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COVERAGE

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First Lady, Michelle Obama Opens the World Games!

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Global Celebrities Join the Celebration u

Stevie Wonder • Paula Abdul • Avril Lavigne • Nicole Scherzinger, Michael Phelps • Eva Longoria • Jimmy Kimmel • Ed Harris, Lauren Potter • Damian Lillard • Siedah Garrett • O.A.R. • Greg Louganis So Many More, Join the Celebration!

Must See Memorable Moments u u Inspirational Stories of Triumph u u Resource Directory of Exceptional Companies u u

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First Lady, “Let The Games Begin” Michelle Obama

Parade of Athletes

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Celebrities Headline Special Olympics

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19 World Record Crowds Attend the Special Olympics

Symbol of Hope

TABLE OF CONTENTS A Note from the Editor . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Photographer’s Message . . . . . . . . . . 5 The First Lady Michelle Obama . . . . . . 8 About the Special Olympic World Games . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Circle of Inclusion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 Celebrities Headline the Special Olympics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Parade of Athletes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 World Record Crowds at the 2015 Special Olympics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 Memorable Moments . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 Steven Dodd Continues to Win! . . . . 28 Awards Ceremony Kayaking Competition . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32 Eunice Kennedy Shriver Legacy Lives On . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34 Costa Rica Takes the Win . . . . . . . . . 37 Olivia Quigley Wins the Gold! . . . . . . 39 2

What Does Nancy O’Dell, Michelle Kwan and Johnny Bananas All Have in Common? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41 Closing Ceremonies . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42 Can a Production Company Have a “Real Hero?” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44 Celebration After Ceremonies . . . . . . 46 Dain Blanton: A True Hero & Olympian . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50 Experience Through the Eyes of a Woman with Aspperger’s Syndrome . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52 Photographer’s Message . . . . . . . . . . 56 Assistant Christina LaScala . . . . . . . . 62 Assistant Christina LaScala at Work . . 64 Every Child Can Learn, A Message from the “Go To Pro” . . . . . . . . . . 66 A Few of Our Favorite Moments . . . . 69 Freddie B.’s Favorites . . . . . . . . . . . . . 71 Resource Directory . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 73


A NOTE FROM THE EDITOR

Robin Flutterby Borakove, World Games Correspondent

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hen I accepted the challenge to cover the Special Olympics World Games 2015, it turned out to be one of the best decisions I ever made. I believe that in spite of long hours, and eating on the fly, everything we did to get the stories for SpecialNeeds.com was a most rewarding experience. What an honor to be part of this historical event. There was such an overwhelming show of emotion, and the human spirit was at it’s finest. It will remain a favorite time in my life, this is for certain. What a rare occasion where you can be in the presence of so many from all over the globe at one time. Tears of joy, cheers of accomplishment, and laughter could be heard stretching far across Los Angeles and beyond. Colorful displays of uniforms, native dress, and flags from the 165 countries that participated in the celebration of this unified sporting event made for a

universal flavor. Truly a sight to be admired! I will never forget the way it felt to be on the field of the LA Coliseum during the Closing Ceremonies Party. Every person I met, danced with, hugged, or took photos with, was in a celebratory celebratory frame of mind. I take this opportunity to thank my Team! If not for all their work they contributed, we wouldn’t have been able to present this world class coverage. Freddie Bommer, Christina Lascala, and Kansas Johnson are some of the the most professional folks I have had the honor of working with. I am so grateful to them for putting up with this woman, myself, who is not always right, but has the tenacity to make it all happen. A special thanks to Steven Vanderpool, Danielle Yango, Samantha Toth, and of course to Patrick McClenahan for giving SpecialNeeds.com and myself this amazing opportunity. The Proclamation Award I received for my work is due in part to, our photographer, Freddie Bommer. I had the opportunity to meet Senator Stone because of it, and now have a chance to present my mission of a Resource Network for Special Needs Adults, to the State Senate. The images and emotional strings that I carry inside my heart and mind will fill many pages in my future journals. They will be stories about what brings us all together, and in the purest form of Love. That really is the theme among special needs folks, LOVE! ~ Robin Flutterby Borakove

See more at SpecialNeeds.com

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FREDDIE B. PHOTOGRAPHY: Fred Neil Bommer II

Fred Neil Bommer PHOTO BY ROBERTO CERENI PHOTOGRAPHY

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orn Fred Neil Bommer II after my grandfather Fred Neil Bommer, I grew up in Northern California and immediately after graduating from high school in Bakersfield, California, I went into the Marine Corps where I served for nearly seven years. Upon exiting active duty, I went into law enforcement and during the early part of my career, I remained in the Marine Corps Reserves and was activated for service for in the “Iraqi Freedom” conflict in 2003. Upon completion seven months later, I returned to my life and my career where I remain to this day with retirement within shouting distance. For as long as I can remember, I have always felt as if I was different from most others; and not wanting to be, and wondered why I had such difficulty “fitting in” with most social groups and settings. In referring to these difficulties and challenges of mine, I often referred to myself as “socially inept” as a way to explain away and label what I so much disliked about myself. No matter how hard I tried at times to interact with people as to feel socially “included,” I ended up either feeling minimally successful or successful not at all, which left me

emotionally exhausted from the effort. As difficult as it may be to understand, I could be in a group of people numbering from a few to the numerous and still feel “alone” — whether the group of people were comprised of family, acquaintances, strangers, or a combination thereof was irrelevant. Then in December of 2014, I discovered my adult son Joshua was suspected of having Asperger’s Syndrome and I remember asking myself, “What in the heck was that?” In an effort to understand my son more, I began reading about this condition I knew little about and once I did, the mystery about myself that has plagued me my entire life began to unravel and reveal itself. The more I read about the characteristics of Asperger’s Syndrome; and the fact it is reportedly was hereditary, the more I “checked off” the similarities between what was listed and my own life long difficulties. What began as a sneaking suspicion evolved into a question riddled by a host of mixed emotions that needed to be answered deep within me. So at the beginning of July 2015, after months of procrastination and indecision, I sought out and received an evaluation by a specialist and received my confirmation — I was an “Aspie,” a term used by many to refer to someone with Asperger’s Syndrome. Reflecting back upon life since childhood in light of my new found knowledge about myself, I realized I learned to mask, internalize, and/or hide much of what I felt inside; both on and off the job and in both social and non-social situations, out of necessity as to manage and function in today’s socially-driven world in an attempt to feel “included.” But it has been a challenge; usually daily at times, CONTINUED ON PAGE 6 5


FREDDIE B. PHOTOGRAPHY: Fred Neil Bommer II CONTINUED FROM PAGE 5

and not nearly as successful as I would have desired. Due to this lack of success, I have been labeled by and judged by many as “anti-social,” “not a team player,” “standoffish,” “unsociable,” “withdrawn,” “unable to do more than one thing at a time” and a host of other labels and judgments from those not truly knowing me enough to know the difference. In spite of those less than desirable labels and judgements, I have been blessed to have many non-judgmental people come into my life who had a depth of understanding, caring, and patience someone like me so desperately needed and craved. In everything, there is both good and “not so good” and life in general is a constant reminder of this, and I have come to accept this . . . and even in some cases, embrace it. In addition to the ever present social difficulties and challenges throughout my life, I also felt as if I was “different” in a lot of other respects too; among other things, the way I perceived things, “experienced” things, and the way I became easily overwhelmed when I had too much “on my plate,” too much “sensory input,” and/or too much of what I felt was “conflict” that made me want to escape to the solace of my “solitary cocoon” of aloneness. Throughout my life, my “cocoon” was often simply a blanket pulled up over my head. But most other times, my “escape” and “solitary cocoon” was found in a novel I would “lose myself in” for hours and hours as a young child and as an adult, in the beauty of nature

and the outdoors; both above and below the water, within the words and rhythm of music, and a host of other activities — anything to monopolize my attention and to give my brain a reprieve from the multidirectional thoughts bombarding me most other times. But the one “escape” that ever so remained a constant in my life more than any other activity was photography. I began taking photos at an early age as a way to “capture” a moment in time that I cherished to be visually relived over and over, be it a beautiful outdoor scene, the essence of a person’s personality or expression, or the antics of an animal — photography for me was a way for me to “speak” through my images, a way to express my inner thoughts, and a way to “capture” my vision of what I saw to share with those around me. When I began contemplating my retirement from law enforcement several years ago, I decided to pursue a more active role in my photography — I decided to “step it up” with the intent of turning my love and passion into a full-time endeavor upon my retirement as a worldtraveling freelance photojournalist. Becoming a photographer for SpecialNeeds.com covering the Special Olympic World Games was a blessing to help propel me in fulfilling this dream of mine. Once I began along this journey, I discovered I found my “calling” for what I refer to as my soon to arrive “second lifetime.”

See more at SpecialNeeds.com

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The First Lady Michelle Obama: “Let the LA2015 Special Olympics World Games Begin!

