Special Olympics Hawai'i E-newsletter
Sports Day Gets Students of All Ability Levels On the Same Playing Field
Students of all ability levels left the classroom and took to the field for a different kind of lesson on the importance of inclusion. This past Friday, Jan. 22, hundreds of special education students from schools around Oʻahu took part in Special Olympics Hawai’
The 2016 Special Olympics Hawai'i's Sports Day celebrated its 10th year leveling the playing field and creating an arena of inclusion, acceptance and friendship. More than 180 Roosevelt High School students, both general and special education students alike, prepared for weeks to host this annual event promoting physical activity and community involvement. i’s 10th Annual Sports Day.
This year’s Sports Day allowed more than 155 participants from 10 public schools to tackle activities including bocce, soccer, softball as well as 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.
Polar Plunge Strikes Back, April 2
Registration is now open for this year’s Seventh Annual Polar Plunge to raise funds and awareness for Special Olympics Hawai‘i. The popular event is back in full FORCE on Saturday, April 2, 2016 at Waterfront Plaza on the lawn fronting Ala Moana Boulevard with 'Star Wars' as this year's theme. Polar Plunge asks participants to raise a minimum of $100 to take the plunge – this year down a new taller and longer slide measuring in at 36 feet high and 95 feet long.
Plungers & Jedis alike can register individually or as a team online at www.specialolympicshawaii.org.
Plunge time spots are available starting at 9 a.m. every hour till 12 noon. The event will also include family friendly activities on the lawn such as games, keiki arts and crafts and more. Spectators and supporters from the community are welcome to take part in the festivities to cheer on the plungers and enjoy a fun filled day with Special Olympics Hawai'i.
“Each year the Polar Plunge gives our supporters a chance to splash out with family, friends and colleagues all while raising critical funds for our athletes,” said Tracey Bender, Special Olympics Hawai'i development manager. “This year, ‘The Freeze Awakens’ with an even larger inflatable slide measuring 36 feet high and 95 feet long!”
Polar Plunges are regularly held across the Northeastern and Midwestern states, where participants jump into frozen lakes or ponds to help raise funds for nonprofits. Since 2008 Special Olympics Hawai'i’s Polar Plunge has helped raise $256,789 for local athletes.
This month we are excited to welcome our new development assistant, Shasta Yamada. A graduate of the University of Hawaii Manoa, Shasta holds a BA in creative media and communicology. She brings with her extensive experience in video production and design having started her own company, Shastagraphy, focusing on photography, video and audio/visual services. Other past experience includes serving as Youth Xchange program coordinator for Olelo Community Television and programming assistant for the Hawaii International Film Festival.
As a development assistant, Shasta will be involved with coordinating, fundraising for events and campaigns, maintaining donation records and acknowledging donors. She will also be responsible for assisting the organization with its graphic design needs.
In her free time, Shasta enjoys spending time at the beach, fishing, combing the beach for sea glass, or hanging out with friends doing archery. During the summer she loves to attend all the bon dance festivals here on Oahu and the neighbor islands.
Project UNIFY Feature: A Special Treat for the Waialua Bull Dogs and Bull Pups
Boarding the bus in Waialua on the evening of January 16, the students’ excitement vibrated through the air. The Waialua Bull Dogs and Bull Pups Unified basketball teams, made up of students from both special and general education, were on their way to the University of Hawai’i where they were invited to play an exhibition game during halftime of the UH Women’s Basketball game. The students were proud to represent their school, Special Olympics Hawai’i, and especially to play in a large arena for the first time.
When the students saw the Stan Sherriff Center court, they could not believe their eyes. The lights, the LCD screens, music, announcers, and the size of the arena were all more than they could have imagined. Cheering for the UH team throughout the first half of the game, the two teams could hardly sit still with excitement. basketball teams, made up of students from both special and general education, were on their way to the University of Hawai’i where they were invited to play an exhibition game during halftime of the UH Women’s Basketball game. The students were proud to represent their school, Special Olympics Hawai’i, and especially to play in a large arena for the first time.
After tip off, the teams brought the intensity to the court immediately with players scoring three pointers inciting enthusiastic cheers from the crowd. With their families, friends, and many UH fans in the audience, both teams impressed the audience with their ability to make plays and score baskets, despite their limitations and also their young age. Competing in the Stan Sherriff Arena was a very special moment for these two Unified teams. The players were inspired by this opportunity and will likely remember the event for the rest of their lives. A huge thank you to the UH Women’s Basketball team for inviting us to participate and for their support!
Mahalo Hickam Commissary!
On January 19, the Hickam Commissary hosted a Meet & Greet event with our JAF Screaming Eagles, one of Special Olympics Hawai’i’s delegations that is comprises of military families. Like last year, the commissary made a generous donation of $2,000 to Special Olympics.
NFL Pro Bowl Captains Become Coaches at Play60 Punt, Pass, & Kick Event
The NFL Play60 program held a special event for some of our athletes in celebration of this year's Pro Bowl.
NFL pro athletes Charles Woodson, Geno Atkins, Aaron Donald, Devonta Freeman, Adam 'Pacman' Jones, and Odell Beckham Jr. made the switch from player to coaches for a day - teaching our athletes how to punt, pass, and kick.
Mahalo to the NFL for this event, and to Turtle Bay Resort for hosting!
Replaying Fun from the Jersey Fun Run
Mahalo to ESPN 1420 for making Special Olympics Hawai'i the beneficiary of this unique event!