April 9, 2015 

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Coach Anne Tufts and
Mary Helen Willant 

Mary Helen Willant began to ice skate at age eight.  At first, Mary Helen had only a pair of hockey skates, but her family quickly learned that she wasn't going to be a hockey player.  Mary Helen wanted to figure skate!   


By age ten, Mary Helen was competing in Figure Skating with Special Olympics.  She began competing in New Hampshire and then, when the number of figure skaters dwindled, she competed with Special Olympics Massachusetts and Special Olympics Connecticut.   


Mary Helen, now 24, brought home a Gold Medal in figure skating for the 2nd year in a row at the Special Olympics Connecticut State Winter Games in March.


Mary Helen also competes in aquatics with her SONH Local Program, the Rockingham Rockets.  When not training and competing for Special Olympics, Mary Helen enjoys cooking, eating and working out.


It's April Madness when more than 800 Special Olympics athletes and Unified Partners come together to compete at the 2015 Special Olympics New Hampshire State Basketball Tournament!  Competition will take place this Saturday, April 11th throughout Derry and Londonderry.


Click here to see a detailed schedule.  The Tournament is open to the public and we invite you to come and cheer on our teams as they GO FOR THE GOLD!



The Greater Manchester Area Swim meet is a wonderful opportunity for athletes to compete in up to four events!  It not only provides preliminary competition to those athletes participating in aquatics at our State Summer Games but also provides athletes that don't compete in aquatics at the State Summer Games a chance to compete.

The swim meet is held at Southern New Hampshire University in the sports complex. This venue provides athletes with a six lane pool and a small gym to wait for heats while visiting with friends.



Ernie Diaz is a senior at Florida International University and will be graduating in May of 2015 with a degree in accounting.  Ernie is proud to represent Special Olympics New Hampshire at the 2015 Boston Marathon which will take place on Monday, April 20th.   


Ernie has been running since he was a sophomore in high school, competing in both track and cross country.  Through his training, Ernie developed a passion for long hours of preparation and dedication to his sport and began to compete in triathlons and modified iron man competitions.  Ernie now has his sights set on the Boston Marathon. 


Throughout Ernie's running career, he has learned that discipline, dedication, a will to succeed and a strong support system are crucial to success.  He has had numerous opportunities to compete and produce positive and rewarding results. What he has yet to do, was race for a charity. 


"When I was presented with the opportunity to run on behalf of the athletes that Special Olympics New Hampshire serves, I felt a genuine blessing bestowed upon me.  I strongly believe that physical exercise and education are vital for individuals to lead a healthy life.  Being able to participate in such an authentic American tradition provides me with a substantial amount of pride and patriotism. The opportunity to be able to generate funds for such a tremendous organization, where funds will be spent to create numerous opportunities for individuals with intellectual disabilities to compete and enjoy the outdoors through sport and recreation is an honor and a privilege," Ernie said.


Please support Ernie in this incredible journey.  Your gift will not only support him as a runner but also the 2,994 athletes involved in SONH sports programming and competition.  You can donate by clicking here or if you would like to send a check please make it out to SONH, 650 Elm St, Manchester, NH 03101. Please put "Ernie Diaz" in the memo. 




The 2014-2015 NHIAA Unified Volleyball and Outdoor Track seasons begin on Monday!  There are 14 schools playing volleyball and 12 schools participating in track.


Please click here to see a schedule of the volleyball season and then go check out a game! 




The Law Enforcement Torch Run will kick off the week of May 18th when the "Flame of Hope" will travel over 800 miles throughout New Hampshire.  The Law Enforcement Torch run helps to raise funds and spread awareness about the Special Olympics movement throughout the state of New Hampshire.  Torch Run participants consisting of SONH athletes, members of law enforcement and friends and family of SONH will carry the "Flame of Hope" in one of over twenty torch run legs leading up to the 2015 State Summer Games to be held at the University of New Hampshire on June 5th - 7th.   


The "Flame of Hope" will visit our state capital on June 4th for the State House Celebration at 2:00 pm to honor the SONH athletes participating in Summer Games as well as celebrate the two athletes from NH who will be representing Special Olympics New Hampshire in the 2015 World Games in Los Angeles, CA July 25 - August 2. 


If you are interested in participating in the 2015 Law Enforcement Torch Run, please contact Courtney Brooks at (603) 624-1250 x33 or courtneyb@sonh.org.  



The State Basketball Tournament is this weekend and we need your help!  The Tournament will take place on Friday April 10th and Saturday April 11th at various locations in Derry and Londonderry.


For more information or to sign up, please contact Sue Asselin Hawthorne at (603) 624-1250.




We will hold a Global Messenger One-Day Training on Saturday, May 2nd from 9 am to 5 pm at the Alexander-Carr Lodge (28 Pierce Ave) in Derry.


Global Messengers are Special Olympics athletes who help spread the message and vision of the movement as well as the benefits they have gained by participating in Special Olympics. As leaders and message-bearers of the movement, Global Messengers communicate the powerful declarations of hope, acceptance, dignity and courage of Special Olympics athletes around the world.   


If you are interested in attending this training, sponsored by the Derry Parks & Recreation Department, please contact Marcia Gardner via email (MarciaG@sonh.org) or phone (624-1250 x43). 



Please join us in welcoming Chi Li, our new Director of Programs, to the SONH family!


Chi joins us from the Hong Kong Rugby Football Union where he served in a number of different roles including events manager, facilities manager and coaching educator.

As our Director of Programs, Ch
i is responsible for the planning and implementation of Special Olympics - a year-round sports, fitness and leadership program for children and adults with intellectual disabilities.

Please feel free to welcome Chi via email, phone (603) 624-1250 x44 or by stopping into the office! 



April 10-11
State Basketball Tournament
Derry & Londonderry
April 19
Greater Manchester Area Swim Meet
May 2
Global Messenger Training
May 9
Lower Merr Area Summer Games
May 9
Upper Valley Area Summer Games
May 16
Monadnock Area Summer Games
May 17
Great North Woods Area Sum Games
May 17
Seacoast Area Summer Games



Special Olympics New Hampshire is grateful for the annual support of our Mission Partners who help bring our programs to life.