Mobile Site Logo

Partner Spotlight, DSP Connections + Adam Cardoza

Love. Respect. Commitment. Purpose. Support: These are not only the mantras practiced by Special Olympics Oregon partner DSP Connections, but they are also the personal core values for Adam Cardoza, DSP’s Relations Director.

Adam’s purpose-driven life includes going on mission trips each year outside of the U.S., supporting schools and churches. “My big thing is,” he said, “lead with love and give back. That loving piece? I want to make sure it doesn’t have boundaries or a wall.”

Adam’s origins with Special Olympics Oregon began when he met Jessica and Vanessa Carpenter, organizers of the Polar Plunge event in Salem each year. DSP Connections was approached for sponsorship of the event, and a natural connection was born from conversation.

“For me especially,” said Adam, “when you see people with all abilities be able to do anything, that’s what we want for everyone. We want SOOR athletes to see they can do everything too and to live as independently as possible.”

“We wanted to get involved in the community,” continued Adam, “and the heart (of the work Special Olympics Oregon does) and the Polar Plunge event, that matches our value proposition at DSP. We want to get the whole state involved and committed to these Special Olympics Oregon events taking place. It’s an organic relationship.”

Said Adam, “I’m unique myself in that I didn’t have a direct tie to someone with a disability, and this has really opened my heart.” He tells the story of being at a gym years ago and seeing a small group of people working out that he could tell had some disabilities. He talked with their coach who identified that the group were all Special Olympics Oregon athletes. “They were all so happy and had so much joy lifting weights and bench-pressing. It really captivated me and intrigued me to get involved.”

And when Adam gets involved in something, he plunges…. All The Way In.

He participates annually in the Salem Special Olympics Oregon Polar Plunge, diving into cold icy water to fundraise for SOOR. “I’m not going to lie,” said Adam, “I was nervous my first year. I don’t love cold water. But seeing the high schoolers get so excited to do something so fun and silly, jumping into cold water in February, seeing all communities of people come together, from the chess club to teachers to law enforcement, I love seeing all that excitement around this community event.”

He continued, “the owner of DSP Connections wants to make sure that, as a company, we are helping people in the community. We get to volunteer doing what we call ‘buddy time,’ getting to go out in the community and play basketball with the athletes, for example. We have a sponsorship with the Portland Trailblazers and used it this year to promote the Salem Polar Plunge, hitting a broader audience. What a great way to utilize that partnership.”

Adam said that while they are a “company sponsored” Polar Plunge team, everyone is genuinely excited to participate. “

“You jump in that cold water, and when you come out, you feel this refreshing feeling,” said Adam, “I find that symbolic. That’s the same feeling the athletes experience when they finish a race or win a medal. It’s a similar feeling of euphoria.”