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Special Olympics Hawai'i E-Newsletter

February 2015

Zippy’s Restaurant kicks off support campaign


Make your next stop Zippy’s. A new promotion running through April 30, 2015 will feature Special Olympics Hawai‘i throughout the company’s 24 locations and collect donations on the organization’s behalf.

The program, which starts March 1, makes it easy for guests to support Special Olympics Hawai‘i by:

- Making a donation at canisters available at all Zippy’s locations

- Purchasing a Kokua Pac. Through the end of April, $0.25 from each Kokua Pac sold will be donated to Special Olympics Hawai‘i

- “Buying” an icon. One hundred percent of icon sales will go to the nonprofit


Additionally, families and keiki can learn more about Special Olympics Hawai‘i with Zippy’s new keiki menu featuring messages that focus on Special Olympics’ athletes’ hard work and abilities.


“No matter what your age or ability level, sports is a great tool to bring people and communities together – something that Zippy’s Restaurants is passionate about,” said Marketing Manager of Zippy’s Restaurants, Jeanine Mamiya-Kalahiki, “We are so proud to become a member of the Special Olympics Hawai‘i team by doing our part to share their good work and helping to get their athletes to the games!”


The Mighty Ducks celebrate 20 years of quacking

By Valery O’Brien, Mother Duck


In 1994, the parent of a Kalani High School special needs student began worrying about her son’s life after graduation. How would her son stay in contact with his friends? What opportunities would he have to form new friendships and enjoy new experiences?

As she did research and spoke to others it occurred to her that the solution to her concerns was to form a Special Olympics team. So, she invited her son’s friends to join this new team. Most had not participated in Special Olympics before and were uncertain about what would be involved, however the promise of after-practice snacks was enough to entice six students to sign up for the team. Special Olympics provided two coaches, and the team started practice.

The first sport the team undertook was basketball and for the first month athletes worked almost exclusively on how to be a team. Even getting them to stand in a line to take turns shooting typically sparked a spirited discussion of why they should do this, who should be first in line, and in which direction the line should extend.


Gradually however, the team began to learn the basics of basketball. As the area tournament approached, the issue of a team name for uniforms arose but was easily solved. The “Mighty Ducks” was a popular movie at the time and the team voted unanimously to adopt that moniker for their own.


At that first tournament our founding coaches made it very clear that their goal was not to win but to ensure that each player was fully involved in the game. To accomplish this they would often instruct a player to pass the ball to a teammate who was not engaged or disinterested with the game. The purpose was not to score points, but to have that player regain focus, interest in the game, and an understanding that he or she was an important part of the team. This principle -- that it is more important for each team member to fully participate in the game than it wa

s to win games -- has become an important part of the Ducks team culture.


By the next season the Mighty Ducks had grown enough to field a coach pitch softball team.  Swimming, track and field, soccer, bowling, power lifting and bocce followed. Nineteen years later, the Ducks team is much different.


Today the Might Ducks boasts more than 150 registered athletes, 22 coaches, four head coaches, 22 unified partners and 67 volunteers and Ducks’ teams compete in every sport offered by Special Olympics Hawai‘i.


Thank you to the many friends, parents, groups, and the Special Olympics staff that have encouraged, supported and assisted us in our first 20 years. We can’t wait to see what the next 20 bring!


West Hawai‘i powerlifters weigh in in first Hawai‘i Island Push-Pull Championship

By Denise Lindsey, Special Olympics West Hawai‘i Area Director


Earlier this month six Special Olympics West Hawai‘i powerlifters competed in Sonny’s First Annual Hawai‘i Island sanctioned Push-Pull Championship. Held in Hilo at the Edith Kanakaole Stadium on February 15, the meet attracted lifters from across the state and the U.S. mainland. In total 154 competitors wrestled it out in a variety of divisions, including a Special Olympics division.


Our Special Olympics Hawai‘i “Kona Krushers” lifters were Ray Donager, Nancyn Honma, Shawn Lehano, Dara Sabri, Isaiah Wong, and Quentin Wong. All six lifters from the Kona Krushers team set records for the World Association of Benchers and Dead Lifters.


All lifters were awarded medals and plaques were excited to be lifting amongst their peers and enjoyed the experience of the music, lights and cheers from the crowd. One of our own even took home the coveted award for “Most Outstanding Bench Press,” which went to Isaiah Wong!


Learn more about our West Hawai‘i’s powerlifters here.


Bowled over by Project UNIFY

By Navaeh Cabebe-Yamamamoto, Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School on Kaua‘i


Last year Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School’s Team UNIFY participated in a Special Olympics bowling competition for the first time. In preparation for the competition we spent a lot of time practicing and even competed at a tournament here on Kaua‘i.


We also met regularly as a group during leadership class, which included 31 Special Olympics athletes and unified partners (regular education students) to build relationships. Activities included learning about tolerance as well as one another’s similarities and each person’s unique attributes.


The fruits of our labor has already begun to blossom. An 8th grade class helped to raise funds for our team by initiating the ice bucket challenge at our school. Additionally, a 7th grade advisory organized a booth at our school during our fall festival with all proceeds benefitting our team. Some of our teachers also got into the spirit by purchasing our “Cheer Team” shirts and wearing them to school. This support demonstrated by our school community exemplifies our team’s model of unity, dignity, tolerance and acceptance.


Leading up to the Holiday Classic we practiced every week with our coaches, Ms. Fretto and Mrs. Thompson providing tips on how we could improve. At our first practice our team mostly bowled gutter balls. Over time though, not only did our bowling improve but so did the friendships.


The weekend of Holiday Classic was fun but busy. We woke up at 4 a.m. to get to the airport. Everyone was tired but very excited. When we landed on O‘ahu, we had to wait for the bus to arrive so spent the time speaking to other athletes. When speaking with the athletes you could hear the excitement in their voices. The bus ride to Hickam Bowling Alley was a lot of fun with everyone chatting or taking in the sights.


When it was time for the Unified teams to bowl we were awake and ready. The volunteers did a bit where for each strike they would do 10 pushups and five pushups for spares. It was fun to see them tease one another and do the pushups. Lucas, our volunteer, was really cool and helped motivate us. The lanes were different from the ones at home, which made it harder but we still managed to come in third place!


The next day we went to Marine Corps Air Station Kan‘eohe Bay to cheer on our teammates who were competing in singles bowling. After singles bowling wrapped up we went to the airport to wait for our flight.


It was a great experience to see everyone happy and doing things together as a team. All in all the trip was an unforgettable experience.






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