Putting the Person First

Putting the Person First

Joey and Mimi were named Innovators of the Week! Click here to learn more about their story and the impact they are making in their community.


Joey and Mimi are Special Olympics Youth Leaders from Wayzata High School interested in educating other students on the use of “Person First” language. To do this, Joey and Mimi will lead a Youth Innovation Project alongside the Special Olympics Minnesota Student Board of Directors, a Unified group of over 40 students from across the state. The Youth Leaders will work alongside PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center to implement a Person First Language campaign and provide resources to 25 schools across the state of Minnesota.


Throughout the 2018-2019 school year, Joey and Mimi, along with their team, will be creating materials to launch the campaign and implement in various schools. People First language focuses on an individual’s abilities, interests and characteristics, not on their disabilities. By implementing this campaign into schools, language will become more inclusive for all students and create a greater sense of community in the participating schools. 


The goal of Joey and Mimi’s project is to provide participating schools with resources such as classroom activities, posters, flyers, banners, stickers, guidebooks, and digital files to expand the reach of People First language. With these materials, schools will have the tools to grow the programming into future years and share with even more schools. The inspiration for this project derived from years of involvement with the Spread the Word to End the Word campaign amongst Special Olympics Minnesota youth leaders. They are determined to continue to reduce bullying on campus and increase inclusion through programs and activities.


Joey and Mimi are excited to share the message about Person First language and the impact it will have on their school and schools across the state of Minnesota. To Joey and Mimi, being part of the Unified Generation means not only living inclusively individually, but also being connected through larger programs. With their Person First language program, they believe it will change the state of Minnesota and launch a nationwide movement toward inclusion, just one of the many outputs of the Unified Generation.