Meet Jamie Staton's Virtual Running Team: Mile 19     
Name: Kyle Guillemette

Age: 25

Local Program: Monadnock Valley Patriots

Basketball, bowling & snowshoe

Kyle Guillemette got involved in Special Olympics at the age of eight after hearing about it through a teacher at his elementary school. Growing up, it was difficult for Kyle to make friends but Special Olympics gave him socialization skills, determination and taught him that it is not all about winning but trying your best and finishing the race.

One year at the State Winter Games competing, Kyle was competing in a snowshoe race and his right shoe fell off. Not wanting to give up, Kyle pushed his toe into the snowshoe and dragged it all the way to the finish line. Even though all the other athletes had already completed the race, he finished with a smile on his face. It was a proud moment for him because he did what he was taught and never gave up even though he could have.

Kyle has won many gold, silver and bronze medals and has them displayed on a rack in his room. His dream is to participate in the World Games one day alongside his cousin, who is also a Special Olympics athlete in Canada.

When Kyle is not competing, he enjoys watching movies, playing board games, playing cards and going to Disney World.
Name: Ellis Guijarro

Age: 16

Local Program: Team Portsmouth

Basketball, bowling, equestrian & soccer

Ellis "Jelly" Guijarro is 16 years old and is currently a sophomore at Portsmouth High School.  Ellis competes on the Portsmouth High School unified soccer team and unified basketball team.  He is the manager of the freshman football team and participates in the bowling and basketball tournaments with Special Olympics New Hamsphire.  In the past, he also participated in the equestrian competition at the Summer Games.

Ellis started competing with Special Olympics in the eighth grade, and since then, everyone around him has noticed remarkable growth and development.  Ellis' mother, Sharon, noted that, "Special Olympics has been great for his social skills and friendships, especially the friendships that have been made with the Unified Sports partners.  Also his confidence has increased." 

One of those friendships is with Faith Poirier, a senior at Portsmouth High School.  Faith is a member of the varsity girls basketball team and unified soccer team, and is also a Special Olympics volunteer.  Faith says that, "Ellis has improved so much.  I remember when he first started playing basketball and we talked about defense, he would run right by the person.  Now he stays right with them and plays awesome defense."  Faith also mentions how she has really enjoyed getting to know "Jelly" over the last couple of years and she doesn't think that she would have had that opportunity had it not been for Special Olympics Unified Sports.  Ellis says that he loves Special Olympics because he can play with his friends and score baskets (or as he puts it, "get buckets!").