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Special Olympics Hawaii E-Newsletter

May 2016


Drive Support for Our Athletes



The next time you fill up your tank, you can help fulfill the dreams of our athletes with intellectual disabilities. From June 1 through July 5, 2016, take a quick drive over to any participating Tesoro or 76 station statewide and make a donation to Special Olympics Hawai’i. Proceeds will provide opportunities for local athletes to compete and train here in the islands free of charge.

“In the more than 25 years that Hawai’i Independent Energy has partnered with Special Olympics Hawai’i, we’re proud to have raised over $881,000 to support their important work,” said Eric Lee, Par Hawai’i’s Vice President – Branded Retail. “These athletes, their families, friends and coaches are all members of our extended Par Hawai’i ‘ohana and it brings us great joy to be able to help further their goals and dreams through our ‘Fueling Dreams’ event.”

This year, 25 Tesoro and 14 76-branded stations throughout O‘ahu, Hawai‘i Island and Maui will be accepting donations for Special Olympics Hawai‘i.

During the month-long event the more you give the more you’ll get.  Those who donate $5 will receive one entry; those who donate $20 will receive five entries for a random drawing to win one of three $500 gift cards. The winner may choose from either a $500 76 gift card or VISA/American Express gift card. A donation is not required to enter the drawing. For a free entry blank, send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to Special Olympics Hawai‘i, P.O. Box 3295, Honolulu, Hawai‘i 96801.


Special Olympics Tops Harris Poll

Special Olympics was recently named the Top Disability Organization in the Harris Poll when the 28th annual EquiTrend Study was released. The Harris Poll EquiTrend Study reveals the strongest brands in nearly 100 categories across the media, travel, financial, automotive, entertainment, retail, restaurant and household industries, based on consumer response. Measuring brands’ health over time, the EquiTrend Brand Equity Index is comprised of three factors – familiarity, quality and purchase consideration -- that result in a brand equity rating for each brand.

Save The Date: Special Olympics Hawai'i State Summer Gamesl
We hope you can join us June 3-5, to help cheer on our more than 1,000 athletes and coaches competing in this year's 48th Annual State Summer Games. Special Olympics athletes from across the state will parade into the Les Murakami Stadium Friday, June 3, at 7 p.m. for the organization's 48th annual State Summer Games' Opening Ceremonies. Don't forget to say that you're there for Special Olympics at the gate and enjoy complimentary parking throughout the Games!

The Opening Ceremonies also celebrates the finish line of the annual First Hawaiian Bank Troy Barboza Law Enforcement Torch Run, in which law enforcement officers from around the state will carry the torch, representing the Flame of Hope, symbolizing the opportunities, awareness and hope for people with intellectual disabilities. It is the only Torch Run program in the world to be named after a fallen officer.

This year, athletes will participate in powerlifting, softball, track and field, and swimming. Months of training and tons of fierce determination have prepared athletes and coaches from around the state to compete in an Olympic-style competition that celebrates sportsmanship and acceptance. Additionally, Special Olympics Hawai'i will provide a Young Athlete Program, Healthy Athlete Village and Olympic Town with activities for athletes and families to enjoy throughout the event



Special Olympics Hawai’i Announces 2016 Board of Directors

Special Olympics Hawai’i recently introduced the officers and members of its board of directors, which will work together to guide the organization’s work in 2016 and beyond. Serving as the nonprofit’s chair is Tom Weber (Par Hawai‘i Refining) along with vice chairs Tim Brauer (The James Campbell Company) and Sam Moku (Hawai‘i Pacific University).


“It is an honor to serve Special Olympics Hawai’i and its athletes and families. I look forward to the many exciting opportunities this year holds,” says Tom Weber, Par Hawai’i Refining. “We have a very strong group who are all dedicated to moving forward and sharing the important work of Special Olympics here in Hawai’i.”


A full list of Special Olympics Hawai’i’s 2016 board of directors includes:


Officers of the Board:

  • Chair: Tom Weber (Par Hawai’i Refining)
  • Vice Chair: Tim Brauer (The James Campbell Company)
  • Vice Chair: Sam Moku (Hawai‘i Pacific University)
  • Secretary: Nina Nakaahiki (Elite Parking Services)
  • Treasurer: Keith Asato (Hawaiian Airlines)
  • Past Chair: Todd Apo (The Howard Hughes Corporation)

Members of the Board:

  • Jade Ching  (Alston Hunt Floyd & Ing)
  • Kam Chun (Matson)
  • Jeff Higashi (First Hawaiian Bank)
  • Major Kurt Kendro (Honolulu Police Department)
  • Serge Krivatsy (Niu and Associates, LLC)
  • Peter Luke (Insurance Investments)
  • Renee Manfredi (Special Olympics Hawai’i Athlete)
  • James Moniz (Bank of Hawai‘i)
  • John Robinette  (Matson Navigation, retired)
  • Tayne Sekimura (Hawaiian Electric Industries)
  • Kelvin Shigemura (Armstrong Produce)
  • Shirley Swinney (Kapolei Community Development Corporation)
  • Dr. Susan Stewart (Parent, Physician)
  • Craig Washofsky (Servco Pacific Inc.)


