\u201cSport has the power to change the world,\u201d Nelson Mandela once said. It\u2019s one of Mitch Bonar\u2019s favorite quotes \u2013 one that the 19 year-old Noblesville High School graduate lives by every day. Born with cerebral palsy and mildly on the autism spectrum, Mitch always loved sports but had difficulty fitting in on the field. Bullied at school, he found refuge in video games and became withdrawn until a chance encounter with Special Olympics set him on a new path. Mitch, his mom Kelly, and sister Tori, 16, share his inspiring story: How did you first get involved with Special Olympics? Kelly: When Mitch was in sixth grade, a family at church asked if we\u2019d ever tried Special Olympics and we were like, \u201cOh no. He can run and play with these guys, he doesn\u2019t need Special Olympics.\u201d But we went to a practice, and truly and honestly, I introduced him, watched for ten minutes and had to go to the car and cry! He finally fit in. Mitch: I remember it was fun. Some of those kids, we\u2019ve stayed friends and we still play sports together. It\u2019s more than just sports. It\u2019s a giant family. On top of your Special Olympics sports, you\u2019ve helped spearhead Unified Track & Field at Noblesville High School, an inclusive sports partnership between Special Olympics Indiana and the IHSAA (Indiana High School Athletic Association). What\u2019s that experience been like? Mitch: Unified sports are made up of half students with disabilities and half students without. What we usually do in Noblesville is use our off-season athletes, so they have a chance to do a spring sport. It\u2019s like opposites collide. Kelly: I remember people saying, \u201cThis isn\u2019t going to work. You\u2019re going to have the football players sitting together, and you\u2019re going to have the kids with special needs sitting together.\u201d But it worked! There was a ton of respect, and that\u2019s the goal \u2013 to get more compassionate human beings out of all of this. You\u2019ve found that sports can be a great unifier within a school and even between rivals, right? Mitch: Yes, Carmel High School and Noblesville are really big rivals, but after our first season together of Unified, it\u2019s not a hateful relationship anymore. It\u2019s changed how the athletes interact. We\u2019re more like brother and sister schools now. Tori: I run Unified Track with Mitch, and I think it\u2019s made everyone realize that you can be friends with whoever, because everyone has things in common. I feel like without Special Olympics, I wouldn\u2019t be as close to Mitch as I am. National Special Olympics page on Unified Sports IHSAA page on Unified Track & Field See Mitch\u2019s graduation address\u00a0 When you graduated this spring, you were handpicked to deliver a surprise address to the student body. Were you nervous? Mitch: When I looked up and saw everyone out there, I was nervous. But then I was like, \u201cNah, I got this.\u201d Kelly: We never in a million years would have dreamed that he would stand in front of his class of 750 students and give a speech. That\u2019s after 18 years of speech therapy! Mitch: And then (Special Olympics Chairman) Tim Shriver tweeted that it was the best graduation speech of the year, so that was really cool! What\u2019s next for you? Mitch: I want to continue making a difference for the state of Indiana and for Noblesville, the community that I love. I\u2019m just 19 years old, and I already feel like I\u2019ve made an impact. It\u2019s just the beginning of a long way! Mitch is taking part in Noblesville Schools\u2019 Project Work, a transitional school-to-work program for students with special needs. He also visits schools across Indiana to promote Unified Sports, and he attends events and trainings across the country with Special Olympics. Mitch wants to become the first Unified Sports coach with special needs.