Miss Samoa, Ariana Taufao joined the athletes, parents, volunteers, coaches and the team at Special Olympics Samoa on Thursday 19th July 2016 for a very special and successful Monthly Games held in Savai’i.
This was the first collaboration between a Miss Samoa and Special Olympics Samoa and everyone gathered at Edward Park, Iva for a round robin in Football, Cricket, Athletics and Bocce.
CEO Tusitina Nu’uvali thanked Miss Taufao for not only taking the time to be a part of the fun and games during the day but for taking meaningful action to engage in and promote inclusiveness. “Sports is powerful in bringing everyone together, and having the Miss Samoa play with our athletes and interact with our unemployed Youth Volunteers created a positive moment that I hope will continue to build acceptance within our communities.”
The Monthly Games are one of the programs conducted by the organisation throughout the year where they use sports as a tool to promote inclusiveness and a sense of joy amongst communities for those with intellectual disabilities.
These games also give an opportunity for those without intellectual disabilities to come on board as Unified Partners.
Having Miss Samoa along as a Unified Partner has helped the organisation promote community engagement in the hopes of encouraging others to be advocates in the fight for equality and quality for those with intellectual disabilities.
Miss Ariana Taufao added, “I was very privileged to be a part of the games here in Savai’i with the Special Olympics team.
We all play a role in ensuring all persons are afforded the same opportunities and being a part of the games, I can really see how sports can allow people of all ages and abilities to come together and share in a moment of laughter and fun.”
Special Olympics Samoa acknowledged the collaborative efforts of their partners; Red Cross, Senese and TV3 who participated to ensure the safety of their athletes as well as capturing the moments.
Collaborations with health service providers are part of the Healthy Communities initiative for Special Olympics Samoa through the Golisano Foundation which promote healthy living for the athletes.
Miss Taufao not only shared some of her knowledge on the Bocce field but she also ran the 100m against the athletes, batted in cricket and stood her own as goal keeper on the football field.
In turn, the athletes were able to show Miss Taufao some of their skills on the sporting field laughing and enjoying the opportunity for friendly competition against Miss Samoa.
A special moment for not only the athletes but also Miss Taufao as she finished the day off saying “This is not just a chance for the athletes to play games and have fun but, it has been a golden opportunity for myself and their families and communities to be able to share in that joy and I am very grateful to have been invited to come along. I encourage everyone in Samoa to get behind the Special Olympics movement as it really does make a difference in the lives of these athletes, and maybe yours too.”