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Special Olympics Hawai‘i E-Newsletter

August/September 2015

Tip a Cop Returns, September 17-18

Volunteer law enforcement officers are back at Ward Village Shops, serving the public with another Special Olympics Hawai’i’s Tip a Cop event. On Thursday and Friday, September 17 and 18, diners can visit any one of four participating Ward Village Shops’ restaurants and support volunteer off-duty law enforcement officers who will be bussing tables and delivering food to raise tips and awareness for Special Olympics Hawai’i.


Tip a Cop will take place from 6 p.m. – 9 p.m. at Big City Diner, Genki Sushi, Kincaid’s and Ryan’s Grill at Ward Village Shops.


Additionally, Kincaid’s is offering a special promotion during Tip a Cop. Any guest that donates $5 or more to Special Olympics Hawai’i on Thursday or Friday will receive a complimentary Burnt Crème, signature dessert.  Additionally, guests can enter for a chance to win Janet Jackson tickets on both nights and KUMU Radio will be on-site on Thursday from 5 p.m. – 7 p.m.


“We are proud to build upon the success of Tip a Cop with a second event this year to raise even more funds and awareness for Special Olympics Hawai‘i,” said Katie Ka‘anapu, Ward Village director of community and retail marketing. “This year celebrates 25 years of Tip a Cop and Ward Village Shops is proud to be a supporter and partner for this meaningful event.”




Hawaii athletes rock World Games
By Nip Ho, Special Olympics USA’s Management Team

After spending eight days competing in the Special Olympics’ 2015 World Games in Los Angeles, three Hawai’i athletes returning back home in the islands – with a little extra luggage. Chaunci Cummings, Ikaika Morita-Sunada, and Isaiah Wong from Hawai‘i represented not only Hawai’i, but the country as members of Special Olympics USA and collectively earned two gold, five silver and two bronze medals.


The three athletes joined from 170 nations competing in 17 sports. The final results for Ikaika, Chaunci and Isaiah are:


Ikaika Morita-Sunada

100 meter freestyle (00:01:24.50):             4th Place

4 x 100 meter medley relay (00:06:45.66):           Silver Medal

100 meter breaststroke(00:01:41;76):                   Bronze Medal

200 meter breaststroke (00:03:41.90):                  Silver Medal


Chaunci Cummings

Shot put (5.43 m): 5th Place

100 meter dash (00:00:23.14): Silver Medal

4 x 100 meter relay (00:01:39.45): Bronze Medal


Isaiah Wong

Male Dead Lift (205.00 kg): Gold Medal

Male Combination All Lifts (429.50 kg): Gold Medal

Male Squat Lift (180.00 kg): Silver Medal

Male Bench Press (107.50 kg): Silver Medal


This year’s Special Olympics World Summer Games took place July 25 – August 2, 2015.

Winning a medal wasn’t the only goal for participants in the Special Olympics’ 2015 World Games. These games also celebrated the Special Olympics movement while promoting the ideals of acceptance and inclusion through sports and highlighting the abilities of athletes with intellectual disabilities.


Elementary soccer gets UNIFIED

This month Special Olympics Hawai’i in partnership with Holomua Elementary School and Red Hill Elementary School hosted the first ever elementary-level Unified soccer tournament in Hawai’i. Students grades three to six with and without intellectual disabilities practiced together all summer and competed at the 2015 Aukake Classic on August 8.


Eduardo and Lina Romero shared that Unified soccer “…was a lot of fun for our son. It provided him with a unique experience not found inside a classroom…It created an encouraging environment to interact with his peers and score points…Not only will [Unified Sports] prepare our son for a realistic setting outside of school, but he will have more opportunities to grow as a person.”


The elementary Unified soccer division fits right in with the Special Olympics’ mission to give athletes opportunities to demonstrate courage and experience joy. For many of these young athletes, it was their first chance to be a part of a true team, something that everyone should have the opportunity to experience.


Holomua Elementary School Special Education teacher and coach, Joyce Agcaoili shared “Unified soccer allowed our athletes to develop their skills as well as work together as a team. It was amazing to witness their growth and celebrate their success. This experience was simply priceless – both for our students and as teachers to witness.”

“I loved seeing the joy on the athletes’ faces when they played on the field and received their medals,” said coach Julie Bonilla, Special Education teacher and coach, Holomua Elementary School.

Special Olympics Hawai’i family member, Kate Stender said of her granddaughter, “Alyssa…was just starting out, [but] was able to kick the ball and it made her feel good to be able to dress up in her uniform.” It’s amazing how something so simple, can mean so much!

This is the beauty of Unified Sports®. Being a part of a team provides a space for growth and expression for individuals of all abilities and all ages.

Unified Sports® in schools is a part of the Project UNIFY program. Project UNIFY aims to create inclusive and accepting school environments through Unified Sports®, inclusive youth leadership, and whole school engagement. For more information on Project UNIFY please contact Mollie Bruhl at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .




