Joint Press Release: U.S. Fund for UNICEF & Special Olympics
Lucy Meyer, Youth Advocate for Children with Disabilities, to Represent UNICEF and Special Olympics at Global Forums
NEW YORK (June 6, 2014) – Lucy Meyer, the U.S. Fund for UNICEF’s Spokesperson for Children with Disabilities, is expanding her role as an advocate for some of the world’s most vulnerable children. Next week, for the first time, Lucy will represent UNICEF and Special Olympics at the week-long Youth Council meeting of the Global Partnership on Children with Disabilities. She was also selected to be the only child spokesperson at the Conference of State Parties on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, where more than 140 member states, disability movement leaders and experts from around the world will gather.
Starting on June 9, the Global Partnership on Children with Disabilities (GPcwd) Youth Council meeting will be comprised of 20 young people from around the world who are advocating for the rights of children with disabilities to be prioritized. GPcwd is a network of more than 240 organizations working to advance the rights of children with disabilities at the global, regional and country levels. Later that week, on June 12, Lucy will speak at the Conference of State Parties, in representation of all children with disabilities around the world. Lucy will also be meeting with representatives from the U.S. Mission to the United Nations.
“Lucy’s commitment to helping ensure children with disabilities can realize their dreams is an inspiration,” said Caryl Stern, president and CEO of the U.S. Fund for UNICEF. “We are proud to have Lucy represent us, and thrilled that she is bringing to a global stage her critical message that all children, everywhere, have a right to reach their full potential.”
“Lucy’s determination to ensure that children with disabilities have the same opportunities to play sports, get a good education, receive healthcare, make choices, and be part of their communities is not just changing lives, it’s changing minds, challenging misperceptions, and focusing attention on the rights of children with disabilities,” said Janet Froetscher, CEO of Special Olympics. “We are honored that Lucy, a gold medal-winning Special Olympics athlete, is serving as a Global Messenger for the 2015 Special Olympics World Games to be held in her hometown of Los Angeles.” Lucy and her family are also raising money to help Special Olympics athletes reach the 2015 World Games and are working to secure an additional Host Town to join the existing group of communities that have volunteered to welcome Special Olympics athletes to the World Games.
Born with cerebral palsy, the 15-year-old is passionate about helping children with disabilities around the world. Lucy has taken her message on behalf of children with disabilities to Representatives and Senators in California and Washington, D.C., as well as to President Barack Obama. Last year, Lucy was a featured speaker at the U.S. Capitol for the launch of UNICEF’s flagship publication, State of the World’s Children, that in 2013 was dedicated to children with disabilities. She has also participated in speaking engagements on behalf of the U.S. Fund for UNICEF in Los Angeles, and most recently at the organization’s annual meeting in New York.
In 2013, Lucy created a fund to support children with disabilities in the developing world, helping raise more than $100,000 for UNICEF’s disabilities programs. With the support of her parents, Jamie and Chuck Meyer, Lucy made a new funding commitment of $150,000 to UNICEF to support the Global Partnership on Children with Disabilities.
Lucy credits sports with playing a critical role in her development, helping her to learn important skills such as discipline, teamwork, and confidence.
Worldwide, an estimated 93 million children under the age of 15 live with disabilities, 80% of whom live in developing countries. Many children with disabilities are denied access to education, health care, and other lifesaving services, and more often than children without disabilities face stigma, discrimination, and abuse.
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) works in 190 countries and territories to save and improve children’s lives, providing health care and immunizations, clean water and sanitation, nutrition, education, emergency relief and more. The U.S. Fund for UNICEF supports UNICEF’s work through fundraising, advocacy, and education in the United States. Together, we are working toward the day when zero children die from preventable causes and every child has a safe and healthy childhood. For more information, visit www.unicefusa.org.
For additional information, please contact:
Susannah Masur, U.S. Fund for UNICEF, 212.880.9156, mobile: 646.428.5010, email@example.com