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Special Olympics Hawaii E-newsletter

January 2015


We’re calling on YOU to take the Polar Plunge, March 28

Registration is now open for the coolest event of the year – Polar Plunge! And this year we’re asking all of our loyal supporters to rise to the icy challenge by slipping and sliding down the island’s largest inflatable water slide into a pool of ice water – all to raise funds for Special Olympics Hawai‘i!

We’re hoping 350 brrrrave supporters will join us for a morning of frozen fun Saturday, March 28 from 9 a.m. -1 p.m. at Waterfront Plaza. Plungers are asked to raise a minimum of $100 by the day of the event and interested individuals and teams can register online at

This year, Aloha Air Cargo has generously come on board as the Gold Medal sponsor.

‘We are honored to support Special Olympics Hawaii, as Gold Medal sponsors for this year’s Polar Plunge,” said Michael Orozco, Director of Sales and Marketing at Aloha Air Cargo. “ We are huge fans of all Special Olympics athletes, and want to do our part to help them succeed and realize their dreams through the spirit of friendly competition.”


Sports Day invites students of all ability levels to come out and play

This year’s Sports Day provided another wonderful reminder that it really is about how you play the game – and who you play the game with. On Jan. 16, 2015 hundreds of special education students from schools around Oʻahu took to the field to get out, get active and have fun alongside their peers of different ability levels.

For nine years Special Olympics Hawai'i's annual Sports Day has helped to level the playing field and create an arena of inclusion, acceptance and friendship. More than 140 Roosevelt High School inclusionary students (both general and special education students) prepared for weeks to host this event promoting physical activity and community involvement.

Sports Day allowed participants to tackle activities including bocce, soccer, softball and track and field. The event is a joint collaboration between Special Olympics Hawai'i and Roosevelt High School's Project Unify Club, an inclusionary club with both general and special education student members.

Athlete Feature: Victoria “Vici” Allen helps inspiration blossom at Pasadena Tournament of Roses Parade

By Joyce Allen (Vici’s mother)

To start off the first day of 2015 our daughter, Victoria “Vici” Allen was given an incredible opportunity to represent Special Olympics Hawai'i by participating in the Kaiser Permanente Float at the 126th Annual Rose Parade. This year’s theme “Inspiring Stories” could not have been more appropriate considering how far Vici has come since she was first diagnosed with autism at age two and a half. Since then, Vici has been fortunate to have the most amazing people working with her to become the individual she is today.

With so many amazing experiences it is hard to say what our favorite part of our trip was since there were countless awe-inspiring moments: Seeing up close the amount of flowers used in each float gave us a newfound appreciation for the time and work that went into making each float; To Judging Day, when all the floats and float riders performed their routines before the parade; To watching our daughter in the Rose Parade, representing our beautiful state; Meeting other Special Olympics families from around the country with whom we shared a common bond; And of course, the amazing people who organized our stay and were always there if we needed anything.

We want to thank Special Olympics Hawai'i and Kaiser Permanente from the bottom of our hearts for this once in a lifetime experience. We are very proud and humbled to have been given this opportunity to share the aloha spirit with others.

This year’s 126th Rose Parade on New Year’s Day marks the 10th time that our Kaiser Permanente participated in this time-honored event. As a Founding Champion and Total Health Sponsor of the Special Olympics World Games 2015 (the world’s biggest international sports and humanitarian event next summer), Kaiser Permanente dedicated this year’s Rose Parade float to the 7,000 international athletes from 177 countries participating in next summer’s games. A lifelong Kaiser Permanente Hawai'i member, Vici has also been involved with Special Olympics for seven years.

Join us in a unified welcome for our new Project UNIFY coordinator

This month are excited to welcome new Project UNIFY Coordinator, Mollie Bruhl. A local girl born and raised on O'ahu, Mollie is a graduate of Loyola Marymount University where she received her BA in psychology. After graduating, she spent a year living in New Zealand volunteering as a YMCA camp outdoor instructor.

As Project UNIFY Coordinator, Mollie is responsible for implementing Special Olympics Hawai'i’s Project UNIFY program, which is designed to help develop and enhance schools throughout Hawai'i to become more inclusionary. The program works to provide opportunities through sports and non-sporting activities for students with and without disabilities to learn to know and respect one another.

Mollie moved home in September and has enjoyed being reunited with her favorite Hawai'i foods – specifically pork hash and spam musubi. In her free time she enjoys practicing yoga and spending time with her family.

Mollie replaces Tracey Bender who now serves as development manager overseeing fundraising initiatives.


ESPN Jersey Fun Run to benefit Special Olympics Hawai'i

This year’s Jersey Fun Run presented by ESPN 1420 will make its debut on Saturday, Jan. 31 at 9 a.m. at Aloha Stadium and proceeds from the event will benefit our local athletes! The event will feature an interactive 3K course (approximately two miles) that takes runners/walkers around the stadium and onto Hawaiian Airlines Field.

There is still time to sign up for the event at Discounts are available for military members, seniors, children and groups. Enter promo code SOHI at checkout and receive a $5 discount!

Held the day before Super Bowl XLIX, the Jersey Fun Run is a family-friendly event that is open to people of all ages. The event will include games, prizes, giveaways, entertainment and more. Participants are encouraged to wear their favorite team jersey or colors.

“We continue to look for ways to serve the community, and the Jersey Fun Run promises to be a tremendous addition to our roster of events,” says Mike Kelly, president and general manager of ESPN 1420. “The emphasis is on fun, fitness and family, and it gives Hawai'i residents an opportunity to get out and enjoy themselves – and all for a worthy cause.”

Hickam Commissary

This month some of our athletes had the opportunity to visit the Hickam Commissary to celebrate their P&G Special Olympics campaign! Not only were our athletes invited to participate in the day’s activities, but the Commissary also generously made a donation of $2,000 to our athletes. Mahalo Hickam Commissary!


The Manifest Man Challenge

A big mahalo to The Manifest for selecting Special Olympics Hawai'i as the beneficiary of their 2014 Man Challenge. The men who spent the month of No Shave November growing out their facial hair were able to raise more than $1,504 for our athletes. Here is Tracey Bender with Scott Sevadijan, winner of the Best Mustache contest and Nohea Crabbe, winner of Best Bear and overall Best in Show.


Bank of Hawaii Live Kokua Giving campaign

Mahalo to Bank of Hawai'i employees who selected Special Olympics Hawai'i as one of the 22 beneficiaries in last year’s Live Kōkua Giving Campaign. The Bank of Hawai'i 'ohana, which includes employees and retirees, donated a total of $16,646.15 to our organization. This is the fifth year of the campaign where employees actively fundraise and donate money to help nonprofits better serve their community.


Holiday Classic celebrates 25 years

This year, Special Olympics Hawai'i’s Holiday Classic marked 25 years helping athletes and coaches compete in sports including basketball, singles and Unified® team bowling as well as traditional and Unified® doubles bocce. A record number of athletes and coaches participated in the event -- more than 1,200 across the state – making the weekend even more festive.

Sign up today for Polar Plunge 2015!


Registration is now open for Polar Plunge 2015, taking place Saturday, March 28 at Waterfront Plaza! As an incentive, early birds who raise the $100 minimum by Sunday, Feb. 8, will be entered into a drawing for two VIP tickets to the Boys II Men concert on Feb. 14! Sign up today!



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