Help us make a difference!


Volunteer for Special Olympics

Volunteers are the backbone of the Special Olympics movement. They are coaches, trainers, officials, event organizers, fundraisers and managers. They can also be unified partners -- playing alongside athletes with intellectual disabilities -- or fans cheering in the stands.

A Special Olympics official points and gives an athete some pre-race instructions

Helpful Hint. Special Olympics athlete Erin Thompson of Virginia gets pre-race instructions from volunteer race official Bob McCormick.

Rewarding for All

Our volunteers are all ages and their commitments can range from an afternoon to a lifetime. From China to the United States, Ghana to Singapore, Australia to Paraguay, Ireland to India, our volunteers are helping to bring out the champion in every Special Olympics athlete.

Special Olympics would not exist today — and could not have been created -- without the time, energy, commitment and enthusiasm of our volunteers. We owe so much to these millions of people who find the time to make the world a better place.

If you want to be a volunteer, get in touch with Special Olympics near you.

 


About Intellectual Disability

Special Olympics is a global movement of people who want to improve the lives of people with intellectual disabilities. But what are intellectual disabilities? Learn More

Spirit of Giving

Special Olympics is about transforming lives, including your own. It’s about a spirit of giving and teamwork. It's about making your commune ty and neighborhood a more welcoming and accepting place for people of all abilities.

It’s also about creating lifelong friendships and finding a new way of thinking about others. 

Our volunteers include the local coach who works with athletes many times a week. Or the people who help organize and plan our World Games every two years. Or the photographers who take the most amazing pictures of our athletes in action.

All around the world, Special Olympics training, competitions and other events are happening 365 days a year. There is always something interesting to do!

 


All Ages, All Interests

We have seen dramatic growth in teens and young adults volunteering with Special Olympics. These volunteers include students taking part in school-based groups like Special Olympics Project UNIFY and Special Olympics College. Their enthusiasm, dedication and creativity are hard to beat!

One of our college leaders began volunteering on a whim when she was in the second grade. She calls that "the best decision of my life."

Charles Scott of the Special Olympics Illinois Board of Directors has been a longtime volunteer. Over the years, he has learned that Special Olympics is a place that deeply appreciates its volunteers, their spirit and dedication. "You know you’re really helping people who are differently able than others," he says. "That’s a gratifying experience for us all.”

 

Stories About Our Volunteers


March 05, 2015 | North America: North Carolina

Proud to Stomp Out the R-Word

By Denise Bunch

My daughter, Kaitlin Bunch, is a Special Needs Middle School teacher at Chowan Middle School in Tyner, NC. She is a very strong advocate of ending the use the of r-word!!View Story My daughter, Kaitlin Bunch, is a Special Needs Middle School teacher at Chowan Middle School in Tyner, NC. She is a very strong advocate of ending the use the of r-word!! She will quickly, but respectfully, tell someone why they should not use that word. I am proud to be her mom and proud to support this cause!!

About Denise Bunch:I am the mom of a middle school Special Needs teacher and so very proud of the work she does to ensure her students and special needs individuals are treated fairly and with respect :)
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March 05, 2015 | North America: North Carolina

What A Great DAY AT HJ!

By Myron Gavin/Ann Aldrich

On March 4, 2015, HJ MacDonald Middle School-New Bern, NC held its first “Spread the Word to End the Word “ campaign. Hundreds of students committed themselves to showing “Respect for Everyone” by making a pledge to stop using the “R-Word-Retard/Retarded”.View Story On March 4, 2015, HJ MacDonald Middle School-New Bern, NC held its first “Spread the Word to End the Word “ campaign. Hundreds of students committed themselves to showing “Respect for Everyone” by making a pledge to stop using the “R-Word-Retard/Retarded”. Our EC students participated in the morning news show to “spread the word” generating classroom discussions about the use of the “R-Word” in anticipation of the event. They hosted the pledge signing in the cafeteria during lunch which included a video slide show. The response of the wonderful students at HJ was overwhelming as they eagerly signed the pledge and signed up to be peer buddies and Special Olympic coaches. You had to be there to feel the swell of caring and respect as the student body spontaneously burst into applause to honor and recognize their peers.

About Myron Gavin/Ann Aldrich:I am Special Edcation teacher at HJM Middle School and the parent of a child with special needs. I volunteer with Special Olympics invarious events including including Project Unify.
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March 05, 2015 | North America: Tennessee

Born A Miracle!

