Reports from our employee correspondents at the Special Olympics USA sendoff celebration

Two Bank of America Support Services employees attended the celebration in Newark, New Jersey.

group of athletes smiling

Special Olympics USA athletes gather at their send-off event before the Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019.

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Andrew Crout, Bank of America Employee and Special Olympics USA athlete, holding his framed portrait

Andrew Crout, Bank of America Employee and Special Olympics USA athlete, with his framed portrait illustrated by artist Chuck Anderson.

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Christopher Tucker, Special Olympics USA athlete, looking at his illustration for the first time.

Christopher Tucker, Special Olympics USA athlete, is stunned by his illustration as he sees it for the first time.

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Saneatha Trice, Special Olympics USA athlete, looking at her illustration for the first time.

Saneatha Trice, Special Olympics USA athlete, celebrating before the first Special Olympics World Games held in the Middle East and North Africa.

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Zek Maldonado and Tea Campbell holding their portraits.

Zek Maldonado, Special Olympics USA athlete & Téa Campbell, Unified partner, at the celebratory dinner held in the athletes’ honor.

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Cori Davis, Special Olympics USA Equestrian athlete, poses with her illustration.

Cori Davis, Special Olympics USA Equestrian athlete, poses with her illustration.

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two women smiling at the event

Special Olympics USA athletes and Unified partners came together before they teamed up at the Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019.

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Devon Anderson smiling

Devon Anderson, Special Olympics USA athlete, shows her excitement at the outset of the Special Olympics World Games 2019.

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Special Olympics USA athletes and supporters cheer

Special Olympics USA athletes and supporters cheer each other on before they depart for the Special Olympics World Games.

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As the first step in their journey to the Summer World Games, the Special Olympics USA 313-member delegation ― including all athletes, unified partners and coaches’ ― convened in Newark, New Jersey, on March 6 and 7, marking the team’s final stateside milestone before World Games Abu Dhabi 2019. As premier sponsor of Special Olympics USA Bank of America joined in the celebration.  Bank of America Support Services employees Lucy Tucker and Nick Novertia from Delaware who are also Special Olympics athletes in their state, served as peer reporters capturing the first hand excitement of the delegation as they prepared to depart to Abu Dhabi.

The Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi will be the first Special Olympics World Games to be held in the Middle East and North Africa. From March 14 to 21, nearly 7,500 athletes and 3,000 coaches representing more than 176 nations will participate in 24 officially sanctioned Olympic-style sports in venues throughout Abu Dhabi.

The big reveal

While in Newark, Special Olympics USA athletes, unified partners and coaches were treated to a celebratory dinner where Bank of America New Jersey State President Bob Doherty presented the USA delegation with gifts from Bank of America in celebration of their achievements.

The gifts included individual travel care packages and personalized hero cards for each Special Olympics athlete in the delegation to trade with while at the World Games. And he surprised the six Special Olympics athletes featured in the Bank of America marketing campaign with a large illustration created by artist and photographer Chuck Anderson and Special Olympics USA athletes.

Special Olympics USA Activity Fair

Special Olympics USA hosted an Activity Fair to celebrate and cheer on the athletes ahead of their departure to Abu Dhabi. The activity fair included four zones: Play, Connect, Learn, Relax. These zones incorporated booths and activities.

As part of our enterprise commitment to increasing individuals’ financial know-how, Bank of America held a Better Money Habits game show booth during the Activity Fair. At this booth, Bank of America volunteers armed athletes with spending and traveling tips as they prepared for the international trip to Abu Dhabi. Tips included encouraging athletes to beware of the currency conversion rate, ensuring they knew the difference between travel needs and travel wants, as well as providing information on what to do if they thought their financial safety had been compromised.

Conversation with Special Olympics USA athletes

Our employee reporters Lucy and Nick interviewed many athletes during the New Jersey sendoff celebration. They asked questions to athletes from across the country and captured their excitement about attending the world games. Below are some of Lucy and Nick’s favorite moments from the sendoff celebration.

Lucy met with Special Olympics USA swimmer Ashton Smith from Texas. Smith was thrilled to be heading to Abu Dhabi because it would be her first time competing in the World Games. Lucy also met with Special Olympics USA track athlete Alyse Mackey. Mackey has been a Special Olympics athlete for 13 years and the Summer World Games in Abu Dhabi is be her first time leaving the country. Her message of encouragement to her fellow athletes is “just do your best and you can get where you want to go and reach your goals.”

Employee reporter Nick spoke with Special Olympics unified partner (an athlete without intellectual disabilities) Anthony White, who is on the Special Olympics USA basketball team and has been playing basketball for seven years. The Summer World Games in Abu Dhabi is also White’s first time leaving the country and he was most excited about the competition, culture, new experiences he’ll have. His advice to other athletes was “just keep playing.”

Additionally, Nick spoke with Special Olympics USA Bocce coach James Price, who has been a Special Olympics coach for 15 years. Price was a teacher for many years and taught students with autism. He also has family members with intellectual disabilities, which is how he got involved with Special Olympics.

6/20/19


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