Action-Packed Unified Sports® Holiday Classic Presented by the Connecticut Elks Set For November 19th and 20th 
Our 2022 Unified Sports® Holiday Classic Presented by the Connecticut Elks Association will take place on Saturday, November 19th and Sunday, November 20th. Sports and venues will include:
  • Traditional and Unified Sports® Bowling at Bowlero in Milford and AMF Circle Lanes in East Haven on both Saturday and Sunday
  • Powerlifting at Gleason Performance Training in Derby on Saturday
  • Unified Basketball at Quinnipiac University in Hamden on Saturday and Sunday
  • Unified Volleyball at the Hamden Hall Beckerman Athletic Center in Hamden on Saturday
Health offerings will include Special Smiles and FUNfitness at basketball and Strong Minds at volleyball.
Among our sponsors this year, are Marc Curto and his "Curto's Crew." On Friday, September 18, 2020, Marc was involved in a serious automobile collision that caused paralysis due to a fractured spine. After enduring months of rehabilitation, Marc now lives in a handicapped accessible apartment attached to his brother’s home – a project made possible through an outpouring of generosity and support from his friends and the Enfield community. Marc's friends also organized the 1st Annual MVC Classic Golf Tournament to raise funds and support him. Marc made the generous decision to donate half the proceeds from the tournament to Special Olympics Connecticut and will be recognized as a Bronze Sponsor of our Holiday Classic basketball competition.
Marc Curto
"Throughout my friendship with (SOCT staff member Liza Nolan), I’ve heard many stories about the athletes you serve and have been amazed by their accomplishments and the obstacles they have overcome. They work hard to compete in their sports and their happiness shines through. I wish I had their courage and strength. Being newly disabled has opened my eyes to the struggles we face every day. Almost everything I do now is a challenge. I wanted to give back – to try make something good out of something so devastating for me. I have always thought so highly of the work you do for Special Olympics Connecticut, Liza, so your organization and this donation was an easy choice for me. You’re very talented and the athletes are lucky to have you and your fellow co-workers.” wrote Marc about his gift to SOCT.
Thank you to all of our Unified Sports® Holiday Classic sponsors:
Holiday Classic Sponsors
Free Physicals Offered to Athletes at MedFest
Our MedFest event took place at the University of Saint Joseph on October 15th. This was the third time we've held this event to provide athletes with the physical exam they need to participate in Special Olympics sports training and competitions.
By taking an inter-professional approach, student volunteers from multiple health-related programs (nutrition, nursing, pharmacy, and physician assistant) worked together to provide comprehensive screenings for our athletes. 
Clinicians and volunteers from Yale University, Quinnipiac University and private practice also assisted. Nick and Karen Zoccoli sponsored the event.
New Members to Join SOCT's Board of Directors
Special Olympics Connecticut is proud to announce that five new members will join its Board of Directors, effective January 1, 2023. They include Kristi Kahn, Tahj McCall, Josh Pandolfi, Michael Pendell and Ronald Smith. 
Kristi Kahn
Kristi Kahn is Chief Administration Officer, Commercial Banking for Webster Bank, her employer since 2009. She's also held the positions of VP, Head of Third-Party Risk Management, Sourcing Consultant and Procurement Analyst during her time at Webster Bank. In addition to these roles, Kahn has worked for Citizens Republic Bancorp and Citizens Banking Corporation in Michigan. Kahn received a Bachelor of Business Administration Degree in Accounting from the University of Michigan and has served as a Board Member and Treasurer for the Children's Community School of Waterbury.
Taj McCall
Tahj McCall is the Local Coordinator for Special Olympics Hartford and in this role, leads a team comprised of volunteers, coaches, partners and athletes of all abilities and manages all aspects of running the program. He also works as a Senior Field Technician with Quadient. In addition to holding these positions, McCall's credentials include coaching youth flag and tackle football, youth basketball and little league baseball, martial arts and serving on the production team at Crossroads Church. McCall is the recipient of a Special Olympics Connecticut Unsung Hero Award for outstanding leadership of his Hartford team.
Josh Pandolfi
Josh Pandolfi is a Managing Director of Origination and Syndication at Starwood Infrastructure Finance, a division of Starwood Property Trust. In this role, he is responsible for originating new debt investments across the power, energy and infrastructure spaces and is primary coverage for private equity sponsors, independent power producers, developers, and financial institutions. Prior to joining Starwood in 2018, Josh spent the previous 16 years at GE Capital, primarily in the Energy Financial Services division. Josh has led a number of financings throughout his career, with aggregate enterprise value in excess of $10B. Josh has also served as a volunteer and project leader for Special Olympics Connecticut for over 15 years and is an Unsung Hero Award recipient. Josh earned a Bachelor’s degree from Penn State University.
Michael Pendell
Michael Pendell holds the position of Member at Motley Rice LLC, a firm he's been with since 2011. Before joining Motley Rice, he was with Hinckley, Allen & Snyder LLP and also taught at Albertus Magnus College and Albany Law School. Pendell is a member of The Connecticut Bar Association, The New York Bar Association and The American Association for Justice and is a graduate of Albany Law School and Emerson College. He has also participated in the Penguin Plunge and was captain of a team that has raised over $100,000 for SOCT.
Ronald Smith
Ronald Smith is Vice President, Internal Audit & Security for Eversource Energy. During his more than 30 years at Northeast Utilities/Eversource, he also served in various management positions within Internal Audit and Corporate Accounting. Smith also worked as a senior consultant for a software development company that focused on clients within the telecommunication industry. Smith has an undergraduate degree in Business Administration and Economics and an MBA from the University of Hartford. He has also earned professional designations as a Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) and a Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE).