Emeritus Board:

  • Clint Churchill (The Estate of James Campbell)
  • Sandy Hartley (Parent, The Hartley Foundation)
  • Howard Karr (First Hawaiian Bank, retired)
  • Rodney Shinkawa (Hawaii Banker’s Association)
  • Allan Yasue (PricewaterhouseCoopers, retired)



Project Unify Feature: Bang!

By Kenneth Kitahata, Hilo High School Project UNIFY, YAC Representative

As a four-year volunteer with Project UNIFY/Special Olympics, my job is to mentor special education student-athletes. However, I often find myself learning from them about compassion, patience, and flexibility in changing situations.

In school I've noticed that special education students were heavily segregated from their peers and an almost invisible feature of the school. Project UNIFY at Hilo High was starting to develop when I joined my freshman year. However, I had ideas to build the program. I began helping to organize monthly activities like collaborating get-togethers with the Leo Club and Special Olympic Student-Athletes. I was involved with a "Spread the Word To End the R-Word" campaign to educate students on the importance of special education language and terminology. We held a Mini-Special Olympics, where 10 school clubs and sports teams paired with a special needs student to compete as a team.

I’ve witnessed my friends in the special education department overcome countless obstacles. When I met Neal, he was a reserved 16-year-old basketball lover who struggled to write his name and decipher letters. We bonded and soon became doubles bowling partners. As our friendship grew, I was constantly inspired by his positive and patient outlook in the face of difficulty, but we were not the only two who benefited.


As Project UNIFY grew, special education students became increasingly integrated with their peers. Neal and his graduating classmates bought senior class T-shirts, and even attended prom.


One of my proudest experiences was when Special Olympic Athletes ran through a tunnel of basketball players and huddled with them during a Homecoming Game. They flashed wide smiles as their names boomed on the loudspeaker. While our team won (with their new and vocal supporters), the real victory was that the special education students were embraced by the team. When Neal graduated last year from high school, I stood at the podium as Master of Ceremonies and heard cheers and “shakas” (gesture of support) rise from the crowd, led by his Project UINFY friends.


As a leader in the classroom, school clubs, student government, and sports, I am in a unique position to create change by connecting individuals and groups on campus who might not ordinarily interact. Over four years, I have seen positive connections and greater involvement resulting from Project UNIFY. It is a highlight of my high school experience and a measure of my personal growth---in short, a life lesson of compassion and acceptance in one unexpected package



Sponsor Feature: COSCO Air Conditioning and Refrigeration

Special Olympics Hawai'i recently received a cool $25,000 donation from Cosco Air Conditioning and Refrigeration to help support our organization's programs and competitions. As Special Olympics Hawai'i's newest year-round supporter, the company will help to provide athletic opportunities free of charge for our athletes with intellectual disabilities.

"As a local, family-owned business, we are thrilled to support the families of Special Olympics Hawai'i and their courage in overcoming obstacles both at home in their daily lives and in the competition arena," said Bobbie Cosco, CEO of Cosco Air Conditioning and Refrigeration. "We feel honored to help support these athletes and all of their accomplishments."
Cosco Air Conditioning and Refrigeration has served Hawai'i's industrial needs for over 60 years and continues to be a unique asset in the industrial world. Their generosity in supporting Special Olympics Hawai'i further accentuates their willingness to provide world-class service above and beyond the expected standard. With locations on four of the major islands, the Cosco brand has grown into one of Hawai'i's leading industry specialty suppliers.

“The incredible support from local companies like Cosco Air Conditioning and Refrigeration allows us to continue to serve and expand our reach to even more athletes and families,” said Nancy Bottelo, president and CEO of Special Olympics Hawai’i. “We are extremely grateful to the Cosco family business for their continued support.”

Mahalo Menchies

Mahalo to one of our icon campaign supporters, Menchies for stepping up to the plate for another year! Menchies raised $1,151 to help our athletes get to the games.

Vim and Vigor
Visit Vim N' Vigor at Ala Moana Center anytime during the month of May and make a donation to help support our Central, Honolulu and Windward Oahu athletes!

A Medium Rare Opportunity to Support Special Olympics Hawaii
Don't forget that you still have through the end of May to make a donation to our athletes at Teddy's Bigger Burger's Kapiolani and Wahiawa locations!

This year Over The Edge will be on November 5, 2016.  To register: e-mail Tracey Bender at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it



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