Special Olympics International

Special Olympics International is a global NGO with operations (either direct or through accredited affiliates) in over 190 countries and jurisdictions (see below for full mission statement). Special Olympics is dedicated to creating opportunities for inclusion amongst people with and without intellectual disabilities through sport, education and school-based programming, public health initiatives, leadership development, early childhood development programming, and more. Special Olympics International is headquartered in Washington, DC, with regional offices in Panama City, Cairo, Dublin, Johannesburg, Singapore, Beijing, and Shanghai.

As part of its global programming, Special Olympics works partners with tens of thousands of schools around the world (140+ countries; ~7,000 participating schools in the United States). The proposed PICS internship roles would be focused on this area of work, supporting the operations, program development, and communications/story-telling associated with growing global initiative.

Of course, the ultimate benefit to Special Olympics derived by sponsoring one or more PICS interns is the growth of opportunities for inclusion amongst people with intellectual disabilities in the United States and around the world. In a more intermediate sense, two years of hosting PICS interns has demonstrated their ability to make significant contributions in two ways. First, as young leaders in their own right, these interns have provided critical insight into the best ways to engage youth as agents for change in the quest for a more inclusive world. This has supported Special Olympics ensure that its youth engagement programming design is authentic and resonant with youth participants. Second, PICS interns have shown themselves to be strongly capable contributors in a professional and team-driven work environment, able to advance our work in the communication/story-telling, operations, and programming development needed to grow our global reach.

Mission Statement: The mission of Special Olympics is to provide year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes and the community.

For more information on Special Olympics, visit SpecialOlympics.org. For more information on Special Olympics' youth engagement work in the United States, visit GenerationUnified.org. For more information on Special Olympics' global youth engagement work, visit SpecialOlympicsGlobalYouth.org


Washington, DC

Internship Description

Internship #1 Description - Grants Operations:
In 2018, Special Olympics began a global program to support youth-led projects for inclusion through small grants ($1000-2000 USD). Since then, over 150 projects in 100+ countries have been supported, each making their community a more inclusive for people with intellectual disabilities through the tools of Special Olympics. More information is available on these projects (and the youth with and without intellectual disability who lead them) at this website:
www.specialolympicsglobalyouth.org(link is external)

This position will support the operations of this initiative, including review of applications, drafting and compiling stories of impact, developing resources to better empower participating youth leaders, and coordinating with staff colleagues around the world to ensure that the funding and support is sent and received to support the awarded projects.

The position will work closely with other members of the Special Olympics Global Youth Engagement department as well as staff colleagues distributed in Special Olympics Regional offices (Panama, Ireland, Egypt, South Africa, China, and Singapore).

This position has been filled by PICS interns in the past with great success. For marginalized populations, more of a development priority than ever, Special Olympics partners with governments and other entities to bring inclusion to educational environments, especially by bringing together youth with and without intellectual disability.

This position will work closely with other members of the Global Youth Engagement department to identify and act on opportunities to partner with government, inter-government, and non-government entities to bring Special Olympics school-based programming to more places around the world. Depending on the opportunity, this may involve developing written proposals, synthesizing impact data,
and research. In addition to collaborating with staff colleagues in Washington, DC, this position will also work with Special Olympics colleagues distributed around the world, especially Panama, Ireland, Egypt, South Africa, China, and Singapore.

Internship #2 Description - Global Impact:
Special Olympics provides school-based programming to promote inclusion of students with intellectual disabilities in over 140 countries, including over 7,000 schools in the United States. To implement this programming, Special Olympics staff at the global headquarters, national, and local levels collaborate to support adult volunteers, youth leaders and participants, as well as teachers and school administrators. Each of over 100,000 schools around the world participating in Special Olympics Unified Sports and other inclusive programming has its own story of impact.

This position will contribute to the collection of this global impact story. In collaboration with colleagues at the Washington, DC headquarters of Special Olympics and distributed globally (esp. Panama, Ireland, Egypt, South Africa, China, and Singapore), this position will manage the collection of local and national stories of impact through established reporting systems/protocol and work to both showcase individual stories of impact and synthesize into a coherent global narrative of change and impact.

This position has been filled by PICS interns in the past with great success.

# of weeks Required Dates Start Time End Time Public Transit Housing  Format
10 Flexible 9:00am  5:00pm Yes No In-person

Housing Information

There are several temporary housing programs in the District specifically for Summer interns. This position could also be completed remotely.

Internship Qualifications

The ideal candidate will have:

  • Excellent communications skills, both written and verbal
  • Experience with leading conference calls and meetings
  • Familiarity with intellectual disability, the disability movement, and global geopolitics Proven computer skills, especially with remote collaboration tools
  • Ability to work independently, as well as in a group
  • Ability to collaborate cross-culturally and diplomatically
  • Interpersonal/human relations skills
  • At least one year of college course work completed

Additional qualifications:

  • Experience with international NGO's
  • Experience with people with intellectual disabilities

Writing Sample Required

  • Non-fiction, < 3 pages, non-technical (i.e., not scientific or engineering writing)

Special Requirements

  • Background check
  • This position will be collaborating with colleagues globally - so there will be the occasional need for really early morning calls or late evening calls