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Special Olympics Hawai'i E-newsletter

June 2015


Hawai’i Independent Energy Gasses Up for 10th Annual Fueling Dreams to Benefit Special Olympics Hawai’i

The next time you fill your gas tank, you could also help fulfill the dreams of local athletes. From July 1 through August 4, 2015, motorists can make a donation to Special Olympics Hawai’i at any participating Tesoro2Go or 76 Hawaii store statewide. All donations received will help the local nonprofit provide opportunities for athletes with intellectual disabilities to compete on a local, national and international level.

As part of the month-long event, there will be a drawing for one of three $500 gift cards. Those who donate $5 will receive one entry; those who donate $20 will receive five entries. Donations are not required to enter the drawing.

For free entry blanks, send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to Special Olympics Hawai‘i, P.O. Box 3295, Honolulu, Hawai‘i 96801.

“Hawai’i Independent Energy is very proud to celebrate 10 years of fueling the dreams of our local Special Olympics athletes. Our team is passionate about the organization and their work, and with the 76 Hawaii stations joining us this year, we’re expecting even greater support for the athletes,” said Eric Lee, Hawaii Independent Energy’s Vice President – Branded Retail.

“We are so grateful for our loyal customers who have helped us to raise more than $784,000 for Special Olympics to date. With their help we hope to reach our goal of raising $1 million to support our local athletes,” Lee added.

This year 25 Tesoro2Go and 13 76 Hawaii locations throughout O‘ahu, Hawai‘i Island and Maui will be accepting donations for Special Olympics Hawai‘i.

“Hawaii Independent Energy and its predecessors have been one of the greatest supporters of Special Olympics Hawai’i and Fueling Dreams is one of our longest-running annual fundraisers,” said Nancy Bottelo, Special Olympics Hawai’i president and CEO. “Each year the money that Hawaii Independent Energy raises plays a critical role in our work to help level the playing field and fuel the dreams of athletes with intellectual disabilities.”

It’s Cool to be a Fan!

Special Olympics Hawai'i fans show their support in many different ways. In addition to volunteering or cheering on our athletes at dozens of sporting competitions and practices throughout the year, you can now support Special Olympics Hawai'i by becoming an official member of our newly revamped Fan Club!

To join today, click here.

Members may join as a Sustaining Member with a monthly membership fee or with a One-Time contribution. Your membership fee is tax-deductible and each member will receive a membership gift. All membership fees go directly to our athletes, providing them with year-round sports training and competition at no cost to them or their families.

“Joining the Fan Club is a great way for grandparents, aunties, uncles, cousins and other family members and friends of our local athletes to support Special Olympics Hawaii," said Tracey Bender, Special Olympics Hawai'i Development Manager. "We also get asked by our volunteers how else they can help and the Fan Club is an easy way for people to stay connected and support us throughout the year.”

Visit to donate and/or join online. For more information, contact Tracey Bender at (808) 695-3524 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Project UNIFY Thrives at Hilo High

When athlete Neal Plunkett crossed the stage at his graduation ceremony to receive his diploma, the entire audience felt the true meaning of “inclusion.” Teachers, parents, family, and friends in the audience were astonished and proud at the support that Neal received from his classmates and friends. There wasn’t a dry eye in the arena.

Hilo High School exemplifies Project UNIFY and the spirit of inclusion. There are countless stories in addition to this one of Neal’s graduation that showcases the effects Hilo High School Special Education teacher Jo Ann Nishimoto’s hard work has had over the last few years.

In order to attend Special Olympics Hawaii’s State Summer Games, many Hilo High Unified Partners made the difficult choice to skip their own Project Graduation night to fly to O’ahu. They couldn’t imagine letting their team down.

When one Unified Partner’s grades dropped, he was no longer able to compete on his Unified track relay team. His teammates motivated him to work with his teachers, complete extra credit assignments, and bring his grades back up so that he was eligible to compete again.

Athlete, Kyle Fujihara, went from a troublemaker who you could find sitting in the principal’s office almost every single day to the Co-President of the State Youth Activation Committee, a Global Messenger, and a leader amongst his peers.

Hilo High involves their whole school in their Project UNIFY activities and the result is a school climate of acceptance and inclusion for all. The students and teachers at Hilo High School are amazing examples for all of us. Go Viks!


Zippy’s Raises More Than $50,000 for Special Olympics Hawai’i

In one of the most successful campaigns in the company’s history, Zippy’s Restaurants recently announced that it raised $52,100 for Special Olympics Hawai’i athletes.

"We are very pleased with the results of our Special Olympics promotion." stated Paul Yokota, President of Zippy's Restaurants. "This was one of the most successful campaigns we've ever had and we were so excited to see the strong support Special Olympics received from our local communities."

The promotional campaign ran from March 1 – April 30, 2015 and allowed customers to support Special Olympics Hawai’i through donation canisters or “buying” a cut out. Also, a portion of all Kokua Pac proceeds were donated to Special Olympics Hawai’i. Families and keiki were also able learn more about Special Olympics Hawai’i with Zippy’s keiki menu that featured messages focused on Special Olympics’ athletes’ dedication and abilities.