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here wasn’t a dry eye in the house when a young special needs entrepreneur Tim Harris introduced the First Lady, Michelle Obama, to the stage at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. He told us all that it is not impossible to live your dreams and proved it by opening his own restaurant in Albuquerque, New Mexico called “Tim’s Place.” His real claim to fame is that not only does he serve

good food, but he has given out over 72,000 hugs. A hug, Tim explains, is a way to make others feel that they are loved and accepted. Acceptance and inclusion were the themes of the evening at the Special Olympic World Games LA2015 opening ceremonies. Mrs. Obama made it clear that these special athletes give our nation hope for a future world filled with love. “Unity,” the First Lady said, “is

First Lady Michelle Obama gives her inspirational speech to the Athletes participating in the Special Olympic World Games LA2105. PHOTO BY FREDDIE B. PHOTOGRAPHY 8


something that we are seeing as so many from every walk of life are gathering together to show support to these very unique individuals.” There were 6,500 athletes from 165 countries in attendance. Maria Shriver also attended and shared with us that her mother, Eunice Kennedy Shriver, founder of Special Olympics, had five children. She joked that her mother’s sixth child, the Special Olympics, and laughed as she said it was her mom’s favorite. Shriver goes on to say her mother nurtured her 6th child so it would thrive, and continue to grow, ensuring that children and adults with special needs had a chance to experience athletics and, “Be the best they could be!” It was a glorious sight as the “Flame Of Hope” made its way down the red carpet. How proud the “Mother” of Special Olympics, Eunice Kennedy Shriver, would be that her dream came true! When the finale of fireworks began you could the crowd singing Eunice Kennedy Shriver’s praise. It is the 47th anniversary of Special Olympics. It was created to be a most memorable experience for all that attended as well as those at home watching it on television. Five Currents, the production company known for its work at the Pan AM Games, Olympics, and other events did a spectacular job of lining up talent. The stage welcomed, Stevie Wonder, Avril Lavigne, O.A.R., Cody Simpson, Nicole Scherzinger, J Balvin & Becky G, Cassedee Pope, Siedah Garrett, and many other wonderful entertainers. We heard inspirational speeches from celebrity guest speakers such as Ed Harris, Jimmy Kimmel, Eva Longoria, Michael Phelps, Greg Louganis, and Stephanie McMahon. When Lauren Potter, actress and Goodwill Ambassador with Downs Syndrome, spoke to her peers and gave them all such a positive message about what the Special Olympics means to her, the athletes went absolutely wild. Lauren

is well known for her role on the popular show on Fox, “Glee.” She has shown, like Tim Harris, that when you are accepted, supported, and loved, anyone can accomplish their dreams. Avril Lavigne was such a pleasure to hear, as it was her first live performance in a year since her battle with Lyme disease. Attendees were dressed in the bright colors conducive to the spirit of the logo for the games, “Circle Of Inclusion.” The circle consists of colors from the flags of all the countries participating in the games. As each group of athletes arrived at center field, the crowd began cheering, clapping, and dancing in celebration. In every direction you would catch smiles on the faces of spectators, delegates, coaches, and athletes alike. It was plain to see that people of all ages were making new friends from all parts of the globe. Debi Anderson, special needs athlete and global messenger, gave advice to her peers, “Make new friends, and have a really great time while you’re here!” The athletes all agreed as they cheered her on. Patrick McClenahan, President of the Special Olympics came on stage with his Global Messengers telling the world that “Inclusion” is how we make a difference and what it means for someone with special needs to be given the opportunities they may not have received otherwise. The extravaganza displayed human kindness, love, and devotion towards those that are intellectually challenged. It was made it clear that they are capable, innovative, and brilliant in their own right. No other time in history have the doors been as open to those of us deemed “Special Needs, ”as now. There is proof that anything can happen. Even though the odds have been stacked against the physically disabled or mentally challenged, Special Olympics has shown that they can be a hero with their courage and strength! ~ Robin Flutterby Borakove

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About the Special Olympic World Games

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he Special Olympics, the global leader for people with intellectual disabilities, held the world’s largest sports and humanitarian event in the world. Uniting everyone through sports in a celebration of the abilities and accomplishments of people with intellectual disabilities and forming a new global vision of acceptance. Arriving from all corners of the world, athletes took the stage in Los Angeles and showed the world incredible courage, unwavering determination and sheer joy while living out their dreams.” They opened hearts and minds and expanded our collective sense of acceptance and inclusion. Competitions were held in and around the Los Angeles area including Aquatics, Athletics, Badminton, Basketball,

“The ultimate goal of the Special Olympics World Games is to create a world that fully accepts and includes all people with intellectual disabilities — and ultimately all people with differences. Special Olympics Founder Eunice Kennedy Shriver recognized this Movement would transform the world, one community at a time.” Countries participating were Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, American Samoa, Argentina, Armenia, Aruba, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Canada, Cayman Islands, Chile, China, Chinese Taipei, Columbia,

Mission Statement of the Special Olympics “The mission of the Special Olympics is to provide year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes and the community.” Beach Volleyball, Bocce, Bowling, Cycling, Equestrian, Football, Golf, Gymnastics, Half Marathon, Handball, Judo, Kayaking, Open Water Swimming, Powerlifting, Roller Skating, Sailing, Softball, Table Tennis, Tennis, Triathlon and Volleyball. Award ceremonies were held at the end of each event presenting medals for 1st through 3rd places and ribbons for 4th through 8th places. Every athlete was recognized individually for their excellence and unified spirit. 179 medals were awarded, 68 Gold, 69 Silver and 42 Bronze, 29 Fourth Placed. 10

Costa Rica, Croatia, Cuba, Curacao, Cyprus, Czech Republic, DR Congo, Denmark, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Estonia, Faroe Islands, Fiji, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Gibraltar, Great Britain, Greece, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Isle of Man, Israel, Italy, Ivory Coast, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, South Korea, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Latvia, Lebanon, Libya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macau, Macedonia,


Malawi, Malaysia, Mali, Malta, Mauritius, Mexico, Moldova, Monaco, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Palestine, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Qatar, Romania, Russia, Rwanda, Samoa, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia, Seychelles, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia,

South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Swaziland, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Thailand, Timor Leste, Togo, Tongo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United States, Uruguay, US Virgin Islands, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Vietnam, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

For more information on the 2015 Special Olympic World Games, go to www.LA2015.org.

CIRCLE OF INCLUSION

Patrick Mc Clenahan and Robin Flutterby Borakove in the “Circle Of Inclusion.”

The mission of the Special Olympics World Games “Circle Of Inclusion” campaign is to create the awareness that leads to acceptance and inclusion of all people with intellectual disabilities. This is embodied in the World Games logo. The Celebratory Figure in the center represents courage, determination, and joy of Special Olympics athletes. The circle represents acceptance, inclusion, and diversity. The flags of the countries participating from around the world inspire the mosaics of colors in the logo. Patrick Mc Clenahan, President of LA2015, was sure to remind us all that no one is excluded and everyone is welcome to participate, volunteer, spectate, or donate to this amazing exhibition athletes. Read more and to see the faces in our “Circle Of Inclusion” pictures please visit: www.SpecialNeeds.com 11


Celebrities Headline the Special Olympics World Games Opening Ceremonies

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Stevie Wonder

Avril Lavigne

Marc Roberge, O.A.R. 12

hile the true stars of the Special Olympic World Games were the participating athletes, an impressive celebrity contingency was here to support them and open the ceremonies. From Stevie Wonder, Avril Lavigne, Nicole Scherzinger, Cody Simpson, to Michelle Obama, the stars were out in full force to welcome the world. Stevie Wonder, “I am touched to be a part of this celebration of determination, courage, joy and skill. Throughout my own journey of overcoming the odds, it’s truly an inspiring moment to join these incredible athletes as they come to Los Angeles to compete and accomplish so many victories.” Avril Lavigne,“As a long-time supporter of Special Olympics, I am honored and excited to perform live for the first time a song I have dedicated to Special Olympics and the Games, “Fly,” at the Opening Ceremony. It is always a true joy when I can help celebrate the abilities and determination of these amazing athletes.” Marc Roberge, O.A.R., “We are honored to be a part of something as special and as important as the Special Olympics World Games. We can’t wait to share the stage with Cody [Simpson], Madison [Tevlin] and Bree[Special Olympics athlete Breanna Bogucki] to sing our newest song, `Reach Up.’ `Reach Up’ is an anthem. We want people to hear it and feel like they can do anything.” Nicole Scherzinger, “Special Olympics athletes are so inspiring to me. I’m looking forward to singing the National Anthem at the Opening Ceremony and cheering on the athletes as they show the world their outstanding athletic abilities.” Siedah Garrett,“Having previously written and performed the theme songs for the 2007 Special Olympics and the 2010 World Expo in China, writing and performing this epic theme song ‘Reach


Up LA’ for my hometown Los Angeles is one of the highlights of my career. I am humbled and grateful to play a small part in this year’s celebration of these incredible Special Olympics athletes.” Over 60,000 spectators, not including the more than 6,000 athletes enjoyed the opening ceremonies with a special appearance by the First Lady, Michelle Obama. Emmy Award Winning choreographer, Debbie Allen directed this celebration and it was produced by FiveCurrents. Jimmy Kimmel, Eva Longoria, Lauren Potter, Michael Phelps, Yao Ming, Greg Louganis, Stephanie McMahon and many more also were on hand to open the World Games.

Siedah Garret

Cassadee Pope, American country music singer-songwriter performs at the World Games.

