either in person or via conference call.

The KSALC began in 2018 thanks to a generous grant from Bank of America.

To learn more about the KSALC click HERE.