“We are so thrilled with this partnership and the support we received from Zippy’s Restaurants. It will be a great help to our athletes, providing them with the training and health exams they need to compete at the top of their game,” said Nancy Bottelo, Special Olympics Hawai’i president and CEO.


Special Olympics Fundraiser Takes Participants Over the Edge

Registration is now open for this year’s 7th Annual Over the Edge event on Saturday, November 7. Subscribers to our e-newsletter are getting a chance to sign up FIRST to be among the 100 or so thrill seekers who will rappel more than 40 stories down the side of the Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort and Spa. All participants are asked to raise a minimum of $1,000 to benefit Special Olympics Hawai’i.

Sign up now here.

“Over the Edge is all about challenging what people think they are capable of – much like our athletes do every day. Many people who participate are afraid of heights and Over the Edge helps them to conquer that fear, in a way that benefits our community of athletes” said Nancy Bottelo, Special Olympics Hawai’i president and CEO.

Early registration is open from from July 1 to September 14. Those who sign up during this period are eligible to receive a 50 percent discount off the registration fee. Participants who sign up as a team of at least three members can take advantage of a $25 deposit during the early registration period. After September 14, the registration fee is $100. Returning participants do not need to pay a registration fee.

Participants must be at least 18 years of age by November 7, and weigh less than 300 pounds to participate. Each participant will receive a 2015 Over the Edge t-shirt. Additional prizes will be available to those who raise more than the $1,000 minimum.

Interested individuals are encouraged to sign up today online at If you have any questions, contact Tracey Bender at (808) 695-3524 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .


Special Olympics Unified Relay Across America Arrives in Aloha State

Blazing a path across 50 states over 46 days, the Special Olympics Unified Relay Across America Flame of Hope will light up Honolulu when it arrives on Tuesday, July 7. Honolulu is the Flame of Hope ‘s last stop on its southern route before heading to the 2015 Special Olympics World Games in Los Angeles, where it will mark the Games’ Opening Ceremonies.

Supporters have the opportunity to run with the Flame of Hope by signing up at as an individual torchbearer or as a team of torchbearers for a half-mile walk or run segment or a five-mile bike segment in an area of interest across the United States. Torchbearers will also have the opportunity to keep the torch they ran with by meeting certain fundraising goals.

In Hawaii the Flame of Hope will travel from Tesoro (located on King and Cooke Street) to Kaiser Permanente’s Honolulu Medical Office and then make its way to Microsoft at Ala Moana Center. The run starts at 6 p.m. and the festivities at Microsoft at Ala Moana Center will begin at approximately 7 p.m.

“As a Founding Champion and the Official Health Partner of the 2015 World Games, Kaiser Permanente is proud to help our local athletes thrive on their journey to the Games,” said Kaiser Permanente Hawaii President Mary Ann Barnes, RN.

This year’s Special Olympics World Games is scheduled to take place take place July 25 – August 2, 2015, and will feature athletes from 170 nations competing in 17 sports. Three Hawai‘i athletes have been selected to participate in Special Olympics’ 2015 World Games in Los Angeles, California. Chaunci Cummings, Ikaika Morita-Sunada, and Isaiah Wong from Hawai‘i will represent not only the islands, but their country as members of Special Olympics USA.

Participants can find out more information and sign up for the Unified Relay Across America presented by Bank of America at



Mahalo City Auto Supply

Mahalo City Auto Supply for selecting Special Olympics Hawaii as the beneficiary of your 2014 golf tournament! This month General Manager, Blaise Brown presented us with a check for $5,000.

Donate HawaiianMiles

Donate funds or HawaiianMiles to help get our neighbor island athletes to the games!


Congrats Grads!

Congratulations to Special Olympics Hawaii athlete Neal (center) who graduated along with his friends and Unified Partners from Hilo High School this month!

We would also like to extend our congratulations to the following Farrington High School Special Olympics Hawaii athletes on their graduation: Lea Carissa Batangan, Jasmin Cozo, Austin Enos, Knighted Ono and Dallas Nickichiw.




State Summer Games Photos!

Check out a few of our favorite snaps from last month’s 47th Annual State Summer Games.



Special Olympics Hawai’i Receives $11,000 from Local Businesses

A number of local businesses helped hit a home run for Special Olympics Hawai’i  athletes. Over the last few months Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt, Big City Diner, IHOP Hawai’i, Teddy’s Bigger Burgers, and Papa John’s Hawai’i collectively raised more than $11,000 for Special Olympics Hawai’i through promotional campaigns and programs.

“We are so grateful to have the support of our local community,” said Nancy Bottelo, Special Olympics Hawai’i president and CEO. “So many great businesses are making it easier for the rest of the community to get involved and help our athletes.”



Way to Go Chaunci

Earlier this month Special Olympics World Games athlete Chaunci Cummings was honored with a proclamation by Mayor Bernard Carvalho and certificates of recognition by Representative Derek S.K. Kawakami and Senator Ronald Kouchi!



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