Characters Unite

characters welcome

Characters Unite Award Winners

Olando Rivera


Having been bullied and beaten up throughout his childhood, martial arts became a safe outlet for Olando to let out his frustrations in a healthy way. With the camaraderie and mentoring provided by his dedicated instructors, he learned to use the skills and discipline of the martial arts to boost his self-esteem and better his mindset to eventually overcome the bullies.

Olando carried these tools with him all his life and later became a 5X World Champion Kickboxer as a result. Now, together with his wife and dedicated partner, Deena, they strive to provide a similar outlet for children and young adults with special needs, as well as do what they can to educate others.

Through Warriors for Autism, Inc., Olando and Deena promote equality, tolerance, and awareness for those with an Autism Spectrum Disorder. They help each individual learn more about themselves, encourage friendships among the students, and teach them how to show others that their needs and wants are the same as anyone else’s and that they should be treated as such.

Bullying individuals with disabilities is the worst kind of cruelty and they hope to educate others to its intolerance. With love, kindness and friendships provided through outlets designed to help understanding, any child can flourish and become the champion of their destiny.