By Xavier T.Hill

On December 2nd of 1992, my dear mother gave birth to a miracle. On that day I was born, 2 pounds 4 ounces. Doctors said I wouldn't make it.View Story On December 2nd of 1992, my dear mother gave birth to a miracle. On that day I was born, 2 pounds 4 ounces. Doctors said I wouldn't make it. I was born with fluid on my brain. I had to have open heart surgery when I was just a newborn child, had a blood transfusion, had multiple things that a miracle child had endured. I was in the hospital for months at a time when people thought I wouldn't be alive. I lived to see my 1st birthday. As time passed doctors said I wouldnt walk or talk, I'd be disabled. Growing up I struggled with most things. All my mom heard when i was born was that I'd never be able to learn. Three months after I was born I went home a happy child full of sunshine and a personality that people grew to love. I am 22 years old and living my dream as a pro wrestler when all my life people said i couldn't do it. I wanna be the guy to show no matter what, u can do what ever u want on this planet when we grow as adults. We can do it no matter what size we are. Disabilites or not we can do it

About Xavier T.Hill:
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March 05, 2015 | North America: Pennsylvania

USA National Miss Pennsylvania Ambassador 2015

By Samantha Roth

I hate the r word as I have many friends with disabilities that are wonderful people. I judge the Miss 22 Quties Special Needs Pageant. It is a phenomenal pageant that I became involved with because I thought I could inspire these girls.View Story I hate the r word as I have many friends with disabilities that are wonderful people. I judge the Miss 22 Quties Special Needs Pageant. It is a phenomenal pageant that I became involved with because I thought I could inspire these girls. But I was wrong. These girls ALL inspired me. Each one performs their talent, answers and onstage question, performs in an opening number, and models. I walk away every year inspired by ALL of them. I can't wait for the next year.

About Samantha Roth:I am 15 year old and attended Lincoln Performing Arts Charter School. I dance, sing, play piano, and act.I am USA Miss Pennsylvania Ambassador 2015 and Miss Reigning America Miss Pennsylvania Jr.2015
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March 05, 2015 | North America: Washington

Dental Clinic for Children with Special Needs Participates in Spread the Word to End the Word

By Jessica De Bord

Pediatric Dental Team at Children's Village (an interdisciplinary clinic for children with special needs in Yakima, WA)

Children's Village is an interdisciplinary clinic in Yakima, WA serving children with special needs. The dental team participated in the annual day of awareness to Spread the Word to End the Word!View Story Children's Village is an interdisciplinary clinic in Yakima, WA serving children with special needs. The dental team participated in the annual day of awareness to Spread the Word to End the Word!

About Jessica De Bord:Jessica De Bord is a pediatric dentist at Children's Village, a clinic for children with special needs in Yakima, WA, a Clinical Director for Special Smiles, and has two sisters with Down syndrome.
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March 05, 2015 | North America: South Carolina

Challenged individuals are human and sense your negativity

By Julia Kessler

I worked with children with austism for over 20 years. They have taught me patience and compassion I never knew I had. We all are born with some sort of tools.e People who are challenged have a difficult time showing us what their tools may be. We have to step back and look for what each person is bringing into the world.View Story I worked with children with austism for over 20 years. They have taught me patience and compassion I never knew I had. We all are born with some sort of tools.e People who are challenged have a difficult time showing us what their tools may be. We have to step back and look for what each person is bringing into the world. There's so much these kids have in them we have to wait and be patient. One day you will say he or she has so much we never knew was in there.

About Julia Kessler:I am just a normal middle-aged women who loves children, no matter what. Loves to help special children.
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March 05, 2015 | North America: Massachusetts

My friend

By Caroline D.

I have a friend. She is sweet, and kind, and she always brightens up my day. I see her when she walks in the room and she lights up everyone around her.View Story I have a friend. She is sweet, and kind, and she always brightens up my day. I see her when she walks in the room and she lights up everyone around her. Everyone can tell she has a disability but every single person in our school, community, and environment looks past it. I could not be more proud of how far she has made it. From playing on the playground in 2nd grade to helping each other with math homework, we have always been side by side. So please never use the r-word. Unless it is respect.

About Caroline D. :I am a friend.
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Special Olympics Blog

Sport and Tech Team Up for Good

Now, thanks to Microsoft, athletes, coaches and families will have rapid access to useful information about their scores, times, personal bests, fitness and health. Special Olympics can use this capability to dramatically improve the lives of people in our Movement.read more »

Posted on 2014-10-27 by Janet

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