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Special Olympics Hawaii E-Newsletter
December 2017

Twenty-Two Island Athletes Training to Represent Hawai’i at USA Games in 2018

Special Olympics Hawai’i athletes from O’ahu, Kauai, Maui and the Hawai’i Island are training for the chance of a lifetime. The 22 representatives (including 20 athletes and two Unified Champion School students) are preparing to represent Hawai’i at the 2018 Special Olympics USA Games taking place July 1- 6, 2018, in Seattle, WA. The athletes will join more than 4,000 Special Olympics athletes and coaches from across the country to compete in soccer, track and field, and basketball.

The cost to send one individual to the USA Games is more than $1,900. Special Olympics Hawai‘i is accepting tax-deductible donations to defray expenses at and has also launched a campaign asking supporters to donate their HawaiianMiles to Special Olympics Hawai‘i to help reduce the cost of transportation.

“Special Olympics Hawai’i is excited to send one of our largest contingencies of island athletes to represent our state at the USA Games. These athletes and coaches work so hard throughout the year and it’s thrilling to see their commitment pay off,” said Nancy Bottelo, Special Olympics Hawai‘i president and CEO.  “The cost to cover transportation and accommodation will be significant. We are asking the community to help our athletes realize their dreams to compete on a national level by making a tax-deductible donation.”

Athletes were selected from amongst 3,400 participants statewide. Those representing Special Olympics Hawai‘i include:

Oahu ‘Terminators’ Soccer Team

  • Kyle Burkhart
  • Kyson Cadiam
  • DeSean DesJardins
  • Sol Ray Duncan
  • Nicole Kelly
  • Renee Manfredi
  • Brandon Nakata
  • Rell Romero

Coaches: Danny Vasconcellos, Jr and Katherine Eum

Kauai Track & Field Team

  • Kobe Iglesia
  • Archie Lanning
  • Divine Navalta
  • Billie Jean Waiwaiole

Coach: Tamarine Carvalho

Maui High School (participating in Youth Leadership Experience)

  • Britney Bautista
  • Sidney Tanaka

Hawai’i Island Honokaa Basketball Team

  • Gilbert Acosta
    • Whitney Alameida
    • Bernaldo Cabulizan
    • Sean Conley
    • John Joseph DeHerrera
    • Isaiah De Luz
    • Michael Mitts
    • Ashley Souza
    • Greg Villafuerte Jr.

Coaches: Duane De Luz and Sheila De Luz

Also representing Hawai’i at the 2018 Special Olympics USA Games is Ty Ah Nee with the Honolulu Police Department. He will join an elite group of individuals who will serve as the “Guardians of the Flame” and escort the Special Olympics Flame of Hope on a journey across Washington state. Since the first Special Olympics USA Games in 2006, members of law enforcement and Special Olympics athletes from across the United States have carried the Flame of Hope in the LETR Final Leg to usher the start of the national competition.

The 2018 Special Olympics USA Games shares the mission of Special Olympics by highlighting the abilities of athletes with intellectual disabilities, while promoting acceptance and inclusion through sports. Athletes will compete in 14 Olympic-type team and individual sports before tens of thousands of spectators and volunteers.

Building the Next Generation of Youth Leaders

By Mollie Bruhl, Unified Champion Schools coordinator

The Youth Activation Committee (YAC) is a leadership group comprised of high school students with and without disabilities from across the state. The state leadership group is currently made up of students from Kapa’a, Kauai, Hilo, Waiakea, Farrington, Roosevelt and Kaiser high schools and meets twice a year. This September, the YAC met to begin planning for the upcoming 2018 Youth Summit.

The Youth Summit will bring together inclusive leaders from middle and high schools around the state to learn this year’s theme to “live aloha, play unified.” The students worked together for an entire day to outline the Summit, come up with activity ideas, and brainstorm themes. These students are the backbone of the Youth Summit, which will be primarily peer-to-peer information and activity sessions.

The students attending the Youth Summit will leave with a deeper understanding of the Unified Schools program. They will be armed with innovative inclusive ideas and activities to help structure their home school program. There will also be a teacher session with a panel of teachers from elementary, middle and high school.

Each school represented in the YAC is a highly engaged Unified Champion School. The students on the YAC are the leaders of the movement within their schools. They have been transformed by the program and want to share that with others.

One athlete leader shared that the Unified Champion Schools program “has allowed me to make new friends and build confidence in myself…I’ve come out of my shell.” His partner from the same school explained that “Unified Sports is a way in which…attitudes are changed in the school culture amongst our students with and without intellectual disabilities,” allowing her peers with intellectual disabilities to be more a part of the school with equal participation in sports.

The Youth Summit is free and open to middle and high school students with one advisor. There will also be a short teacher panel (one to two hours) that will be open to any teacher who wants to attend to learn more about the Unified Schools program. Mark your calendar for March 3, 2018 from 9am to 4:30 pm at the Ala Moana Hotel. Lunch will be provided.

To sign up contact Mollie Bruhl at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

2017 Outstanding Award Winners

It is tradition at Holiday Classic that we honor some very special people who have made great contributions to our Special Olympics organization. These individuals have gone above and beyond to make a difference in many lives and we are incredibly thankful for their support.

This year’s 2017 Outstanding Award Winners include:


  • Area Organization of the Year: Bow Yee Tong Society
  • State Organization of the Year: American Medical Response (AMR)
  • Outstanding School: Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School
  • Unified Partner of the Year: Pamela Hirata
  • Outstanding Volunteer: Letty Okino (in memoriam)
  • Outstanding Coach: Gwynn Sosa, Red Waves
  • Outstanding Family: Morita-Sunada Family, Kamali’i Koa
  • Female Athlete of the Year: Jasmine Humalon
  • Male Athlete of the Year: Kiha Greene
  • Above and Beyond Award: Mel Matsumura
  • Above and Beyond Award: Kurt and Sheryl Matsumoto, Optical Suppliers, Inc.
  • Hall of Fame: Gary Lamb, Kamali’i Koa




Mahalo Bank of Hawai'i!

Mahalo to Bank of Hawaii employees who selected Special Olympics Hawai’i as one of the 24 beneficiaries of the 2017 Live Kōkua Giving Campaign. The Bank of Hawaii ‘ohana, which includes employees and retirees, donated a record-breaking total of $722,248.

Staff Outing

This month we held our annual staff meeting and holiday gathering, including a two-hour catamaran ride donated by Holokai Catamaran! Staff snorkeled at Turtle Canyon and set sail around Diamond Head. This gathering also celebrated the 30-year work anniversaries for our President & CEO, Nancy Bottelo and Leeward Area Director, Olga Goo.

Holoholo With Us

Top Walkers This Month:

Parent- Randall Yokota: 267

Athlete- Kelli Shizuma: 212

Athlete- Erin Nakamoto: 152

Overall Top Walker:

Athlete- Kimo Costa: 1,511

Don’t forget to join us for our weekly Holoholo Club! We are at 2 locations:
Windward Mall every Tuesday afternoon from 4:00 - 4:30p in front of Big City Diner

Tip a Cop

Thank you to all who supported this month’s Tip a Cop event, which helped to raise more than $15,000! Six restaurants participated including Ryan’s Grill, Dave and Buster’s and Big City Diner at Ward Village and Luibueno’s, California Pizza Kitchen and Applebee’s at Ka Makana Ali’i. Volunteer law enforcement officers from HPD, US Air Force Security Forces, US Army MPs, US Navy MA, US Customs and Border Protection, US Federal Probations and HPD Academy Recruits participated in the event to raise funds and awareness.




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