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Special Olympics Hawaii E-Newsletter
October 2017

HEI Charitable Foundation Commits $50,000 to Special Olympics Hawai‘i Sports and Wellness Center

Hawaiian Electric Industries (HEI) Charitable Foundation has committed $50,000 towards the construction of the Special Olympics Hawai‘i Sports and Wellness Center. Named one of the most charitable companies in the state, HEI Charitable Foundation is focused on community programs aimed at promoting environmental sustainability, educational excellence, economic growth, and community development.

The HEI Charitable Foundation gift will go towards construction of the Sports and Wellness Center, which is being designed specifically to unite athletes of all ability levels. Infrastructure, including grass playing fields and a running long jump and track is scheduled to be completed this month. Vertical construction is planned to begin in early 2018.

“Our commitment to enhancing communities includes support for Special Olympics Hawaiʻi and their plans to build a sports and wellness center serving West Oʻahu athletes and their families,” said AJ Halagao, executive vice president, HEI Charitable Foundation. “By encouraging healthy lifestyles and advancing life skills, the facility and programs will have a positive impact in the community that extends beyond an arena for athletic events. We are inspired by Special Olympics’ goal of creating a welcoming and inclusive environment where children and adults with intellectual disabilities can strive for their personal best.”

Located in Kapolei adjacent to the Kroc Center, the Special Olympics Hawai‘i Sports and Wellness Center will provide athletes access to a range of services including sports training and competitions, physical examinations, oral health screening, vision testing, sports skills assessments, and other sports medicine disciplines. Special Olympics Hawai‘i’s program headquarters will also be located in the center and host leadership training for sports and event manage­ment, volunteer management, trainings, organizational management, and more.


Hawai’i LETR Recognized with Sapphire Award at National Conference

Last month, a Hawai’i delegation of the Law Enforcement Torch Run (LETR) traveled to Nashville, TN to attend the 2017 International Law Enforcement Torch Run Conference. The team included Lt. Guy Demello, Corporal Rob Steiner, Officer Tom Billins and Officer Bryant Ho of the Honolulu Police Department, Officer Paul Mangus from the Hawaii Police Department, and Cindy Ujimori (Director of Volunteers and Corporate Relations) and Tracey Bender (Director of Development) from Special Olympics Hawaii. Also in attendance were Chief Antonio Williams (U.S. Army Installation Management Command-Pacific) and Chief Master Sergeant Ray Duropan (Retired Hawaii Air National Guard and Honolulu Police Department). Chief Williams and CMSgt. Duropan proudly represented Hawai’i as presenters at the conference.

During the conference, the group was recognized with a Sapphire Award on behalf of all law enforcement officers who participated in the 2016 Torch Run and volunteered their time to raise more than $350,000 for Special Olympics Hawai’i athletes. The group was also able to network with other LETR representatives from around the world and came away with new energy as well as ideas to raise public awareness and provide financial support for Special Olympics athletes.

“The conference was a fabulous opportunity for us to find out what other law enforcement officers around the nation are doing for Special Olympics,” said Lt. Guy Demello. “We also heard athlete speakers from Special Olympics Tennessee and that really hit home for us and reminded us why we do what we do for our local athletes.”



Helping to Spread the Word on Health

Last month Healthy Communities Manager, Jen Ernst, attended the Special Olympics International Health and Fitness Meeting in Washington, D.C. The meeting provided information and tools for unlocking access to health care in the community as well as best practices for follow up care, prevention, wellness, and community engagement.

Terminator’s athlete and Global Messenger, Renee Manfredi was selected to attend the Health Messenger training session along with 15 other athletes from North America. At the end of the training, Renee created and presented an informative and inspiring speech on how to treat individuals with an intellectual disabilities in the medical office.

“I really enjoyed meeting other Health Messengers and athletes from other places,” said Renee. “I hope that with all the information we have learned at this Health Conference there will be better results regarding the health of our Special Olympics athletes in the future.”

As Special Olympics Hawai’i’s first Health Messenger, Renee will present or co-present on inclusive health at conferences, meet with partners, funders and law makers to promote health and fitness within our local community and delegations as well as lead athlete and family advocacy networks.

Self-Actualization from Unified Sports

By, Jessica Adkins, Head Unified Coach and Unified Leadership teacher at Maui High School

I have always tried to explain self-actualization to my students when teaching Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, but to tell you the truth it was difficult because I had not personally experienced what I considered to be self-actualization until recently.

Recently my family moved back to Maui and I switched roles with my husband and became the primary caregiver for our children.

The first year that I moved back I had an opportunity to start a Unified Sports program in track and field. This was something that I thought, "Hey I can do this. It will not take much time and I know how to work with the special needs population as well as coach." Little did I know what I was in for!

Today, I am on my third school year of volunteering and building our Unified Sports program at Maui High School. With the support of Maui High School's administration, I have been able to develop a leadership class that creates opportunities for 
students to reach outside their comfort zone and experience critical social and emotional skills like identifying and managing feelings, effective communication, collaboration, goal setting, resilience and decision making. I based a lot of my curriculum off Project Adventure -- a program that I was introduced to during my kinesiology classes at Texas A&M University.

In my leadership class right now I have 14 students with intellectual disabilities and 15 students without intellectual disabilities. We have been working together for the past few months on the items I mentioned above as well as practicing for Unified basketball and bocce

Recently we were a part of an amazing event that the class initiated called "Fans in the Stands." During a basketball game, one could feel the excitement from the crowd and see the excitement on athletes’ faces. It was such a positive event to see other students cheering on and encouraging our Unified athletes. The atmosphere was more than I could have expected. The cheerleaders cheering, student government waving signs with the athletes’ names on them, and several other freshmen students shaking pom poms, and encouraging our Maui High School athletes. You should have heard the students when Jerimiah made a three pointer or when Nick made his granny shot. I always say this and will say it again. MAUI HIGH SCHOOL HAS THE BEST STUDENTS!!!!!

Thank you so much to everyone who helped make this day happen. It is because of you I finally realized self-actualization for the first time.



Visitor Industry Charity Walk

It was an honor to be selected as one of the recipients of Hawaii Lodging & Tourism Association’s 2017 Visitor Industry Charity Walk! Mahalo to the visitor industry for all that they do for our island community.


We’re partnering with Voya for the #InvestInSomethingSpecial Campaign and we need your help! Simply post what your goals are outside of sports, include a visual and tag @voya and #InvestInSomethingSpecial, and they will make a donation to Special Olympics!

Holoholo With Us

Top Walkers This Month:

Athlete- Kimo Costa: 1,020

Parent- Randall Yokota: 768

Volunteer- Buddy Bottelo 603

Don’t forget to join us for our weekly Holoholo Club! We are at 2 locations:
Windward Mall every Tuesday afternoon from 4:00 - 4:30p in front of Big City Diner

Honolulu Kitchen Icon Campaign

Stop by Honolulu Kitchen in Waipahu between October 16th through December 16th for their icon campaign for Special Olympics Hawai'i




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