Oscar De La Hoya with Global Messenger

Ed Harris with Global Meesenger

An Amazing Rainbow on stage as they celebrate Special Olympics LA2015. PHOTO BY KANSAS CITY PHOTOGRAPHY

NBA player Damian Lillard and actress Lauren Potter

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Special Olympic World Games PARADE OF ATHLETES

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Special Olympic World Games PARADE OF ATHLETES CONTINUED FROM PAGE 15

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World Record Crowds at the 2015 Special Olympics 247,247 World Games Attendees 62,338 Opening Ceremony Attendees 33,450 Credentials 8,996 Total Delegates 30,000 Volunteers 6,321 Athletes 5,184 Healthy Athletes Screenings 4,300+ Pairs of Shoes Distributed 1,543 News Media from 80 Countries (World Games Record) 806 Sports Officials

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hat the Special Olympics brought to the world was best reflected in the final remarks at the closing ceremony. Among the dignitaries speaking were Special Olympics, Inc., President Janet Froetscher and LA2015 President and Chief Executive Patrick McClenahan. “They have taught us more about life than we could ever teach them and have given us a reason to cheer in a world that needs more cheering.” “These World Games were about Abilities, not disabilities,” stated Patrick McClenahan. Janet Froetscher shared these heartwarming thoughts and memorable moments . . . “We should reflect on these World Games — the most game-changing ever. These games, changed the game.” Everyone that was a part of these Special Olympics changed the game.” “The world watched our athletes compete, learned about their incredible journeys in awe and tears.” “At the competitions, Olympic champions, professional athletes and celebrities competed with our athletes and cheered our champions as the eyes of the world watched the obvious love and respect for our athletes. Beside every athlete is a coach who believed in them

290 Events 165 Delegations (Largest Gathering of Nations in Los Angeles History) 85 Host Towns in Seven California Counties 27 World Games Best-on-Record Marks Set in Four Sports 25 Sports 23 Venues 16 Unified Sports Experience Events

and sacrificed for them.” “Parents travelled from all over the world and roared with elation as the stands erupted in support of their children’s feats.” “There were crowds of cheering fans for athletes including 22 year old Special Olympics Norway Athlete Thea Skoglund, who posted her personal best in Kayaking while her family from Norway watched her receive a gold medal.” “Or when Ranveer Singh Saini and his unified teammate Monica Jajoo won the first gold medal for Bharat in Altenate Shot Golf. Or when Onesmus Mutinda of Kenya won the half marathon with a time of 1 hour and 18 minutes.” “Chidalu Onwunzi’s of Nigeria life transformed when she and her entire team heard for the first time, thanks to our doctors and Healthy Athletes clinics. 5,148 athletes received exams from volunteer medial professionals, Many heard or saw clearly for the first time in their lives . . . allowing them to perform their best on the fields and in life.” “We saw acts of bravery and courage like when Olivia Quigley left cancer and chemotherapy on the sidelines to win the gold in the 100m.” CONTINUED ON PAGE 20 19


World Record Crowds at the 2015 Special Olympics CONTINUED FROM PAGE 19

“We cheered Mariluz Araya of Costa Rica who won four gold medals in powerlifting, but also does the lifting at home as an employee who is supporting her household.” “The parents of Yong-jin Gwak of Korea cheered him winning gold in powerlifting because local company paid for them and other parents to be here for the games.” “We experienced the spirit of unity in powerful ways when our athlete’s from across the world broke down barriers that divide us and came together as friends like Israaeli athlete Alon Dolev and Iranian trainer Yaser Tahmasbi who met on the flight to Los Angeles.” “Everyone who watched these athletes cheered them, met them, learned that their livees were better from having met and connected with each other.” “These games must close but we can’t let them end. What happened in these nine days should happen every day around the world.”

“The Time has come. It is now. Right now. It is time for inclusion, acceptance and these messages should be spread to every school, every community, every town and we must all make it a reality.” More than 38,000 spectators took in the ceremonial close of the Games, the introduction of organizers from Austria for the 2017 Special Olympics World Winter Games and concert performances by Carly Rae Jenson and O.A.R. For all of us at SpecialNeeds.com, this experience has been not only a game changer but a life changer. We want to thank all of our sponsors, businesses, friends and family for their support during our journey here. The businesses within this commemorative issue are worthy and dedicated to enhancing the lives of families in the special needs community. They spend their lives making a positive difference each and every day. We are humbled by their tremendous support.

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Memorable Moments . . .

Sumon Khan of Bangladesh takes it to the limit!

Surasak Damchoom from Thailand in a celebratory Leap.

Sign of the fans at the Track & Field Event sums it all up.

Sumon Khan of Bangladesh and Oristo Asbanu of Indonesia at the finish line.

Robert Catherman III of USA, triumphant in his race!

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Memorable Moments . . . CONTINUED FROM PAGE 21

Great Britain Kayaker Katy Smith with teammate Steven Dodd and their coach Angela Frayling.

Ibraham Alhammadi of United Arab Emirates goes all out.

Katy Smith, overjoyed at finish!

The joy of accomplishment (Beach Volleyball).

Pushes himself to the limit. Overjoyed with the Win, Well Deserved kayakers!

Then Celebrates! 22

Triumphant athletes.


Paul Clucas of Isle of Man, cannot contain his enthusiasm and joy at the closing ceremonies.

His Joy was contagious.

Elemer Baranyi of Hungary pushes himself to the limit. Chaunci Cummings of USA sheer determination.

A moment of well deserved joy for Great Britain kayaker Katy Smith.

Costa Rican basketball team members tearfully embrace after their win. CONTINUED ON PAGE 24 23


Memorable Moments . . . CONTINUED FROM PAGE 23

Jose Obando of Costa Rico pushes himself for the medal.

Olivia Quigley, starter for the USA relay team. Then leaps for joy.

Costa Rican beach volleyball team members.

A vision of beauty at the closing ceremony. 24

Fun at the Play Unified beach volleyball event.


MTV’s Johnny Bananas with his new friends.

Ireland

Lebanon

Paula Adbul walkes out with the Israeli team.

Global Messanger

Cayman Islands

Southern California Special Olympics Founder Rafer johnson. CONTINUED ON PAGE 26 25


Memorable Moments . . . CONTINUED FROM PAGE 25

Another winning team!

Professional Beach Volleyball Player Dain Blanton.

Team Finland gets the gold.

The LA Coliseum “Opening Ceremonies” spectacular Eextravaganza.

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Greg Louganis & Antonio Villaraigosa celebrates with athletes.

Tyson K. Browne of Barbados does a victory dance.

Sweet Victory!

There is happiness in a hug and a medal!

Fun crowds sharing their day at the Special Olympics.

See more at SpecialNeeds.com 27


Steven Dodd of the Great Britain Team Continues to Win, Win, Win!

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pecialNeeds.com has been excited to part of the past several days attending many of the competitions and events surrounding the largest sporting event of its kind. We had the honor of following one extra special individual, Steven Dodd, a member of Team GB. He is kind and selfless individual whose family was fortunate enough to be here and see him compete in a sport he is passionate about, kayaking. A unique man that has a grand sense of humor, love of the “Real Heroes” of our modern times,

When first I met Steven, it was by chance on Facebook that I cam across his profile. As a journalist it was my job to find out about the athletes who would be participating in Special Olympics World Games LA2015. I learned early on that just because you approved to cover an event, doesn’t mean the powers that be are able to get you the intended interviews you need, as they do get overwhelmed with interview request. Being a good reporter means you must find your subjects. I took it upon myself to do some investigat-

Steven Dodd showing great endurance in the water, on the way to his Silver win, at today’s 200 meter kayak race. FREDDIE B. PHOTOGRAPHY

and can make his way around the water with speed and grace. We visited on two of the 6 days of events and witnessed him in action in and out of his kayak. The family members in attendance, his mom, Pat Dodd, younger sisters Jackie and Paris all went out of their way to make us feel as welcome as if we were at their home in Plymouth, England. Steven’s father, Graham, and brother, sadly were not able to make the trip but he was well represented by his coach in Great Britain, Andrew Beynon. 28

ing and I found that Steven Dodd was a powerful force in the kayaking competitions to be held this year in Los Angeles’s games. When I sent a message to Steven about who I was and would he grant me an interview, after he looked me up, he was all too happy to oblige. What luck for me, as there was a lot more to the man besides kayaking. In my first interview with Steven via Skype, we learn that his nick-name, “Padrino” which is Italian for “Godfather.” It wasn’t until I actually met him


at the games, spent time with his family, and sat down for a meal, that I learned why. Steven has a certain charisma and charm about him. He presence commands attention, but not in the way a boss or supervisor would. It is more like that of someone who knows who they are, what they want, and has the personal fortitude to make things happen. My photographer, Freddie Bommer and I, were invited after the time trials beginning of the Olympics Games to have lunch at the condo his family was renting for their stay during the events. First of all, a home cooked meal sounded great after eating on the run, and Steven’s family are such genuinely lovely people, we just couldn’t say no. Since Steven knew a bit about me because of our previous interview on Skype, he knew that like himself, the proud father of trusted companion, a boxer name Brook, that I had a dog too, Clancy. Once we arrived to the condo, over looking the Long Beach coastline and

aquarium, he had a gift for my pup! I also received a gift, one of his famous t-shirts that have been making their way to folks around the globe in support of Stevens fear of flying. It was a therapeutic exercise for Steven to use as a way of easing his fear to be on an airplane. Something he had to do in order to participate in his philanthropy with Smiles International, where as he volunteers with a dental staff to third world countries that are not fortunate to have dentists. He got folks to take pictures of themselves in the T-Shirts, sporting a picture of Dodd in his Kayak, and his Mascot at the fore end, Toby! Steven enjoys the slide show of supportive fans on his pad, while traveling by plane. I loved the way he was so humble when he handed me the shirt, telling me I don’t have to wear it, but I insisted on being part of “TEAM DODD!” After a wonderful meal that sister Jackie prepared, we sat in the living room and took the opportunity to get CONTINUED ON PAGE 30

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Steven Dodd of the Great Britain Team Continues to Win, Win, Win! CONTINUED FROM PAGE 29

Steven’s Family, Coach and Friend, left to right, friends name unknown, Sisiter’s Paris, Jackie, Steven Dodd, Pat Dodd, Coach Andrew Beynon and wife. FREDDIE B. PHOTOGRAPHY

to know even more about the man behind the kayak. Pat, his mother gave SpecialNeeds.com some insight to her son. “My son is the kind of man that is a go getter, and always puts others needs before his own. A very selfless individual, diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, he is a great fundraiser and really works hard to fulfill the immediate needs of others. When he needed funds so he could get to Los Angeles for the world games, many donated to make it happen.” She went on to say, “We didn’t know of Special Olympics until three years ago. We found it would be a lot of work, but because we knew he was good at his kayaking, with great upper body strength and someone who could accomplish anything he set his mind too, it seemed we needed to support him trying out for it.” Pat said weather he won medals or not would be the icing on the cake, but Steven being a part of 30

something this positive was motivation enough to help him to get here. Jackie, his younger sister went on to tell us that they all felt really honored to be here to witness her brother in Special Olympics and was so pleased with how her family has been so welcomed by all since they arrival. When I asked her what advice she could give others about being involved with Special Olympics she said, “Take the bull by the horns, take the risk, take the chance and go and get involved. You make friends, you get to experience all sorts of new things and you don’t have to be the best at it the sport. It is about taking part and socializing with other people and it is about enjoying life and getting out there, so just go and do it!” Jackie shared also that when Steven and her were kids they were in a group of Jr. Marines, a very competitive group and though Steven was really great at it he was


so supportive of everyone he competes with. Paris, his other sister, said that she loved seeing him achieve so much good things because of the involvement with a sport he loves!” My first interview with Steven Dodd, we learned that his heroes are Steven Seagal, The Navy Seals, American Swat and the police issued motorcycle made

