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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


May 25, 2015 | North America: Michigan

I love Special Olympics!

By Sarah Ball

I would recommend everyone to volunteer at any Special Olympics wherever is closer to you. It will open up your eyes, and you will realize how much people with disabilities are the same as us.View Story I've been doing Special Olympics as a volunteer for the last 2 years and I've also done Special Friends (club for kids and adults with special needs) for almost 5 years. I absolutely love it... Even though I'm only 16, my love for kids/adults for special needs grown so much. Watching how much they love to be cheered on in different invents put a huge smile on my face. I would recommend everyone to volunteer at any Special Olympics wherever is closer to you. It will open up your eyes, and you will realize how much people with disabilities are the same as us.

About Sarah Ball:I work with kids/adults with special needs. And thats what ill be doing for the rest of my life.
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May 15, 2015 | North America: North Carolina

Special Olympics Games from the Outer Banks of North Carolina

By Douglas & Jannie Kenyon

I cover lots of events for the paper but the Special Olympics events are always, well, special. Everyone there is feeling so great and by the time I leave the event my cheeks are hurting from smiling.View Story Hello, I made this video for our local online newspaper. The organizers here are using it for a grant proposal as well. I cover lots of events for the paper but the Special Olympics events are always, well, special. Everyone there is feeling so great and by the time I leave the event my cheeks are hurting from smiling.

About Douglas & Jannie Kenyon:My wife and I make videos here on the Outer Banks. The Special Olympics was so fun, we can't wait to do it again next year. We made this video in just a few hours time. If there are any opportunities to film more events with your organization please don't hesitate to contact us, we do travel.
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May 12, 2015 | North America: New York

Deciding to Coach

By Kyndra Benoit

I work at an ARC home and started a small basketball game for a few of the houses before I found out about special olympics in our area. I got a few of the guys from my house interested and one of the women just went to watch.View Story I work at an ARC home and started a small basketball game for a few of the houses before I found out about Special Olympics in our area. I got a few of the guys from my house interested and one of the women just went to watch. She enjoyed it so much she began playing as well. I was asked to help out since I went every week and I had not played basketball in about 6 years due to medical reasons. I eventually went through the coaches trained and became certified. I absolutely love doing and the guys on my team are so inspiring. I have decided to help out in other sports because working for such a great organization is the most fun thing I can do. I look forward to it every week and am disappointed that it is only once a week. Knowing what it is like to be limited, as I am medically, it is such a great feeling being involved in this.

About Kyndra Benoit:I am a coach for basketball currently. I work at a residential house for Ulster-Greene ARC. I used to play basketball for high school and a little in college before I got sick with an abnormal case of arthritis. I have not been able to play for about 6 years. I am just now being able to play and have been with the Ulster Tigers this season.
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May 01, 2015 | Latin America: El Salvador

New Ambassador for Special Olympics El Salvador

By Daniela Recinos

Maria Elisa Parker, host of Grandiosas program became ambassador for the Special Olympics El Salvador program after signing the agreement for two years.View Story Maria Elisa Parker, host of Grandiosas program became ambassador for the Special Olympics El Salvador program after signing the agreement for two years. She is committed to assist in the development of different activities. Special Olympics has a program of Ambassadors who use their incredible talents and influence to support the united vision of the Movement through sport and following the example of athletes with intellectual disabilities. The program seeks to build the largest platform in the world for acceptance and inclusion of everybody. The agreement includes a commitment for two years to promote the expansion of opportunities for Special Olympics and for people with learning disabilities and to help change prejudices and lack of knowledge that blocks the possibility of acceptance and human dignity.

About Daniela Recinos:Voluntaria de comunicaciones.
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May 01, 2015 | Latin America: El Salvador

Special Olympics Athletes El Salvador shared with Ismael Cala

By Daniela Recinos

The athletes, especially Fatima, who will be participating in the next World Games in the city of Los Angeles were supported by Ismael Cala.View Story On Saturday March 21, prior to the official celebration of World Down Syndrome Day, two of the athletes of Special Olympics El Salvador attended the meeting with Ismael Cala, who received them with a smile and was very supportive. Fatima Emanuel Espinoza and Jose Uceda, were responsible for representing us in the meeting held at the library of the International Commercial Multi-Sports Center . The athletes, especially Fatima, who will be participating in the next World Games in the city of Los Angeles were supported by Ismael Cala . Cala expressed interest in following of upcoming games.

About Daniela Recinos:Special Olympics El Salvador Communications Volunteer 
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May 01, 2015 | Latin America: El Salvador

New York Cosmos y Olimpiadas Especiales El Salvador

By Daniela Recinos

Olimpiadas Especiales El Salvador con jugadores de New York Cosmos.

On Wednesday March 11 players of the New York Cosmos arrived in El Salvador to play in a friendly game against Club Deportivo Fas.View Story On Wednesday March 11 players of the New York Cosmos arrived in El Salvador to play in a friendly game against Club Deportivo Fas. The first practice was held in the stadium Las Delicias and Special Olympics El Salvador athletes were present to receive them. Our athletes were invited by FESA for a small get-together among athletes and players before practice. Where they also took the opportunity to give recognition to Andrés Flores. Andrés Flores is part of our ambassadors since January of this year and a New York Cosmos player since July 2014. Fatima Espinoza was commissioned to give a word of thanks to our ambassador Andrés Flores. The captains of both teams had captain's armband with the Special Olympics El Salvador logo.

About Daniela Recinos:Communications Volunteer for Special Olympics El Salvador.
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May 01, 2015 | Latin America: El Salvador

World Down Syndrome Day in El Salvador

By Daniela Recinos

Fátima Espinoza en el programa Viva la mañana El Salvador.

March is the month in which we celebrate the World Down Syndrome Day. On March 21, Special Olympics El Salvador celebrated and conducted various activities to commemorate our athletes with Down Syndrome.View Story March is the month in which we celebrate the World Down Syndrome Day. On March 21, Special Olympics El Salvador celebrated and conducted various activities to commemorate our athletes with Down syndrome. We visited the morning show “Morning Live” a few days before the celebration of World Down Syndrome Day. Viva morning program invited Special Olympics El Salvador athletes to have the opportunity to tell their achievements and experiences of their careers. From a statement by the Legislature, thanks to the initiative of Deputy David Reyes, the Legislature received a piece of correspondence on an official statement it gave on March 21 to mark World Day Down syndrome, which was approved with 60 votes. On March 19 we were invited to the Legislative Assembly to witness the official commemoration pronounced.

About Daniela Recinos: Special Olympics El Salvador Communications Volunteers
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Special Olympics Blog

Jean Vanier, a prophet of humility and simplicity, wins!

Today, the Templeton Foundation gave its most prestigious award to my hero, Jean Vanier.  For Linda and our children and me, he has also been our retreat leader, our teacher of humility, our guide. 

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Posted on 2015-03-11 by Tim

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