Tag: Los-Angeles

The Special Olympics Are Here!!

“Let me win, but if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”

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The 2015 Special Olympics World Games is taking place this week in Los Angeles, CA. Approximately 7,000 athletes will be participating in the World Games, representing over 170 nations around the world. There will be close to half a million people watching in person and many millions watching around the world on television. ESPN is the channel of choice for these world games.

I had the unforgettable pleasure of being a part of the opening ceremony last weekend. Countries were represented from Burkina Faso to U.S. Samoa & from American Samoa to Mauritius. There were countries that sent as few as 12 delegates to over 250 delegates. Every nation represented wore their traditional garb and waved to the crowd as their country was called. All week, these Olympians will be competing in games such as volleyball, badminton, swimming, power lifting and even a triathlon at different venues throughout Los Angeles.

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There were speeches from Tim Shriver & Maria Shriver who both spoke about their mother’s legacy and reason for starting the Special Olympics. Oscar De La Hoya & Eva Longoria also spoke and there were performances by Avril Lavigne and Spanish sensation J Balvin. Stevie Wonder wowed the crowd and the evening was topped off a speech from the First Lady of the United States of America, Mrs. Michelle Obama. She encouraged everyone to reach for their  dreams no matter what & that we all should carry a sense of pride in who we are no matter what our difficulties may be. I didn’t get the opportunity to meet her, but I was able to see her in person up close for the first time. Then I was a part of the closing song – ‘Reach Up L.A.!’ written by Siedah Garrett. There were over 100 people on the stage pumping up the crowd with choreographed moves & flags flying everywhere. It was a night to remember! I had a great time & felt privileged to be part of such an amazing event.

Founded in 1968 by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, the Special Olympics World Games is the only of its kind. There are over 200,000,000 people around the world that suffer from intellectual disabilities. This includes people who have Down Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy and even Autism. Visit http://LA2015.org for more information.

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The ‘Write Club’: Where Real Literaries Battle It Out!

Write Club

WRITE CLUB, ARE YOU READY?!”

This was how I was greeted when the whole “Write Club” experience started. Where in the world am I?! What is this even about?! These were some of the questions I had in my mind because I had no clue what was about to happen. You see, I was invited by a friend and the only thing I was told was to expect the unexpected.

So what was this ‘Write Club’ all about? Well, for starters imagine a blond Russell Brand (but without the accent) as the host & a younger version of the late Joan Rivers as his co-host. With an exorbitant amount of energy they introduced themselves and warned all 1st time visitors about what was going to happen. I entered into an arena for popular controversial topics to be challenged one-on-one by two opposing parties. So imagine the movie “Fight Club” starring Brad Pitt but instead of using their fists, each contender has to use their words. Yeah, that’s deep. I know.

So here’s how it went down: There were three different rounds and 2 people each round arguing opposing points of view that were assigned to them in advance. Each speaker had 7 minutes apiece to defend their stance and the audience got to choose the winner. There were some “unofficial” judges selected at random by the host & co-host who had front row seats just in case they were needed to break a tie. The winner was awarded a mini-trophy (it was really little & cute!) and a cut of the evenings proceeds went to the charity of the winners’ choosing.

The topics debated that night were: Science vs. Religion, Sight vs. Sound, and Nature vs. Nurture (actually I can’t remember the 3rd topic but you get the picture). Each person put up a really good ‘write fight’, and despite all the cheering & clapping, there could only be 1 winner per round. All in all, it was a great event! I think the only downside was that I didn’t know about it sooner.

There are ‘Write Clubs’ in different major cities throughout the United States. To find one in your city, go to their website – WriteClubRules.

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The punchiest thing to hit literature since Hemingway” – Chicago Reader