Above: From left, John Holahan and Joe Maggiacomo of Coca-Cola Beverages Northeast; Coach Patty Carosotto; Matthew Carosotto, Special Olympics athlete and Patty’s son; and Ed Pacheco, president and CEO of Special Olympics Rhode Island.
The donation is made in honor of EG’s Patty Carosotto, Special Olympics North America’s Outstanding Coach of the Year
December 21, 2023 (Providence, R.I.) – In a scene right out of a heartwarming holiday movie, EG resident Patty Carosotto, a preschool special education teacher at Narragansett Elementary School, a Unified coach at East Greenwich High School, and Special Olympics North America’s “Outstanding Coach of the Year for Unified Champion Schools,” yesterday stepped into what she thought was a holiday gathering for coaches only to be surprised by a festive group of supporters and a $25,000 donation from The Coca-Cola Company. The surprise event unfolded at Coca-Cola’s Providence Sales Center, featuring executives and staff from Coca-Cola Beverages Northeast and Special Olympics Rhode Island, along with athletes, partners, and volunteers from the Unified Champion School program she oversees.
Carosotto, recognized for her exceptional commitment to inclusion, received the donation in support of the Unified Champion Schools program at East Greenwich High School. As a dedicated coach with 19 years of volunteering for Special Olympics Rhode Island, she has passionately championed several social inclusion initiatives throughout her school and community. The surprise donation aligns with Coca-Cola’s commitment, as a Special Olympics Internationals Founding Partner, to recognize and support individuals like Carosotto who make a significant impact on inclusion efforts.
“Patty’s unwavering dedication to inclusion resonates on various levels, and as a partner of Special Olympics both here in Rhode Island and across the country, the Coca-Cola system is proud to highlight and reinforce that commitment with this $25,000 gift to support the newly formed East Greenwich Avengers community team,” said John Holahan, General Manager of Coca-Cola Beverages Northeast. “We are excited to award this donation during the season of giving in recognition of Patty’s impactful work both in the community as well as advancing the Unified Champion Schools program at East Greenwich High School.”
The Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools program is aimed at promoting social inclusion through intentionally planned and implemented activities affecting systems-wide change in K–12 schools and across college campuses. With sports as the foundation, the three-component model offers a unique combination of effective activities that equip young people with tools and training to create sports, classroom and school climates of acceptance. These are school climates where students with disabilities feel welcome and are routinely included in, and feel a part of, all activities, opportunities and functions.
“I am truly humbled and blessed to receive such a large donation from Coca Cola,” said Carosotto. “This donation to the East Greenwich Special Olympics Team will significantly impact our ability to push forward our mission of inclusion, accessibility to sports programming for all our athletes, and meaningful connections in our community and beyond. I cannot wait to share this gift with our team.”
“It was an absolute joy to witness the sheer delight on Patty’s face as our friends at Coca-Cola presented such a generous gift,” said Ed Pacheco, president and CEO of Special Olympics Rhode Island. “This recognition is truly well-deserved. Patty understands the value of forging an athlete-centered community, consistently emphasizing this approach in her teaching and coaching. Her commitment ensures that the needs of her athletes are prioritized, providing them with boundless opportunities to train, play, and flourish in both competitive and casual settings.”
Carosotto’s involvement with the “Special Olympics movement” started years ago when she coached a community-based Unified Volleyball team. Her commitment persisted when her son, Matthew, a Special Olympics Rhode Island athlete, entered East Greenwich High School and became part of the Unified Champion Schools Volleyball team. In addition to coaching, she played a pivotal role in expanding the team’s reach, transforming it into a Unified Club. This initiative aimed to provide athletes and their partners with opportunities to socialize and play volleyball during the off-season.
Additionally, Carosotto introduced the Unified Movement to East Greenwich High School’s summer camp, aptly naming it the “Avenger Inclusion Revolution Camp.” She also played an instrumental role in the school achieving recognition as a Special Olympics Class of 2023 National Banner Unified Champion School. More recently, Carosotto organized the newly formed Special Olympics Rhode Island East Greenwich Avengers, a community-based team providing sports and athletics for individuals with intellectual disabilities from East Greenwich and surrounding areas. Coca Cola’s $25,000 gift will be used to support the team as it was just recently formed.