Steven just received his Silver Medal in 200 meter race. FREDDIE B. PHOTOGRAPHY

popular on one of his favorite shows growing up, CHiPs, and Harley Davidson Motorcycle. It took a great many phone calls, emails and patience, but alas I was successful and when we met him at the British Residency for a “Garden Party”

Team GB was given, I brought them all to surprise Steven. The officers were wonderful to accommodate Dodd with memorabilia and took photos for his album. Steven asked them all sorts of questions and got a chance to sit on the Harley itself. As we kept it out of the press, requested from the Navy Seal prodigal, it was to my delight at the look of approval that the experience was a dream come true! My signature question is always the same, as it goes along with my series of articles surrounding Special Olympics, “Heroes are Real” and it is also what Patrick McClenahan, president of the LA2015 calls these unique athletes. I asked Stevens family who there “Hero” is and Pat, his mom told me that her son Steven, is her Hero! Why am I not surprised, well it is clear that his actions are that of a “Real Hero!” If you or someone you know is in need, Steven Dodd is the man you want on your side. He not only can help you to raise the funds needed, but he does it with his whole heart, which by the way is GIGANTIC! Thanks Steven, and congratulations on your Silver win today, and good luck with all of your future endeavors. I for one will be visiting Steven in Plymouth, as he has given me the great honor and asked me to write his incredible autobiography! ~ Robin Flutterby Borakove

See more at SpecialNeeds.com

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L

Awards Ceremony 200-Meter Kayaking Competition LA2015

ong Beach Marina was active with coaches, athletes, spectators and press, all awaiting announcements of today’s winners of Special Olympics 200 meter kayaking competition. Germany, Greece, Costa Rica, Russia, Great Britain, Israel, Macau, Ireland, Hellas, and Exarchopoulos Tsigante were the countries that participated in this event. Once everyone was gathered in front of the award staging, the fanfare began and there was not a dry eye in the house. Freddie Bommer,

photographer for SpecialNeed.Com was there to capture those shining moments when all the hard work, perseverance, and patience paid off for these unique individuals. Anyone witnessing this in person knows full well when I say, “Coming to a Special Olympics event, is a game changer, and touches your heart in an endearing way. The athletes themselves really are the true “Heroes” of our modern times and they know just how precious every moment in life really is.

Adrian Abbott

Katy Smith

Andrew Williams

James Savoy

There are Special Olympics all over the world. Anyone that is interested in having their child or family member benefit from them please visit the official international

Stephen Beynon

website. Everyone deserves a chance to live their dreams and Special Olympics will give them that opportunity.

~ Robin Flutterby Borakove http://www.specialolympics.org/Common/Special_Olympics_A_to_Z.aspx

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Eunice Kennedy Shriver’s Legacy Lives On

Herman Kroll, president of the Austria 2017 Special Olympics Games, accepts Special Olympics flag.

I

t’s a bittersweet time for us at SpecialNeeds.com during the closing ceremonies of the Special Olympics World Games LA2015. Endless hours of work went into making this, the largest sporting event of its kind, the colossal success that it was. We have done our best to bring you stories and photos about the athletes, supporters, sponsors, and family members. Attending the closing ceremonies as part of the press was really a great chance to be on the ground floor of such an undertaking. As athletes, coaches, and delegates from the 165 countries attended the closing ceremonies of Special Olympics World Games, you could see the look of accomplishment on everyone’s faces. The Special Olympics flag was given to the next host country, Austria, as it is an important part of the tradition. When the Olympic Torch was put to rest until the next time, you could hear your heartbeat as the whole place went silent. The respect among everyone in the entire coliseum, for this historical extravaganza was something that will stay forever etched into their mind hearts. On the stage, after the traditions were carried out, artists ranging Carly Rae Jepsen, American rock band, O.A.R., Mix 34

Master Mike from the Beastie Boys, and songwriter Andra Day, all donated time to entertain and show appreciation to the athletes, giving them a grand finale worthy of the champions they are. I was fortunate to be able to speak to some of the athletes and coaches, during the celebration and this is what they wanted people to know. A large part of Team Canada was right in front of the stage getting their boogie on. They shared with me that celebrating their victories was long in coming and that their, “Shero.” Mom! Amanda Schleppe, who spoke for them said, “Without our moms putting up with us, getting us to practices, giving up so much so we could come to Los Angeles and participate in the games, we would have never made it.” I found that when I ask my signature question, “Who is your hero” nearly everyone says, MOM, and with good reason. Rita Quirke of Team Ireland told SpecialNeeds.com that she really enjoyed winning the medals in kayaking, but that the friendships she made really showed her how important the Special Olympics is for her. The new friends she made are going to be her best friends when she gets back home. Her lovely new BFF’s were


sitting next to her and when she told us this, they reached over and hugged her, grinning ear to ear! Rita is definitely taking Global Messenger Debi Anderson’s advice: “Have a great time and make new friends while doing it!” The head coach from Cyprus was thrilled to share that his team did great in many of the competitions and made their country proud. He is looking forward to the hero’s they will receive in Greece. As I look at the photos and videos that Team Great Britain gets their boogie on at the closing are headlining the internet, television and PHOTO BY ROBIN FLUTTERBY BORAKOVE newspapers, there are so many unique and ceremonies. courageous individuals we are celebratit is to live your dreams even when you ing for their astounding performances in are told you’re not physically capable. this year’s games. It is important that each Kirk Wint, you are most definitely what I and every one of them are remembered have been referring to when I say who the and celebrated for the accomplishments “Real Heroes” of our modern times are! they made. Of all of the stories that we Thanks to Special Olympics World Games were not able to cover or capture in LA2015, the world is getting a very clear photographs, one is particular I was sorry picture of how these athletes live their to have missed was when Team Jamaica’s lives to the fullest. Kirk D. Wint, of the Athletics division, ~ Robin Flutterby Borakove showed to the world of just how possible See more at SpecialNeeds.com

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T

Costa Rica Takes the Win for Women’s Basketball

he USC Campus, home of the Trojans basketball teams, is on a break, and it’s a good thing because they have some pretty fierce competition on their courts.

Costa Rica takes the win in basketball. FREDDIE B. PHOTOGRAPHY

SpecialNeeds.com arrived just in the nick of time to see a game between Team India and Costa Rica. These amazing young women put their hard work and dedication in search of victory, which in this case went to team Costa Rica! Freddie B. Photography captured the girls while they were in action, and I was able to have access to a wonderful interpreter so we could get an interview. Read about two stars of Team Costa Rica who were all too happy to share with us their goals, appreciation, and true love for the Special Olympics. Sophia Benjarano and Ericka Salazar of Costa Rica were the star players of the nigh. The competition was fierce, according to the coach. She was so proud of how her team came together and supported Sophia and Ericka so they could get the job done right! It worked, and when their friends and family in the stands cheered the win you could here the roars of approval from across the campus!

Asking my signature question, “Who are your heroes?” It was clear that for both girls, it was their families. It was a long road to be able to come here and participate in Special Olympics, and if not for the families helping them out, their dream would never have become a reality. They wanted to have a win to show everyone back home that they would make them proud! Sophia told SpecialNeeds.com that being able visit USA and represent Costa Rica was such a huge honor. By being a part of the Special Olympics they’re able to play basketball on more professional bases and open doors to participate in other sports that they love. Now that the day was over the girls were excited to get some down time and enjoy all the activities that USC and the other sport venues are offering. Ericka said she lives near the ocean so she’d like to go up north and enjoy our mountains. Sophia is the total opposite, living so high up in the mountains, she wants to visit our beaches. The two did their families proud and want them to know just how much they love and appreciate them to get to be part of something so rewarding. Sophia Benjarano and Ericka Salazar interviewing with SpecialNeeds.com. Enjoy visiting the www.LA2015.org to learn more about the wonderful athletes that make this year’s games better then ever. Special Olympics is a way for our athletes to perform the best they can while having an opportunity to make friends from all over the world. It is clear to this reporter that Sophia and Ericka are taking the advice that Debi Anderson, Global Messenger for LA2015 asked of them all: “Make new friends and have a really good time doing it!” ~ Robin Flutterby Borakove

See more at SpecialNeeds.com 37


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Olivia Quigley Wins the Gold!

M

oving on to see some of the track and field events at the USC Trojan Stadium, we witnessed some of our other, “real heroes” of this year’s Special Olympic World Games. She runs with a confident stride like no other, her name is Olivia Quigley, and at age four she was diagnosed with Autism. You will not be able to tell by her speech, or from her running that is certain. This 24 year old women has a grace about her that does not give away the real battle she faces, and no, it is not the finishing line. Olivia was diagnosed with stage 4-breast cancer. The agony of chemotherapy does not hold her back, but instead she continued to see through the opportunity of competing in this years Special Olympics World Games. Born in China, and at age 3 she was adopted by Judy and Dan Quigley. They did not know of her intellectual disability until several months after they returned home to Elm Grove, Wisconsin. As most parents of children diagnosed with Autism are told not to have expectations of their child living alone or being employable, Olivia’s parents heard it as well. When the doctors told them not to have high expectations they disagreed and Olivia has proven the doctors wrong ever since. Olivia’s Parents enrolled her into Project Search, a workplace immersion program that combines classroom instruction, career exploration, and hands-on work experience. She currently holds a full time position at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin. Olivia has been active in taekwondo and trains often. She runs with a personal trainer once a week and her Special Olympic coaches all note how fast she is. Olivia made it very clear to her doctors that she must be able to compete and that her treatments of Chemotherapy can’t get in the way of that, even though

Olivia Quigley was also the starter for the four-person USA team for the 100 Meters Relay race.

she knows it is why she is still alive. When you face the difficulties of autism and then add a life threatening illness on top, the struggles can be unbearable. Her mother, Judy, said, “One thing that kept her going is her incredibly kind heart and compassion. She has the most determination of anyone I have ever met. She’s had some setbacks in life. She’s never let it hold her back. She just refuses to quit.” In spite of her breast cancer, Olivia was able to win the gold in Thursday’s 100meter run! This young and incredible woman has still managed to maintain strength and courage to live her passion, all the while inspiring those around her to never give up their dreams. That is most definitely the description of what true “WINNER”is all about! ~ Robin Flutterby Borakove

See more at SpecialNeeds.com 39


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What Does Nancy O’Dell, Michelle Kwan and Johnny Bananas All Have in Common?

