The 2015 Special Olympics World Games was held in Los Angeles July 25 – August 2, 2015. This momentous event was the largest in Los Angeles since the 1984 Olympic Games. More than 30,000 volunteers, 6,500 athletes and 2,000 coaches brought the attendance of more than half-a-million spectators. In addition, ESPN broadcasted coverage of the World Games to millions of fans across the globe.
Special Olympics was founded by Eunice Kennedy Shriver in 1968, seeking to promote the social inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities through the medium of athletic competition. The organization’s activities work to improve communal relations and overall quality of life enjoyed by individuals around the world, both those with and without intellectual disabilities. In honor of her legacy and vision, which continue to grow in Haiti and countries throughout the world, more young girls are finding their way onto the playing field of life from the Special Olympics programs.
Haiti was one of 165 countries represented at the games, sending 18 athletes, six coaches and four parents. The Caribbean country has participated moderately in Special Olympics events in the past 45 years. Following the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, the country’s involvement became greater with the Special Olympics organization establishing a five-year strategic plan to restructure and renew the Haitian chapter. Today, more than 1,000 young people participate in Special Olympics Haiti programs throughout the country. From sporting events and youth programs to health screenings and basic wellness education, Special Olympics Haiti as well as over 20 supporting organizations have engaged communities through many and varied mediums.
BoulderShares was proud to be a conduit, participant and partner during the sequential chain of events leading up to, through and after the games. BoulderShares was honored to partner directly with Fondation DIGICEL and Special Olympics Haiti, and of the host town of Redondo Beach. The Horwitz Family Memorial Foundation matched BoulderShares. Additional gifts-in-kind were procured by BoulderShares from Newton® Running, Fresh Produce, BoCo Gear and Advanced Systems Group. Special Olympics Haiti enjoyed the suppport from numerous in-country and other sponsors which are listed in the following article: http://bouldershares.org/nos-champions-article.html
A special shout out to Mia, a local Haitian American student of philanthropy at UCLA, who was inspired by the moment in an impromptu soccer match and mobilized resources in the stands to purchase brand new soccer gear for the Haitian team.
The Haitian delegation had the pleasure of participating in four sports: football, bocce ball, table tennis and track and field. Each athlete received two pairs of Newton Running shoes. The Haitian delegation’s performances were highly successful, with six of our girls winning ten medals wearing their shoes; overall, the Haitian delegation took home 11 medals in total. Two of the six girls had attended the all-girls Camp Shriver, leading to the decision to identify and select more girls to participate.
In conclusion, BoulderShares would like to thank Camp Shriver for letting us sponsor the first all-girls camp ever held anywhere in the world for athletes with disabilities. BoulderShares is also so very grateful to Special Olympics; thank you for believing in our vision of having Haitian girls compete on the playing field of life!
The Special Olympics World Games enjoyed great support from many icons of all sports!
To ESPN, Dikembe Mutombo said, “I come from a country that thinks intellectually disabled children are a curse, taboo, something your mom, an auntie, a grandpop did wrong … That’s how I was raised.” Athletic opportunities such as Special Olympics World Games provide unparalleled and essential opportunities for those with special needs to feel empowered—that they can do anything despite any disability they’ve been told they have. So often the focus is on what people cannot do, not what they can do. Focusing on a person’s strengths—particularly a child’s in such formative years—fosters a sense of confidence and self-worth to which every individual on this planet is entitled.
The Special Olympics World Games provided an unprecedented opportunity for the athletes in attendance. From competing on a global stage and winning medals and accolades to eating in a restaurant for the first time and seeing a giant stadium, the event no doubt served as an extraordinary experience for the competing athletes. Learn more.
Read more about the pivotal event in which Haiti excelled in an international competition of great magnitude. Many months of training and preparation inevitably paid off greatly for the athletes sent to the Special Olympics World Games.
Our Host Town
BoulderShares was honored to be invited into several of the host-town events organized by Redondo Beach, California. We were delighted to join the sequence of gift giving from US supporters. This was a tough act to follow as local California companies including Body Glove had very cool gifts waiting for the athletes to welcome them to Redondo Beach! After parties and a special parade on the pier, the baton was passed to BoulderShares to outfit the delegation for the send-off to the Olympic Village!
The Salvation Army of Redondo Beach offered use of their facilities to host a special breakfast for the athletes. It was the first time since hitting US soil that the delegates were able to experience their theme song, “AYITI LEVE” (see the video to the left) on a large screen. Faces lit up as the vibrant, energizing music video by national performers pumped up all involved with an upbeat Creole version of the philosophy of courage and fun that is Special Olympics. The breakfast hosted by the Salvation Army of Redondo Beach was the perfect venue to distribute the gifts from the BoulderShares sponsors. Thank you, Redondo Beach!
In the company of giants for a global cause: Haiti and the DRC celebrate the World Games
-Special Olympics motto