When I read that Avril Lavigne wrote and recorded the song “Fly” for the Special Olympics World Games, I immediately ran to my computer to look up the music video, thinking how amazing it is that she would write this song.
As I listened to the song and watched the music video, I heard her words “That we are all meant to fly,” and I watched the video featuring Special Olympics athletes from all over the world. I felt truly inspired by the words and the video because it is so true. Everyone has something special about them, and everyone deserves to feel happy and accomplished- everyone deserves to fly.
So, considering the love I felt for this song, it was pretty exciting to personally get to learn from Avril about what inspired the lyrics. Avril tells me that “Fly was written to lift people up and inspire them to keep trying and not give up no matter what challenges they might face.”
Interestingly enough, I learned, in interviewing Avril, that she actually wrote the song a couple of years ago. However, after meeting with some of the kids and the organizers from Special Olympics just last year, she realized that the song had truly found its purpose. It is so amazing that the lyrics she wrote literally say “reach up” which is the theme of the Special Olympics World Games #LA2015 #ReachUp.
Avril’s interest in helping others actually started quite a few years ago when she worked with the Make A Wish Foundation and “it was so rewarding meeting the kids and helping them achieve their dreams.” This selfless personality made Avril decide to start her own organization. In 2010, Avril launched The Avril Lavigne Foundation with the mission to focus on kids with disabilities and special needs. Her foundation is in perfect alignment with the Special Olympics and the World Games, and so she found herself “the opportunity to meet with so many incredible young athletes through Special Olympics.” In these interactions she saw “positivity and joy in the athletes” and Avril tells me this “really inspired me and made me want to do more to support them.” So, Avril’s Foundation partnered with Special Olympics to “help make their dreams come true.” Through this partnership, Avril hosted more than 200 athletes from 14 countries to attend her shows last year, and her Foundation will sponsor 30 athletes at the 2015 World Games this upcoming week, “thanks to support from my incredible fans.”
Avril is truly a mentor to all of us, shown through what an amazing person she is, and how she is truly altruistic. She tells me that her hope for teens in terms of how we will make the world a better place for our peers with intellectual disabilities is that she “hopes we recognize there are those with disabilities, but we all have our strengths and weaknesses. We must support each other in all aspects.” She encourages high schoolers to get involved by “deciding on what motivates you, then get involved based on your passion and what you can contribute.”
Avril is headlining the July 25 Opening Ceremony for the World Games #LA2015. She tells me that she is “excited to see all the athletes gather in one place to celebrate the opening of the games on Saturday! AND I am thrilled to be part of that celebration! Special Olympics means you can achieve anything you set your mind to!”
So, to all of the athletes participating in the World Games, I look forward to seeing you achieve your dreams and goals. To, the high school readers of the Los Angeles Times High School Insider let’s celebrate the Special Olympics World Games athletes by being “Fans in the Stands”, and thereafter by following the lead of these inspiring athletes and setting our minds on our dreams and goals, and working daily to achieve them. As Avril sings, “we are all meant to fly.” Let’s fly as leaders of the future, building a more inclusive society, a society that is open-minded, loving, and accepting. Thank you Avril for being a mentor to our generation in demonstrating how to be involved in supporting others!