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he Special Olympics World Games LA2015 of course! As do so many other folks from all over the world. No other event can you go to that is really a depiction of “It’s A Small World!” Speaking of interesting people, Nancy O’Dell, Host of Entertainment Tonight on CBS was at the LA Convention Center supporting the athletes and playing Badminton with them. Nancy was easy to approach and when SpecialNeeds. com asked her for a brief interview, she happily obliged. The nighttime television star told us that her reason for supporting the athletes, besides her obvious passion for people, was that her aunt has Down Syndrome. Nancy said her aunt would be on the sidelines at high school games and wish she were part of the band, athlete or a cheerleader, anything just to part of it. Lloyd Crawley from South Whales on the SOGB Team was one of Nancy’s teammates. How fun to see the petite women getting hugs from the giant 6’7” athlete, congratulating him on a job well done. Lloyd told us that he was one of those kids who loved to play all the different sports but when he was asked by a coach to play Badminton, it turned out he was a natural at it. Lloyd strongly suggested that, “Anyone with intellectual disabilities should get out there, try a new sport and do your best!” Another celebrity was on the sidelines today cheering the athletes participating in rhythmic gymnastics. She is a twotime Olympic medalist, five-time World Champion and nine-time U.S. champion figure skater, and now an officer on the

Nancy O’Del, of Entertainment Tonight, Jumps for joy with Llyod Crawley of Team GB because they just won their match! PHOTO BY FREDDIE B. PHOTOGRAPHY

Special Olympics Board of Directors. Michelle Kwan said, “I am moved by the smiles and performances with a unique understanding of how much work, guts and preparation it takes getting here.” How lucky was SpecialNeeds.com to be at the right place at the right time! ~ Robin Flutterby Borakove

See more at SpecialNeeds.com

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Closing Ceremonies

Special Olympics CEO Janet Froetscher congratulates the athletes and closes the 2015 Special Olympics World Games.

Patrick McClenahan, President and Chief Executive Officer of the 2015 Special Olympics World Games, and committee members Debi Anderson and Dustin Plunkett.

Singer Louisa Wendorff performs Let it Go. 42


The lowering of the Special Olympics flag.

Apolo Ohno, an eight-time medalist Olympic speed skater, speaks at the closing ceremony.

The Special Olympics Torch on it’s way back to Athens, Greece.

See more at SpecialNeeds.com 43


Can a Production Company Have a “Real Hero” as a Senior Vice President?

F

iveCurrents can, and it does. Senior Vice President, Mark Poncher, is just like any other person that works for a successful production company. He gets up in the morning, working long hours so that things get done and go the way they are intended. This ensures his company makes a decent income from the events they produce. But, unlike many other productions that he puts on, the client he received, Special Olympics World Games Los Angeles 2015, didn’t have the kind of funding it takes to really bring attention to this a charity what supports special needs athletes around the world. Many people that I met during our coverage of Special Olympics World Games LA2015, thought that someone has to be making money in some way, other than through the concessions. I heard several exclaim that by the high prices of everything from food to memorabilia, someone was getting rich. As the games were being held here in Los Angeles California, home of Hollywood, the entertainment industry must be capitalizing on the opportunities an event of its magnitude would bring, right? What a relief to learn that it was not the case. From the merchandise sold with the official logo, to the entertainment, no one gets the proceeds except for Special Olympics, as it should be. I was happy to learn Hollywood was doing its part by donating beyond our imagination, providing entertainment and so much more. Many companies like Toyota, Microsoft, Coca-Cola and Bank Of America, and of course one of the largest sponsors, Disney, were taking up the slack so that the athletes would have the, “Red Carpet Treatment” for their stay here in California. Stages, activities, and souvenirs 44

FiveCurrents Senior Vice President Mark Poncher.

were donated so that everyone from the athlete, their family, and the spectators all had an amazing experience. I, for one, loved trying the different fountain drinks from around the world, provided by the Coca-Cola Company. My family attended one of the days at the USC campus and came home with some nice caps and fanfare that they didn’t have to buy! The pins that everyone loved collecting from the sponsors and brought to the games from the delegates from all the countries participating were especially loved and collected by all. I was given several of the pins from athletes we interviewed, and they will be very special memories for my team and myself. Another great bit of news is that funding was not going into paying the Super- Star line up for opening ceremonies, Unified Partner exhibition games, live


entertainment during the course of the week, etc., but in fact, it was ALL donated for the cause! Host towns across the state made it possible for the athletes to have several wonderful events to attend. They could relax, meet new friends and truly enjoy themselves and see what kind of genuine hospitality Southern California has to offer. Mark shared with me that the undertaking of putting on the ceremonies for Special Olympics is just as involved as the Olympic Games. He alongside Rob Friedman, Co-Chairman of Lionsgate motion picture group, (CEO of Special Olympics World Summer Games Organizing Committee), along with Peter Wheeler, Chief Strategic Properties for Special Olympics International, Patrick McClenahan, President of LA2015 and Kim Widdess, (Director of ceremonies) Senior Vice President lA2015, Guest Services and Events, Scott Givens, President of Five Currents, along with Sr. Producer David Shapiro made up an entertainment committee that complied a list for the opening and closing ceremonies Once the list is made, talent bookers make calls to find who is available and wants to participate in the event. Since last October, everyone on that list was contacted and asked to be a part of Special Olympics, not all were available, including President Clinton. Mark Poncher works with President Clinton and the Clinton Global Initiative and told SpecialNeeds.com how disappointed the former president was that he could not attend because of his charity work. Ricky Martin was also asked to be one of the headliners for the opening ceremonies but was not able to attend

because of his touring schedule. We also learned that none of the entertainers were paid to participate. Some of the costs are covered but the budget for Special Olympics is very limited, so many of the Vendors and FiveCurrents donated much time and equipment to put on the shows. If it was not completely donated, the vendors gave major discounts to be sure that FiveCurrents could put on two spectacular shows for Special Olympics World Games. Another wonderful factoid is that the songs Stevie Wonder and Avril Lavigne, and Siedeh Garrett wrote just for Special Olympics are also donated for the cause. If you purchase the songs, Fly (Avril Lavigne) or, In The Key Of Life (Stevie Wonder) the proceeds go to Special Olympics, and that is a beautiful way to support this wonderful movement that Eunice Kennedy Shriver began all those years ago. I asked Mark my signature question, which is:Who is your Hero? He replied President Clinton and went on to inform me of what a true philanthropist the former President really is. As all the articles we have brought to you introduce many of the “Real Heroes” of our modern times, I want to say that everyone has the ability to be a Real Hero. Weather you do a kindness for a neighbor by watching their dog when they go out of town, or donating clothing to your local church, every action of kindness that you do, counts! From the most challenged to the brightest, everyone has a “Real Hero” just waiting to emerge and make the world brighter! ~ Robin Flutterby Borakove

See more at SpecialNeeds.com

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Celebration After Ceremonies

CONTINUED ON PAGE 48 46


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Celebration After Cermonies CONTINUED FROM PAGE 46

See more at SpecialNeeds.com

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Dain Blanton: A True Hero & Olympian

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ur venue is a unified game with the former Olympians and athletes at the Alamitos Park, Long Beach. The day was perfect for a game and everyone was excited to be playing some of the Olympians from yesterday. SpecialNeeds. com was delighted to be catching up to one of our super-stars, Dain Blanton. He won the gold for beach volleyball in the 2000 Olympic Games. He is still very active in the sport and loves to support Special Olympics with his whole heart. The athletes were thrilled when that he was going to be playing with them today. Dain is a Unified Partner and you can clearly see where his passions are strongest, with the athletes and on the sandy court! Dain is broadcasting, covering outdoor volleyball on the AVP Tour shown, on the NBC network, and the internationally the FIVB Tour, or ESPN this fall for indoor volleyball. One of the reasons I have followed Dain’s career is because of what he does when he is not jet setting to the next event to be broadcasted, it is his work speaking to our youth through a program he created called, “Getting to Gold!” It’s a wonderful program where he motivates kids about the importance of education. He leads be his example that studying hard as well as doing your best will pay off. His way of coaching the kids is really heartwarming and anyone would be fortunate to have him on their team! Unfortunately Dain was not able to attend the opening ceremonies but will be there for the closing ones. Here at the game today we got a chance to see him in action and one would never know that he doesn’t play professionally anymore. The players were having a great time with him on the court and we all love seeing someone interacting with the athletes in such a genuine and warm way. When they 50

Professional beach volleyball player Dain Blanton.

