A Picture's Worth A Thousand Words

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  An Okinawan girl looks at pieces of art during the Kadena Special Olympics Art Exhibition at the Rycom Mall Oct. 16, 2016 in Okinawa, Japan. This is the 10th annual KSO Art Exhibition where event organizers display art made by Okinawan children with special needs. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Corey M. Pettis)
An Okinawan girl looks at pieces of art during the Kadena Special Olympics Art Exhibition at the Rycom Mall Oct. 16, 2016 in Okinawa, Japan. This is the 10th annual KSO Art Exhibition where event organizers display art made by Okinawan children with special needs. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Corey M. Pettis)

A Picture's Worth A Thousand Words

by: Airman 1st Class Corey M. Pettis, 18th Wing Public Affairs | .
Stripes Okinawa | .
published: October 19, 2016

KADENA AIR BASE, Japan -- Colors pop off the walls lined with artwork as shoppers view the pieces of work done by special needs students at the Kadena Special Olympics Art Exhibition.

Approximately 390 pieces of art made by children from 13 special needs schools hang in the center of the mall for everyone to enjoy.

Local school children performed a sign language concert for shoppers and volunteers offered face paint for kids.

Volunteers from Kadena Air Base patrolled the isles, helping anyone who needed assistance and making sure the artwork remained undamaged.

“It’s nice to get out into the community and help,” said Staff Sgt. Riley Lebreck, 18th Equipment Maintenance Squadron aircraft structural maintainer. “I live off base and meet new people all the time, so to be able to help out while I’m here feels like I’m paying back the community.”

The Kadena Special Olympics is an annual event consisting of several portions where people with special needs compete in various activities.

Events include bowling, the art exhibition and the game day which consists of more than 800 athletes competing in numerous competitions.

Every year, more than 1,200 volunteers from the local community and Kadena Air Base come out to support KSO and the athletes.

“I love coming out to KSO events. I think it’s a vital part of us being Air Force ambassadors and ambassadors for the U.S.,” said Staff Sgt. Elmore Norwood, 18th EMS aircraft structural maintainer. “Coming out is very important to maintain relationships with our host nation.”