Yukiko Aricayos: valuable in Guam's tourism industry & Special O - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Yukiko Aricayos: valuable in Guam's tourism industry & Special Olympics

Posted: Apr 13, 2018 5:35 PM Updated:

Meet Yukiko Aricayos. She's going on 26 years as a United Airlines flight attendant. When she's not working the Japan route - helping visitors with translation, service, and safety - she's working the field as a Special Olympics Guam Coach.

"If I go there," she said gratefully, "they give me so much energy so I don't feel like I'm tired. They'll heal my tiredness. It's really nice. So nice."  She tells KUAM she simply started as a driver to her three sons who were volunteering for the non-profit to get community service hours. That's when she heard Special Olympics needed some extra help.

"Then one day it seems that they needed more volunteers, so I just raised the hand; then Ms. Carol, the coordinator, they took me to the coach training, then I'm involved. The more I go do, and now I love it!"she said.

It's since become a family affair, and now their family extended to the dozens of athletes who make up Team Gachong. Every Saturday they're together...and for some sports, twice a week.

By some miracle, she fits this into her work schedule. "I don't know! It's really hard," she admitted. "Because our schedule is not 9-to-5, then Saturday and Sunday off. So once I find the schedule, I try to give it to somebody, but I have to support my family, too. So I ask around. Somehow I get every Saturdays off. The weekly, sometimes it's hard."

Special Olympics recently wrapped up their Track and Field event at Okkodo High School last month. Aricayos  said, "I did swimming last year then next one was bowling, then softball then it was new for this special Olympics category then track and field. Those were the ones I coached."

For her, coaching is simply time to play. "I didn't know anything about coaching. I don't see me coach. I just playing with them. When we do together, we're just playing together - they see me as coach, coach, coach!" she said.

And, it's hard to tell who's having more fun or who's doing the coaching, she says. "I was leading the team, team come here this way! I was walking back and then I fell, and then they're the one helping me, coach are you okay? Which one is the coach?" she said, giggling.

But one thing's for sure: everyone's a winner in Special Olympics. Each athlete bringing a "I can" attitude to every obstacle in their way. "You become more better person; you, of course, appreciate how you are and something you can do to make other people happy. It's really nice feeling. I want them to feel that, too," she said.

The sky's the limit for Yukiko. As this month's Good Neighbor recipient, Title Guaranty will donate $100 to her charity of choice. Obviously, she's picked Special Olympics Guam.

"It's just a wonderful feeling if you come to help. To see them. If some athletes they are actually physically difficulty and mentally difficulty, and when they found you and when they hold the hand and they kiss to the greet, you feel like you know their heart. I want them, everyone, to feel that," she said.

Let us know who is deserving of the award and why!  A winner will then be selected every month.

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