wanted pictures with the Olympian he was happy to oblige and took the time to ask how they were doing, then stayed around


to hear their answer, a rarity with so many professional athletes. You could hear and see so many on the beach this day that Dain has encouraged, supported, and inspired. Actions speak louder then words and Dain Blanton is definitely a man of actions that lead to positive results. I asked him how he manages to be in such great shape, mind, and body. Dain told me the way to holds his competitive edge is by lifting weights and exercising, that is keeps him sharp and in shape. One of the sports he loves to play is golf. It’s a way this busy man relaxes and takes a breather from the broadcasting grind. Dain told SpecialNeeds.com that the focus sometimes is too much on the

competitiveness and not on the passion, playing, camaraderie, as well as the uplifting of one another’s spirit. He believes these athletes are the true “Heroes” and if we all pay attention, we will learn so much from them. He is a man who has the right idea; we all need to take a valuable lesson from Special Olympics. No one is excluded, everyone has a dream to life, and they are many wonderful people here involved that will see to it they get a chance to live it! Until next we meet Dain, much luck at his future in broadcasting and from SpecialNeeds.com, he is a, “Real Hero!” ~ Robin Flutterby Borakove

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Experience Through the Eyes of a Woman with Asperger’s Syndrome

Robin Flutterby Borakove PHOTOS BY FREDDIE B. PHOTOGRAPHY

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hen SpecialNeeds.com did a story about my trademarked character, Fairy Queen Fluterby, storyteller and advocate for special needs and autism, I was thrilled. Then I was given a Family Choice Award for one of my children’s books, “Fairy Fizzle’s Plight,” I thought things couldn’t get better, but they did! I was asked by SpecialNeeds.com if I would be interested in covering the Special Olympics World Games LA2015, as one of the first special needs adults approved as press. I thought it was an amazing undertaking and opportunity. Never had I been a part of something that was going to turn into such a historical event. The Special Olympics would be taking place in Los Angeles and is now known as the largest sporting event of its nature! I soon learned that this was not to be taken lightly entering the realm of the masters in news media. Here is my personal story, written in mind to inspire anyone with special needs to not be afraid of doing something out of their comfort 52

zone, because you never know what will come of it. For myself, the world just opened up and I have opportunities I never dreamed possible until I covered this event for SpecialNeeds.com. Once I began writing up the articles about the people involved with the Special Olympics, things really started to get interesting. Steven Vanderpool, Sr. VP of media for LA2015 must have been happy with my work as he personally invited me to cover the Unified Partners game at Mendez High School. WWE, The Big Show, and Divas were in attendance, giving speeches of encouragement and actually playing an exhibition basketball game for the students to enjoy. I did the entire coverage with my trusty phone, but realized standing next to the huge cameras of Fox, ABC, and Univision, if I wanted to be a competitive force; I too needed a team and better equipment.

Robin and Senator Jeff Stone

When I posted my media credential for SpecialNeeds.com and announced my covering the games, I received over 50 photographers asking if they could be part of my team. I immediately thought of a man, Freddie Bommer that I met at


Robin gets in on the fun at UCLA where sponsor of Special Olympics, Toyota has a car wrap to decorate. Roland Kickinger American Body Builder comes out to support Thousand Oaks Host Town BBQ. PHOTOS BY FREDDIE B. PHOTOGRAPHY

an event and had a feeling he was an “Aspie” like me. I called and invited him to team up and that is just what we did. Thanks to Freddie’s dream of being a photojournalist, he jumped at the chance. We started with the “Circle of Inclusion” campaign. It was the logo for the games and when I saw that pictures of people began popping up everywhere in the “Circle”, I said to myself why not take as many pictures of people in the circle everywhere in Southern CA., and at the same time, educate and promote Special Olympics. A wonderful thing about the brain of someone like me with Asperger’s Syndrome is that I may be socially thwarted, but I am running on 162 IQ points and they are all working just fine! The search began for me to get other interviews as well. We interviewed Anita DeFrantz, President of LA84 , and Dain Blanton, both of whom I met at the first press conference. Jayson Warsuma, Debi Anderson, Dustin Plunkett, Laura Cook, all global messengers for LA2015 are just a few more of those I had the pleasure of working with. At one press conference I overheard the mother of an athlete giving one of the coaches phone numbers away and copied it down. I immediately called the man, Danny Harris, coach and former Olympian and got a great interview out of it. I realized I was becoming an investigative reporter.

Riverside Sheriff’s Association President Robert Masson and Robin.

Robin, Christina LaScala and photographer Freddie Bommer.

Then it happened! On Friday morning, the day before Long Beach Special Olympics California, I got a call from Samantha Toth of Fleishman/Hillard and was asked to cover the Long Beach Special Olympics California event, and to please send them my story ASAP! Now our team and I were continuing the “Circle of Inclusion” campaign, digging for interviews, and about to get a chance to cover an amazing event. Not only did we come together as a team, putting out great photos and a story about the event, but CONTINUED ON PAGE 54 53


My Experience CONTINUED FROM PAGE 53

Robin educating folks about what “Special Olympics” really means. PHOTOS BY FREDDIE B. PHOTOGRAPHY

when it posted, Danielle Yango contacted me say congratulations, it is going up on the LA2015 official site! BAM! We were in good standing and looking great to cover the Special Olympics World Games LA2015! Finally the games are here and we have over 2,000 photos of people in the Circle of Inclusion circulating around the world of social media. There was many of my articles with photos, provided by Freddie

Kayaing team from Great Britain 54

for SpecialNeeds.com, with some being linked on the LA2015 site. It was a bit nerve wracking to figure out how to give proper attention to the huge number of athletes and their competitions. I realized something my mom taught me, write what you know. Since I had nurtured some of the relationships with those I previously interviewed, we started there. One of the athletes I interviewed via skype, was Steven Dodd from Team Great Britain. I was communicating with his press delegate, Chris Hull, and got an invitation to the British Residency for a “Garden Party,” given in honor of the arrival of Team Great Britain. Once there, I got the story and Freddie got some photos, we were on a roll. That led to several other invitations for other private and public events where as host towns were giving to welcome all the athletes’ from around the world. We covered some of the “Torch Runs,” and other events leading right up to the games. This included an invitation from


Mayor Lucy Martin of Calabasas to attend a private BBQ for Team GB. Which gave us a great story and made us many new friends from across the pond! Saving the best for last, These 9 days changed my life and thousands of others. I owe so much to so many, but most importantly to our team at SpecialNeeds.com, Freddie, Christina, Kansas and my supportive family. If not

for their belief in this little fairy lady and her abilities, I would still be wondering around aimlessly looking for support. No longer is this the case, as my work with them opened up an entire world of endless possibilities. There needs to be a new word for Thanks until there is, THANKS SO FAIRY MUCH!

Dave Sampson, athlete from Special Olympics of Santa Barbara and Robin Flutterby Borakove during interview.

Robin meets Team Guatemala at the Santa Barbara Zoo visit.

~ Robin Flutterby Borakove

Mark Poncher of FiveCurrents being interviewed on the back set of LA Memorial Coliseum by Robin Flutterby Borakove, World Correspondent for SpecialNeeds.com.

Circle picture fun with athletes and coaches from St. Kit.

See more at SpecialNeeds.com

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PHOTOGRAPHER’S MESSAGE: My Experience

Freddie Bommer, a moment for my own Circle of I nclusion photo at the Host Town Calabasas Zoo visit. PHOTO BY ROBIN FLUTTERBY BORAKOVE

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hen SpecialNeeds.com correspondent Robin Flutterby Borakove; someone I recently met at a photoshoot, asked me in early 2015 if I wanted to join her to cover the Special Olympic World Games as a media photographer for Specialneeds.com, I did not take but half a second to say, “YES!” I knew I wanted to be a part of and contribute to what was to come because my own life had been, and still was being impacted by the same “special gifts” as some of those that would be competing in the games; both my adult son Joshua and I have Asperger’s Syndrome. But little did I know that my simple “yes” would propel me into something so momentous and life-altering that it would forever impact my life in a profound way and leave me with so many memories and experiences to reminisce over for years to come. I initially started out assisting Robin in promoting the Special Olympic World Games via a Circle of Inclusion campaign. 56

We would respond to a variety of locations throughout Southern California where Robin would share the news of the upcoming World Games and I would take photos of people in the “Circle of Inclusion” [a cloth circle containing a variety of colors that represented the colors from the various flags of the numerous participating countries] to show their support for the athletes. Our goal was to achieve 5,000 Circle of Inclusion photos in support of the Special Olympic World Games athletes. Not only did I drive two hours one way nearly every weekend for over two months to join Robin in the pursuit of this goal, I photographed family, friends, neighbors, and even took my “Circle of Inclusion” on a short vacation with me to the Northwest where I took several hundred more photos, including of the flight attendants and pilots of the flights I took, the car rental agents, and the family members I visited and their co-workers and neighbors. I was determined to meet this goal of 5,000 images and even “dragged” my girlfriend Christina LaScala into our campaign, which eventually led to her becoming our valuable assistant before she even realized it: we became “Team Aspie + C.” Our campaign continued into the week before the start of the games where I attended several Law Enforcement Torch Runs to continue our goal of 5,000 Circle of Inclusion photos; my weekend long drive then became a daily task. Even though I managed to gather several hundred more photos by the start of the games, we fell short of 5,000 Circle of Inclusion photos but it was not for a lack of trying; to date I had taken over 1200 Circle of Inclusion photos at the cost of countless hours of organizing, filing, and uploading them for sharing on Specialneeds.com and in an album I created on my Facebook


Freddie with Entertainment Tonight Host Nancy O’Dell at the Play Unified badminton event.

Freddie with Iranian badminton athlete Maedeh Mohammadi and her coach.