Sponsor Feature: Walmart

This year Walmart stores statewide celebrate five years hosting Cop on Top. In 2011, the company stepped up to the plate to host Special Olympics Hawai’i’s largest annual fundraiser and also supports us through grants.

“Walmart is proud to support the communities we serve in the islands,” said Steven Reed, Walmart Hawai’i Market Manager. “As we observe a five-year relationship with Special Olympics’ Cop on Top, we are humbled to see firsthand the positive impact funds raised at our stores have had on our local athletes with intellectual disabilities.”

This year Cop on Top takes place at Walmart locations statewide as well as other locations on O’ahu from August 27 – 29. Cop on Top has volunteer law enforcement spend three straight days on top of scaffolding, with the goal of raising awareness and a set amount of funds.


Zombies make a run for Hawaii, October 31
Celebrate Halloween with a run that benefits local non-profits including Special Olympics Hawaii!

The zombies are coming. Make a run for your life and sign up for the first ever Run the ZA, a 5k zombie apocalypse run. The event promises a screaming good time this Halloween, Oct. 31, 2015 at Kualoa Ranch. Sign up is now open at with a portion of all ticket sales benefitting Special Olympics Hawaii and JDRF.

Adult tickets are $65 while tickets for children 12 and younger are $30. Registration includes a RUN the ZA t-shirt and ZA runner’s kit. All ages are welcome to participate -- whether in human or zombie form. Runners under the age of 12 must be accompanied by an adult.

Discounts are also available for students (code: RUNTHEZASTUDENT10) and members of the military (code: RUNTHEZAMILITARY15).



Talking story with Special Olympics’ Chairman
By Nathaniel Pak, Special Olympics Hawaii parent

It’s easy to get lost in the Hawaii Convention Center. Especially when it’s filled with Lions. And I keep thinking about the TV show. Still after a couple of trips up and down the escalators in search of a hidden second floor between One and Three, we spot a familiar face and our family is guided to the opposite side of the Center where an elevator and a friendly face delivers us to an actual second floor conference room to meet Special Olympics Chairman Timothy Shriver.

Several other families are already there, and more gradually trickled in, many with lei, pins, and other mementos to share their aloha with the chairman of Special Olympics Hawai’i.

Reyse, of course, has already given away his pins to the first couple of people he meets -- our elevator guide, and one of his teammates from the Mighty Ducks. His mom gently persuades him to temporarily retrieve a pin from his friend, so he can give it to Mr. Shriver.

More families arrive, then our guest of honor, Tim Shriver. He looks a little tired, but he seems to gain energy and a smile as he receives lei and gifts and poses for pictures with our athletes and their families. The center of the room is filled by a big conference table surrounded by seating for about a dozen or so people. While several of the athletes quickly lay claim to some of the swiveling executive chairs around the table, most of the families hang around the edges of the room.

Tim, having none of that invites and persuades everyone to form one large circle, no one on the inside or the outside. We’re family, he reminds us. He’s tall, toothy, with head of hair that leaves no doubt about what family he’s from, but after a round of introductions is quick to observe that in Hawai’i we invariably and uniquely tend to identify ourselves by our relationships to others. Our family ties.

A discussion follows about where the Special Olympic movement has been, where it is now and how it can improve going forward. Talk turns to the needs of families new to the program, as well as those of aging athletes, to Unified programs in schools, the social vs. competitive aspects of Special Olympics, technology and social media in the Special Olympic movement, and more.

Our leader reaches into a seasoned facilitator’s bag of tricks to elicit participation, and seems most impressed when amid the usual nods to participation and fair play in response to a question about the importance of winning, an athlete, Cydnee Guzman, emphatically states, “I like WINNING!”

We take a moment for prayers and thoughts for Nick, recovering from injuries, and then it’s time to move on. Tim must leave for a flight across several time zones, and the rest of us have the remainder of our weekend to spend. Too late for soccer practice, but a Sunday afternoon well spent.



Mahalo for supporting Cop on Top!

Thanks to our amazing volunteer law enforcement and your kokua this year's Cop on Top raised more than $184,650 for our local athletes!


Support for Nick Pang

We are happy to report that SOHI athlete Nick Pang is doing well. Support his recovery by donating to his fund at First Hawaiian Bank. It is still a long road ahead for Nick and his family - let's share our support!



Mahalo to Elite Parking Services for being our Gold Medal Sponsors of our Over The Edge event!

Thank you to those who have already registered and have helped us to reach over $26,500 towards our
goal! Together, we can continue to provide free programs to our special needs athletes!

Exclusively for new registrants! Sign up between now and September 30th and you will be entered to win a Zipline ride and 18 holes mini golf for two people at Bay View Mini-Putt and Zipline!
Click here to register for Over the Edge!





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