Special Olympics Connecticut and Special Olympics Slovakia Team Up to Support Ukranian Children of All Abilities
Special Olympics Connecticut and Special Olympics Slovakia have teamed up to provide day care facilities for Ukrainian refugee families who have children with intellectual disabilities. Through a student fundraising Swimathon organized by The Hotchkiss School and the leadership of Special Olympics Connecticut, the Dream Day Care Center in Bratislava, Slovakia opened during October to provide care for Ukrainian refugee children who were among the more than six million Ukrainians, mostly women and children, who were forced to leave their homes since the Russian offensive against Ukraine began on February 24th.
Global Messengers Gather to Learn, Lead and Be Inspired!
Our first in-person Athlete Leadership Training Day in three years took place at Yale West Campus on October 1st. Thirty-nine Global Messengers participated with their mentors and the event was supported by 19 volunteers from Synchrony, sponsor of our Athlete Leadership program.
A'ric Jackson, the keynnote speaker, talked about "being yourself - unapologetically" and breakout session speakers included Steve Rzezuski of Northwestern Mutual, Christine Hovey from USJ Nutrition and Lisa Lanspery of Synchrony. 
Special Olympics Global Messengers are athletes who serve as spokespersons, ambassadors and decision-makers for our organization.
Alan's Wish Comes True!
During the past two years, Special Olympics West Hartford Athlete Alan Zaharia participated in many of our SOCT Zoom Room events and was awarded gifts cards for winning trivia and other contests. With the Dick's Sporting Goods gift cards he received and the money he saved up, Alan was able to purchase the brand-new exercise bike of his dreams! 
SOCT: What do you enjoy about participating in SOCT Zoom Room Events?
Alan: I like to participate in SOCT Zoom Room events because it's fun and I get to see my friends and staff.
SOCT: What are your favorite Zoom Room activities?
Alan: My favorite SOCT Zoom Room events are Nutrition and Cooking Classes with Saint Joseph University, Trivia Night with Dave Pellino, and Dance Parties with DeeJay Smith.
SOCT: How does it feel to own your new bike?
Alan: I feel happy with my new stationary bike because I can train and stay in shape so I can participate in the Special Olympics events. I saved money for over two years and with the help from Dick’s Sporting Goods gift cards that I won from the SOCT Zoom Trivia night - my wish came true!
SOCT: What sports do you participate in with Special Olympics?
Alan: My favorite sports to participate in Special Olympics are snowshoeing, swimming and golf.
SOCT: What do you like most about Special Olympics?
Alan: What I like most about Special Olympics is friendly competition and socializing with my peers, coaches and volunteers.
All are invited to participate in the Choose to Include Holiday Auction to benefit our athletes which will go LIVE on Friday, November 25th at 6 a.m. The Auction will offer memorable vacations, unique holiday gifts, unforgettable experiences and more. There will also be an option to make a donation and skip the bidding altogether. 
To view items and participate in the Auction, click here. Bidding will end/the Auction will close on Monday, December 12th at noon. 
If bidding isn’t your thing, you may simply text Choose2Include to 76278 to make a donation that will support our athletes.
This holiday season, help us continue to provide inclusive year-round sports, health and wellness programs to more than 10,000 individuals with and without intellectual disabilities who want to be in the game and demonstrate all they can be!
Enjoy Coca-Cola, Support SOCT
All through November and December, when you purchase 3 20 oz. bottles of Coke for $5 at participating Cumberland Farms in Connecticut, 15 cents will go to Special Olympics Connecticut. Enjoy Coke and support our athletes!
Event Recap
Special Olympics Connecticut was honored to receive the Founding President's Award from the Connecticut Women's Hall of Fame during its 29th Annual Induction Ceremony and Celebration of Women in Sports. SOCT Board Members Kit Geis and Kimberly Malan accepted the Award on our organization's behalf.
A little rain didn't dampen the spirits of participants in our 3rd annual LETR Golf Tournament at Hawk's Landing Country Club in Southington on October 17th. Global Messengers Dan, Karla, Carly, Raishaun and Katie added an extra splash of fun to the event and were happy to be there to thank the golfers!
The talented Nick Depuy & the Big Fly band performed a benefit concert for our athletes presented by Webster Private Bank at the Fairfield Theatre Company on October 13th. During the event, Webster Private Bank's Peter Gabriel presented our organization with a generous $5,000 donation.
Our annual New England Unified Golf Invitational was held at Raceway Golf Club in Thompson on October 16th. The event brought Unified teams from Special Olympics Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Hampshire and Connecticut together for 18 holes of alternate shot competition.
Volunteers from ESPN's Health & Wellness Team came out to Bristol Central High School to support its Unified Sports® soccer tournament. The volunteers participated in soccer drills and presented medals to participants during the event.
Free Resources to Care for Loved Ones
To show our appreciation for all you’ve done for Special Olympics Connecticut, we would like to offer you something in return. Something we hope will have a positive impact on you and your family. If you’re like many people, creating or updating your will, trust and other important documents is something that often falls to the bottom of the to-do list. But planning can help you care for your loved ones and offer significant piece of mind. And it doesn’t have to be complicated.
We hope our free publications will help you get started. Some of the information available includes:
  • Considerations for taking care of a loved one with special needs, parents or elder family members
  • Tips for choosing an executor
  • Creating an Advance Care Directive
  • Why you need a digital estate plan
You’ll find a complete list of free publications here.

We welcome your feedback and contributions. Contact us at 203-230-1201 or specialolympicsct@soct.org.

Partner Sponsors

Bozzuto's Inc. CT Elks Association “Enterprise
“Eversouce.” “Hometown ““Law
“NBC “Pratt “Webster
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