PHOTOS COURTESY OF FREDDIE B. PHOTOGRAPHY

photography page especially for the Circle of Inclusion photos I took. Now that the first stage of my involvement with the games was over; the Circle of Inclusion campaign, I only had a “moment” to contemplate my leap into what I learned was reportedly going to be the largest humanitarian event in Los Angeles since 1984 with nearly 200 participating countries and over 5,000 athletes. At the thought of this, I became overwhelmed, excited, awed, humbled and a host of other emotions that flooded my mind on the days before the start of the games. I asked myself why me, a photographer who was still fairly new to the professional world of photography with little contacts and not widely known, was blessed with this once in a lifetime opportunity to cover an event of such magnitude as a media photographer for Specialneeds.com when so many others I felt more qualified coveted the position. I felt the overpowering obligation and the responsibility to fulfill this role the best that I could and to not disappoint those that entrusted me with it; I did not want to let anyone down nor to have them wish they would have chosen another photographer for the task at hand. I realized then was no turning back from

Freddie with Nigel Lythgoe, Co-Founder of ‘Do You Think You Can Dance,’ at British Consulate Garden Party to welcome the British athletes.

the magnitude of what was to come. I knew the games and surrounding events would present me the rare opportunity to capture and share the very essence of life: joy, triumph, happiness, and a host of other emotional images to touch one’s very sou. . . this is one of my main aspirations along my photographic journey in creating images evokes emotions from deep within. I also welcomed the opportunity to contribute and to be a part of something so close to my heart and soul, insofar, that I carried a photograph of my Aspie son Joshua around my neck next to my World CONTINUED ON PAGE 58 57


My Experience CONTINUED FROM PAGE 57 Games media credentials throughout the nine days of the World Games, sharing his “photographic” presence with those around me. And so it began, at a “running start” on the first day…the opening ceremonies. I remember walking into the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum feeling nervous and anxious among the masses of people, but once I found my spot on the coliseum floor among my fellow media, I settled into my comforting role of “photographer” and shot for over 5 hours nonstop; I got “lost” in my pursuit of photographically capturing all that was to be seen, felt, and experienced. By the end of the evening, I found myself physically exhausted and emotionally overwhelmed from experiencing, and being able to photograph, such a historic and wonderful event; I broke down in tears when the full impact of the evening “hit me” after stepping out of my “photographer” mode. I felt truly blessed beyond words. Over the next nine long days from early morning to sundown, Robin and I attended a minimum of several events a day where I would spend my time capturing visions of triumph, determination, exertion, glee, and much more in the effort to share and preserve all that was to be shared. Then every evening, I would sift through hundreds of images to choose a few of the best to post-process and compliment the articles Robin would write of the day’s events, to be published on the Specialneeds.com. This was quite the difficult task because, as another photographer name Kansas Johnson so correctly stated to us recently, trying to choose your favorite image was like trying to pick your favorite child. I painstakingly managed to accomplish the task every evening, being left with regret I could not share more; I so 58

Freddie B. with picture of his Aspie son and MTV’s Johnny Bananas.

Freddie with Rafer Johnson, the founder of the Southern California Special Olympics.

much yearned to display my images from the day in an effort to share in what I saw, felt, and experienced to the very depths of my emotions. This daily task of mine continued throughout the remainder of the games, with very little sleep and barely any time to eat, in my effort to present the most precious, heart-warming, and memorable images to be shared with all those that would look upon them. On occasion, I would have to take a pause in my photography of the events because my emotions would momentarily get the


Freddie in group shot during opening ceremonies.

best of me; the sheer willpower, courage, and unadultered joy of the athletes I witnessed not only caused this to happen deep within me, but caused my eyes to “leak”, temporarily preventing me from looking through my viewfinder. This was a constant “problem” for me throughout the games but one I do not regret or make excuses for. I finished covering the Special Olympic World Games mentally, physically, and emotionally exhausted but with such a deep sense of gratitude for having the opportunity to do so. Upon reflection of what, and to whom, helped me and led me to this point, I thought about many things and many people. I thought about the thousands of dollars I spent over the previous years on my photography equipment, workshops, and education as an investment in my photography future as to assist me in creating images from what I saw of the world and of those around me. I thought about the numerous hours spent discouraging over the images I saw come out of my camera as compared to the “vision” of what I wanted, what I

PHOTOS COURTESY OF FREDDIE B. PHOTOGRAPHY

“needed”, my camera to produce. After much soul-searching, and more times of self-doubt than I care to admit, I come to realize my “vision” was there and that is was just my technically skills and lack of experience that needed work and would take time to improve. If there was ever a single event to put a photographer such as me to the test and to help him gain such experience, the Special Olympic World Games was it. . . I evolved into a media photographer virtually “overnight” via what comes to mind as a “Trial by Fire.” But aside from all else and more importantly, I would not have had the honor, privilege, and blessing to have covered the Special Olympic World Games LA2015 for Specialneeds.com without the support, love, and assistance. . . and most importantly, patience for an Aspie like me, from many people in my life, both past and present. From dear family and friends to those people I met along the way who offered advice and guidance, to those who expressed “belief in me” in what I so much desired for myself as a photographer, and to those who had a direct CONTINUED ON PAGE 60 59


My Experience CONTINUED FROM PAGE 59 impact or some influence in my involvement in the World Games. There were many, too many to list here; you know who you are, but I am compelled to share some of them here. To begin with, there was one photographer instrumental in my ever involving photographic journey for the two years prior to the games. His name was Roberto Cerini and many of times, Roberto and I would team up to conduct photo shoots in our mutual desire to improve our craft. I found in Roberto’s work a wonderful ability to capture the essence of a model’s beauty that inspired me and when my self-confidence waned at times, he most pointedly told me I had the “vision” but lacked the technical experience that would come with time and hard work and for me to “not give up.” Boy am I glad I listened to him! I am thankful to Robin Flutterby Borakove for “seeing within me” what I had to offer

to this endeavor and “opened the door” for my involvement by her invitation to me to join her; she had over 50 photographers “pounding at her door” to join her as a Specialneeds.com photographer but she chose me. I will forever be humbled and grateful for her choice. I am grateful to the talented photographer Kansas Johnson from Kansas City Photography for her wonderful behind the scenes images of some of our work leading up to the games and of the opening ceremonies, in addition to her valuable input on some of my work. I am grateful to all the staff at SpecialNeeds.com involved in showcasing the work of Robin and I: Branndon Coelho who uploaded all of Circle of Inclusion photos to a special page on Specialneeds.com for all to see, Mary Van Doren who handled all of the graphics, page layout, etc. in this special edition magazine, webmaster Flora Lazaro

Freddie with members of the Irish team at the closing ceremonies. 60

COURTESY PHOTO


who insured the various articles written by Robin with my images were published on Specialneeds.com in a most beautiful and timely fashion, and to the editor of Specialneeds.com Merry Potter who made this all happen. . . I will get to you in a moment! And most dear to my heart is the wonderful Christina LaScala, who put the +C into “Team Aspie +C,” who had no idea what she was getting into when she met me many months ago, lest she may have had 2nd thoughts. . . it is not easy dating an “Aspie” obsessed with photography, LOL. But for me personally, Christina was my “ear”, my “sounding board”, for the times of my self-doubt and fear that I may not live up to what was expected of me and for the times I was emotionally exhausted to the point fleeting and momentarily thoughts would pass through my mind of wanting to “escape” and run away. Christina was my support system and helped me “keep going” by reminding me the reason I accepted Robin’s offer into this journey and of her and other’s faith in me and my abilities that led me to this point. Christina’s faith both in me and more importantly, in God, was unwavering and many times, she would reassure me in my times of sadness and doubt to, “Trust in God for he has a plan for you and it will all work out.” Christina is one who puts others before herself by her sweet, selfless, and caring nature and I was no exception. And last, but certainly not least, I owe a debt of gratitude to Merry Potter, the editor of SpecialNeeds.com and publisher of Family Magazines who is ultimately responsible for me being here. For she could have declined to approve me as a SpecialNeeds.com photographer due to my lack of experience, but instead she expressed to me upon seeing some of my work, a belief in me and my “vision” of what I desired to capture. How cool is that. . . the publisher of a major wellrespected magazine expressing belief in

me! Merry expressed encouragement, belief, and just as important with someone like me, patience, in my endeavor of photographically memorializing the games from what I saw and felt. As time went on while photographing the games, I found myself not only striving for the best images to share with the world, but the best images I could capture for Merry as well as I so much wanted to live up to her expectations of me and did want to disappoint her, for she deserved the best of my efforts. Merry, I hope what is seen among these pages gives a glimpse of my efforts, dedication, and hard work to produce images most worthy. To sum it all up after all is said and done, I was left with memories and images that will forevermore exist within my heart, soul, and mind. I can only hope that in some way and in some measure that some of my images I captured will “touch” and “move” the viewers of them in the same profound way I have been touched by the various people I had the pleasure of meeting throughout this journey. I believe though that my images will never come close to “moving” people in the same way and to such depths that the courageous athletes of the Special Olympic Games I had the pleasure and honor of watching, meeting, and photographing moved me. . . many a times to tears of joy and happiness for them. I can only hope that my images comes even a little close to visually preserving and honoring them and what they stood for in the way they so much deserve and earned as an example to all!!! Now for me, I continue on my pursuit and journey towards the level and type of photography I so much desire from within to share with the world, made much richer by my recent experiences. And if I never achieve what I photographically envision for myself, it will not be from a lack of heart and determination and either way, the journey will be filled with so much beauty, experience, and adventure!

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Assistant Christina LaScala

M

y name is Christina LaScala and I am the daughter of Shirley Jane Harris and Prospero Estores born in San Diego, California. I have three beautiful daughters, Nicole Elizabeth (Nic), Heather Lynn (Heb) and Danielle Jane (Dan) and let us not forget my mama! They are my blessings. I describe myself as someone who likes to make people smile, laugh, and feel comfortable. My passion is to effect the souls of the people around me and I yearn to give joy, love, and happiness to those who will receive it and it always comes back to me, as was the case with the Special Olympic World Games. Becoming involved with the World Games allowed me to witness firsthand the very joy, love, and happiness that is so much a part of me and a part of who I am; I would like to see the day when there is no more tears, only joy. If I could share one thought with all the athletes of the World Games, it

would be that there is more to life beyond the life we are living and we don’t have to be perfect because Jesus paid the price for our sins on the cross. I would also like every one of the athletes to know that witnessing their tenacity for life and the joyous spirit and attitude they displayed for all to see affected me profoundly, as it will for the rest of my days. And for this, I am grateful God has blessed me the with opportunity to meet and get to know Fred N. Bommer II, who is to me an amazing man, for because of him, I was invited to join him and Robin as their assistant in what I grew to discover was an amazing adventure in covering the 2015 World Special Olympics! Thank you, Mr. Freddie!

