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 20, 2015 | North America: Canada

Tip: Working with the GMS Schedulling Module

By Ted Hope

GMS 5.6 and 5.99 (aka GMS6) are mostly interchangeable and compatible. One area of incompatibility is in the Schedulling module. GMS5.6 auto-generates the Schedule. GMS6 does not.View Story GMS 5.6 and GMS 6 are mostly interchangeable and compatible. One area of incompatibility is in the Scheduling module. GMS5.6 auto-generates the schedule. GMS 6 does not auto-schedule but allows for more flexible, user-controlled scheduling. If the scheduling is completed in one version, it does not translate to the other, using GMS Exchange. It can be saved only by performing a complete back-up.

About Ted Hope:I use GMS in AQ and AT settings with automatic data capture for AQ. I have been using GMS since 2003. I have created about 50 specialized GMS forms for different SO Programs.
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March 20, 2015 | North America: Canada

Tip: Award Labels Printing

By Ted Hope

I like to print labels to attach to awards earned in Games. GMS5.6 is better at this than any other version of GMS. The preferred label stock is 3 x 10. (Avery 5160)View Story I like to print labels to attach to awards earned in Games. GMS5.6 is better at this than any other version of GMS. The preferred label stock is 3 x 10. (Avery 5160) To print the labels after an Event is Finished-Official, use the Results Report and select 'Labels' for the report type. The benefit of using this utility is in being able to select the start printing location on a partially used label sheet.

About Ted Hope:I hike.
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March 12, 2015 | North America: New Jersey

Always on My Mind

By Brian Hall

When I was in high school, I worked for a school and residential community for the intellectually impaired. While my daughter we growing up, I always corrected her when she used the r-word in a derogatory manner. I'm glad to see a movement to never use the word.View Story When I was in high school, I worked for a school and residential community for the intellectually impaired. While my daughter we growing up, I always corrected her when she used the r-word in a derogatory manner. I'm glad to see a movement to never use the word.

About Brian Hall:
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March 11, 2015 | Why I Support Special Olympics

Best friend

By Abby Mcintosh

My friend Riyon has disabilities. He can't move or eat. He needs to be fed by a tube. He can only drink liquids and has to stay in the wheel chair. If he wants to stand up and dance at dances, you've got to get him out and hold him up cause he can't stand that well. I pledge never to say the R word ever again for those with disabilities.View Story My friend Riyon has disabilities. He can't move or eat. He needs to be fed by a tube. He can only drink liquids and has to stay in the wheel chair. If he wants to stand up and dance at dances, you've got to get him out and hold him up cause he can't stand that well. I pledge never to say the R word ever again for those with disabilities.

About Abby Mcintosh :My name is Abby Mcintosh and I'm 19 years old I love to do slidshows for fun and hang out with friends and do videos I love to play just dance or just dance to music and love to sing
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March 09, 2015 | North America: North Dakota

Angels Don't Always Have Wings

By Krysta Ronning

I worked at the Anne Carlsen Center here in Fargo ND & the people I worked with changed my life in more ways than I can count on all ten fingers & toes. To me they will never be defined by one word.View Story I worked at the Anne Carlsen Center here in Fargo ND & the people I worked with changed my life in more ways than I can count on all ten fingers and toes. The amount of strength, happiness, & love the people I worked with have in their hearts is truly incredible. The boy I worked with was the happiest, funniest, most caring person I have ever had the privilege to know. He brought so much joy into my life and there was never a moment spent together that was not filled with laughter. The girl I worked with blew me away with her strength. She was in a wheelchair and could not speak but had more personality than anyone I know. She would literally bring me to tears with how positive she looked at life & how even with all the struggles she faced none of it would ever take away her happiness. I can never say thank you enough to both of them for how much they taught me. They both became best friends that I will truly treasure the rest of my life. To me they will never be defined by one word.

About Krysta Ronning:I am a 22 year old person. Just as any other 22 year old, disability or not, they are a person, not a word. I truly hope to end this word for good.
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March 06, 2015 | Middle East North Africa: Kuwait

End the WORD

By Manal

I have an amazing cousin living in Kuwait and who has Down syndrome, and he is the absolute ideal child. He's never learned to articulate actual words but man is that boy smart!View Story I have an amazing cousin living in Kuwait and who has Down syndrome, and he is the absolute ideal child. He's never learned to articulate actual words but man is that boy smart! People underestimate him all the time, because of his amazingness. I think that it is not him that deserves the word...rather those who just don't want to see differently

About Manal:I am a college student living abroad at the moment in the USA, studying Psychology, I am also a member of the Active Minds Chapter at my school and I would love to be involved in Special Olympics!
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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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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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