The Transformative Power of Inclusion - United Hub

The transformative power of inclusion

How Special Olympics touched the heart of one United employee

By The Hub team, June 26, 2018

As a parent of a child with disabilities, life demands a bit more patience, understanding and caregiving out of Rachel Tanaka. Rachel's 27-year-old daughter, Rell, was born with an intellectual disability, limiting her mental functioning and ability of learning life skills such as communicating, taking care of herself and socializing with peers.

The transformative power of inclusion

Fortunately, at the age of 12, Rell discovered Special Olympics and has never looked back. The organization quickly gave Rell an outlet where she could experience friendship, teamwork and build self-confidence.

As life changing as the involvement was for Rell, it was just as transformative for Rachel, who credits the organization for helping her continuously learn and grow in her parenting role.

Rell has learned life skills that are crucial to her path toward becoming independent, and that is my biggest dream for her, said Rachel. "Our involvement with Special Olympics has helped her tremendously, but it has also helped me. I need to be Rell's advocate, and Special Olympics has taught me how to speak up and get involved."

Rachel regularly volunteers at many of Rell's sporting events throughout the year and has even raised her hand to be head of delegation for Rell's softball team. Rachel will also be supporting Rell during the Special Olympics USA Games happening in Seattle July 1-6, in which Rell's soccer team will participate in for the first time representing Special Olympics Hawaii. One of the most joyful experiences of Rachel's involvement has been seeing her daughter grow into a confident young woman.

Rell playing soccer for Special Olympics

It's amazing what such programs can do for these athletes, said Rachel. "They are taught respect, sportsmanship, leadership, independence and many other capabilities that completely transform the lives of families."

Rachel, who is a coordinator for United Airlines' maintenance business operations in Honolulu, was one of the first employees to learn about the airline's expanded relationship with Special Olympics International. United made the announcement in March and has joined Special Olympics in its global movement to end discrimination against people with intellectual disabilities, and together, they aim to achieve a shared vision of inclusion for all.

With this partnership, United is helping to support major Special Olympics events in 2018, including the Special Olympics USA Games in Seattle July 1-6, and the 50th anniversary celebrations July 17-21 in Chicago, the site of the very first International Special Olympics Summer Games in 1968.

As an employee, I'm proud to work for a company that supports organizations making a true impact on this world, and as a parent of a child with disabilities, I am grateful, said Rachel. "Above all, I hope we all work toward eliminating the stigma facing people with intellectual disabilities. If we allow our walls to come down and let people in, we can touch the hearts of many."

United Awards Free Flights for a Year to Winners of "Your Shot to Fly" Sweepstakes

Grand prize winners live in Bradenton, FL; Cleveland, OH; Goodyear, AZ; Oakland, CA and San Francisco, CA
By United Newsroom, July 29, 2021

CHICAGO, July 29, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- United Airlines today announced the five lucky grand prize winners of its "Your Shot to Fly" sweepstakes, who will each get to fly anywhere in the world United flies with a companion over the course of the next year. The winners of the "Your Shot to Fly" sweepstakes are:

  • Ashley Cronkhite from Bradenton, FL
  • Robert Simicak from Cleveland, OH
  • Sean Husmoe from Goodyear, AZ
  • Lauren Aldredge from Oakland CA
  • Lauren M. from San Francisco, CA

The sweepstakes was in support of the Biden administration's ongoing national effort to encourage more people to get their COVID-19 vaccination and encouraged United's MileagePlus® loyalty members to upload their vaccine records to United. In less than a month, more than one million MileagePlus members uploaded their vaccine cards to the United app and website for a shot to win one of the grand prizes. In June the airline awarded 30 first prize winners with a pair of roundtrip tickets anywhere United flies.

United First U.S. Airline to Offer Economy Customers Option to Pre-Order Snacks and Beverages

New pre-order option builds on the airline's contactless payment technology and is another example of the customer experience transformation underway at United
By United Newsroom, July 28, 2021

CHICAGO, July 28, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Starting today on select flights, all United customers – no matter what cabin of service they're flying in – can use the airline's award-winning mobile app and website to pre-order meals, snacks and beverages up to five days before they're scheduled to travel. United is the first and only U.S. airline to offer economy customers the option to pre-order snacks and beverages, a reflection of the customer experience transformation underway at the airline.



United Airlines to Operate More than 40 Weekly Flights as England Re-Opens to U.S. Travelers

In August, United is adding a second daily flight from Washington, D.C. to London
By United Newsroom, July 28, 2021

CHICAGO, July 28, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- With today's announcement of England reopening to fully vaccinated travelers from the U.S. beginning Aug 2, United Airlines is making it easier for business and leisure customers to jet across the pond with the addition of flights to London. In August, United will have six daily flights between the U.S. and London, including a second daily flight from Washington, D.C. and increasing service from Houston to daily. United looks forward to resuming additional London service in the coming months as well as launching new nonstop service between Boston and London. Customers traveling to England must be fully vaccinated in the U.S. with vaccines that have been approved by the FDA and must take a test before departure as well as a PCR test within the first two days of arrival. Passengers vaccinated in the U.S. will also need to complete a passenger locator form prior to traveling to England and provide proof of U.S. residency.

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