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Assistant Christina LaScala at Work

Christina LaScala with the Polish athletes at the closing ceremonies — she was persuaded to give up her Special Olympic World Games hat for one of theirs. PHOTOS BY FREDDIE B. PHOTOGRAPHY

Christina LaScala with Israeli Kayaking team.

Christina LaScala with some of the Closing Ceremony volunteers. 64


Christina greets an athlete at the Special Olympic Southern California Summer games. Christina LaScala & Freddie B. at kayaking event.

Assistant Christina LaScala speaking with the mother of Power Lifter athlete from Tobago.

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A Message from Special Needs Go to Pro. . . Every Child Can Learn. . . Even if They Struggle. . . Is Your Child Struggling with Learning? Does your child. . . • Take too long to do assigned work? • Skip, repeat, or mispronounce words when reading aloud? • Have difficulty sounding out words? • Have poor reading comprehension? • Have difficulty following instructions? • Have sloppy handwriting? We can solve these problems! Learning can become easier! Parents have told me their child. . . • Struggles with spelling and they do too • Takes ‘forever’ to read assignments • Hates reading • Hates math • Can’t just sit and do their homework • Can’t seem to remember what happened in the story they just read to them

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We can solve these problems! Learning can become easier! I’ve seen it happen again and again! Parents are usually correct in identifying when there is a problem. However, they usually need an educational specialist’s guidance with identifying the underlying root causes of the learning problems and helping their child overcome them. Give us a call 530-888-7160 for a complimentary 30-minute consultation.


How Do We Learn? We learn 3 ways . . . by hearing, seeing, and doing. Within each of those categories, there are 9 sub-categories, totaling 27 sub-categories, or areas of perception. When learning is difficult it is because one or more of the 27 areas of perception just aren’t working as well as they could, should, and can. The key word is can. Perceptual skills are learned skills, and since they are learned, they can be improved. The key is to find out which areas aren’t working as well as they should be. Once they are identified, you can use specific activities and exercises to improve those skills. These activities and exercises typically just take about 20 minutes a day, and you can do them in the comfort of your own home. A Parent Says. . . “I can’t get over the difference. Bridget won’t put a book down. Now we have to go into her room when we go to bed to be sure her light is off. . . she reads for hours at night. I can’t believe she read Harry Potter in just a few days!” — Nancy H. Learning and the Brain From the science of neuroplasticity, we know that we make new neural connections each and every day of our lives. Knowing this, we can create new connections as well as strengthen existing connections, which ultimately makes learning easier. Every child can learn. If we identify the areas of perception that are problematic and then do the specific activities and exercises that address them over a period of time, learning becomes easier. For more information on identifying the underlying root causes of learning

problems, go to www.bonnieterrylearning. com. To set up a complimentary 30-minute consultation, call 530-888-7160. Who Is Bonnie Terry, M. Ed., BCET? I have been involved with Special Education for as long as Special Olympics has been around. My journey started when I was in high school, working as a camp counselor at a residential camp for special needs kids. After graduating from college with several degrees in Special Education, I was off to the ‘real world’ of teaching. I have spent decades teaching students with learning disabilities, dyslexia, developmentally disabilities, physical handicaps, as well as students who are deaf, hard of hearing, on the autistic spectrum, or blind or partially sighted. So, I come to you with vast teaching experience. I can say that my life’s work is about making learning easy, no matter the underlying condition.

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SYMBOL OF HOPE © Kansas Johnson

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A Few of Our Favorite Moments. . . Photos by Freddie B. Photography

Freddie getting pinned by Columbian athlete while at Host Town Santa Barbara Zoo visit. PHOTO BY ROBIN FLUTTERBY BORAKOVE

Covering the Kayaking Awards event. PHOTO BY CHRISTINA LASCALA

Freddie capturing the triumphant arrival of a kayaker. PHOTO BY CHRISTINA LASCALA

Covering the kayaking awards event.

PHOTO BY CHRISTINA LASCALA CONTINUED ON PAGE 70 69


Autism Spectrum Disorder Supports Even though you are challenged, you too can be a HERO.

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Ask About Neurofield Treatments That Can Save and Change Your Life Take an Active Part in Your Mental and Physical Well Being Today and Become Your Own Hero! Contact Robin Flutterby Borakove

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Freddie B.’s Favorites Every image I selected and submitted to be considered for inclusion in this magazine was among my numerous “favorite” images I took during the games as how can any of the Special Olympic

World Games athletes not be included in anyone’s favorite list. But in addition to my already included “Favorites” in this magazine, here are some more I was compelled to share, and why.

When I captured this image of Macau Kayaker Hio Tong Wong proudly displaying his medals in this most unique and humorous way, I knew I truly captured a magically moment to be treasured and chuckled over for ages to come. ​

Once in awhile, one of my images depicts such a scene that compels me to post-process in a style resembling that of an artist whose is an inspiration to me and to whose work inspires me in my own work, Norman Rockwell. This image is one of them. Surasak Damchoom of Thailand

When I captured this image of British Kayaker James Savory, I felt myself choke up with emotion by such a humbling display of gratitude​.

This embrace of accomplishment by power lifter Jose Obando of Costa Rico I found to be the “norm” among the athletes I photographed: a sense of accomplishment so powerful that very few could resist being “moved,” often to tears, and I was no exception.​

CONTINUED ON PAGE 72 71


Freddie B’s Favorites CONTINUED FROM PAGE 71 After a very long day covering several different events with the last 2 hours photographing numerous athletes of the Athletic events, I was about to “call it a day” when I was advised to wait for one more competing athlete by an event staff member. The staff member shared with me the story of Olivia Quigley, who had stage four breast cancer and who had taken a break from her chemotherapy and postponed a much needed surgery as to compete in the games. . . how could I not wait. When Olivia stepped up to her

starting position as to lead off for the USA four-person relay team race, I was overcome with a sense that I was blessed and was honored to not only be able to witness this women’s courage and dedication firsthand, but to be able to memorialize it with my camera. As I lifted my camera to capture what I eagerly anticipated, I felt such a deep sense of obligation and desire to capture images of Olivia I hoped would be worthy of and would honor her and what she stood for in the way she deserved!

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RESOURCE DIRECTORY Aaron Feldman . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29 Ability First . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48 Adaptivemall.com . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51 Autism Spectrum Disorder Supports . . 70 Bonnie Terry . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 66 California State University . . . . . . . . . . 73 California Telephone Access . . . . . . . . . 7 Camp Huntington . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 62 Cozy’s Sports Vest . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33 Cozyisms . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49 Family Choice Awards . . . . . . . . . . . . . 63 Flutter Vision Productions . . . . . . . . . . 36

Freddie B Photography . . . . . . . . . . . . 74 Future Horizons . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35 LearningRX . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Tiffany Law Group . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47 Mobility Works . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40 Nuprodx . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35 Rosebowl Aquatics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48 Sheppard Platt . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 The MediPal . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 75 The Reconnection . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38 Time4Learning . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 76 William Syndrome . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18

STAFF Publisher Richard Precop Editors Robin Borakove Flora Lazaro Merry Potter Photography Freddie B Photography, Freddie Neil Bommer II Kansas City Photography, Kansas Johnson World Games Correspondent Robin Flutterby Borakove Contributors and Assistants Christine LaScala Candace Evans Rachelle Wells “Go To Pro” Bonnie Terry Advertising Director Cozy Stone This issue is dedicated to Noemi Terzani, her family and sister Anna who remain an inspiration to us daily.

Art Director Mary Van Doren, Just Graphix Web Designer Branndon Coehlo

Printer Freedom Printing Distribution PDS Distributors

California State University, Los Angeles Charter College of Education Division of Special Education and Counseling Education Specialist Credentials approved by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing with authorizations in English Language Development and Autism are offered in Mild/Moderate Disabilities, Moderate/Severe Disabilities, Visual Impairments, Physical and Health Impairments, and Early Childhood Special Education. Contact the Office for Student Services for Admission Information www.calstatela.edu/academic/ccoe/oss (323) 343-4320

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Freddie B. Photography™ I aspire to creatively capture the essence and beauty of life; images to astonish, inspire, stun, amaze, elate, delight, enchant, charm, entrance, hypnotize . . .

To learn more about me the photographer and to purchase any of the depicted images in a variety of photo products, and/ or to view/purchase any of my other images in a variety of styles and genres; including my various Special Olympic World Games galleries, visit my web page at:

www.freddiebphotography.zenfolio.com 74


SpecialNeedsAdFullFinal_Layout 1 7/7/15 11:10 AM Page 1

Why is this girl smiling? A. She loves her cold drink B. She loves her MediPal® ID

The truth? She  loves  her  cold  drink,  but  you  love  the  peace  of  mind that  the  MediPal®  Seatbelt  ID  brings.  Vital  medical  informa@on  is contained  inside  and  provides  First  Responders  the  knowledge they  need  to  administer  the  most  appropriate medical  treatment to  meet  her  special  needs. Visit  MediPal.com– Save  $4 by  using  the  word  “inclusion”  in  the discount  code  box. Plus– for  every  MediPal®  ID  sold  with  this  offer, we  will  make  a  $2  dona4on to  the  Special  Olympics!    (expires  1-­‐1-­‐16)

$14.95 retail – 4.00 discount

$10.95

your price! www.medipal.com

Because Saving  Time  Can  Save  Lives

Bulk & Nonprofit rates call: (760) 659-0559 75


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SpecialNeeds.comMagazine  

Special Olympics Coverage

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