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


July 03, 2015 | North America: Georgia

R-word=Respect

By Alex Yang

My partner and I at the Emory Summer Games!

Prior to a series of life changing experiences, I used the r-word profusely. I thought it was a common teenager thing and made you sound "cool." Boy was I wrong.View Story Prior to a series of life changing experiences, I used the r-word profusely. I thought it was a common teenager thing and made you sound "cool." Boy was I wrong. This year I discovered a local organization called Special Pops Tennis. As an avid tennis player, I enjoyed the thought of being able to coach tennis, and decided to volunteer with Special Pops. I started going there twice a week and realized the incredible urge to have fun and succeed these people, who spanned all ages, had. Not only that, I was stunned by their incredible potential- some of the older players gave me a run for my money, and I'm a seasoned player. It was truly astonishing. At the conclusion of the training season, most of the players were off to the summer games held at Emory. I signed up to play as a doubles partner and had a blast. My talented and energetic partner was the reason we won gold medals The experience was so rewarding I will attend the 2015 Special Olympics World Games . I now have utmost respect

About Alex Yang:My name is Alex Yang. I am a junior attending Johns Creek High School. I am an avid tennis player and compete for my school team and in USTA tournaments. I also volunteer as a coach and UP.
Share
View less ▲

June 29, 2015 | North America: Michigan

What A New Turn In My Life

By Ahsha Davis

There was one conference that we hosted that changed my life completely. That conference was Special Olympics. Every time I talk about this I just get so excited because it was such an empowering experience.View Story During this summer I worked with a group called Camps and Conferences. This Camps and Conference group was just like my Youth counselor job. we hosted camps like sports and fashion but there was one conference that we hosted that changed my life completely. That conference was Special Olympics. Every time I talk about this I just get so excited because it was such an empowering experience. I met so many beautiful and wonderful athletes as well as their parents. I received a bracelet from one of the athletes who was in the swimming competition and it melted my heart. She also grabbed me a banana from the food court as well as some coffee. I went to the events and watched the athletes as they received their medals and their faces lit up with joy. Overall it was the greatest experience and I cannot wait till the winter games come because I want to be there to see all those athletes. If you ever want to find something to calm you or relax you. GO TO SPECIAL OLYMPICS

About Ahsha Davis:I am a Sophomore at Central Michigan University. I am a double major in Spanish and Broadcasting with a concentration in sports as well as a double minor in Journalism and Creative Writing. I am from Redford, MI where I attended Cass Technical High School. I am currently a Multicultural Advisor in Herrig Hall at Central and I work for the Dean of Education and Human Services. My hobbies include dancing, singing, writing, and acting. I am fluent in spanish and my dream is to work for ESPN.
Share
View less ▲

June 29, 2015 | North America: Michigan

Cheering at the Finish Line

By Kelsey McConnell

Casey Loiselle (center) cheers on athletes during the 2015 State Summer Games presented by SpartanNash

Volunteer Casey Loiselle cheered on track and field athletes as they crossed the finish line during the 2015 State Summer Games presented by SpartanNash. Casey is a Central Michigan University (CMU) student working towards her major in Special Education Cognitive Impairments.View Story Volunteer Casey Loiselle cheered on track and field athletes as they crossed the finish line during the 2015 State Summer Games presented by SpartanNash. Casey is a Central Michigan University (CMU) student working towards her major in Special Education Cognitive Impairments who has volunteered with Special Olympics Michigan for three years. Through the Special Education program at CMU, Casey found out about State Summer Games and was able to get involved. In past years she has volunteered with bocce and volleyball. This year, she worked opening ceremony and track and field. "Track and field is my favorite because I get to work the timer and see the excitement on all of the athlete's faces as they cross the finish line so it's a really awesome thing to see," explained Casey. "I would have to say my favorite part of Summer Games is just the atmosphere in general. No one can come here and not have a smile on their face, everyone is happy and are so welcoming and kind."

About Kelsey McConnell:Kelsey McConnell is a Public Relations and Marketing intern at Special Olympics Michigan.
Share
View less ▲

June 16, 2015 | Europe Eurasia: Great Britain

Truly Inspirational

By Sophie Connors

Kevin Egan, a true inspiration.

At the age of 12 I was apprehensive about volunteering at the 2009 National Special Olympic Games in Leicester. Having no past experience in working with individuals with learning difficulties I was nervous and unaware of how I would be able to engage in such an event.View Story At the age of 12 I was apprehensive about volunteering at the 2009 National Special Olympic Games in Leicester. Having no past experience in working with individuals with learning difficulties I was nervous and unaware of how I would be able to engage in such an event. Little did I know how influential such an event would be. A young man named Kevin Egan, from Wales, was my main inspiration. After meeting and getting to know him at the 2009 games we lost contact. A year or so after I received a letter, through my county coach, from Kevin, tracking me down. At the event he gave me a special pin badge that I treasure to this day. Not only that but we write too each other and have met up at tournaments. Through such an outstanding event I have realised that more opportunities need to be created and I want to be able to provide them. All the athletes, especially Kevin inspired me to begin studying at the University of Bath, working towards my passion to develop learning disability sport.

About Sophie Connors:My name is Sophie, I'm 18 years old and have a strong passion towards developing learning disability sport. I was lucky enough to be a young volunteer at the GB National Games in 2009 and 2013.
Share
View less ▲

June 08, 2015 | North America: Pennsylvania

Brian on the skills soccer team

By Connie Berni

One week we were doing this, at the square he let my hand go, balanced himself and put his foot on the ball. He looked up at me with the biggest grin!View Story Brian ( non-verbal) was just eight. In the first few weeks of soccer skills practice I would hold his hand and help him kick the soccer ball into the square. I would then help him put his foot on it. One week we were doing this, at the square he let my hand go, balanced himself and put his foot on the ball. He looked up at me with the biggest grin! He is now a lot taller than me, and I am sure he does not remember that day. I will remember that day and smile forever ! It is the small accomplishments that pave the way for the bigger ones.

About Connie Berni:At the time I was a skills soccer coach, I have also coached gymnastics, Brian was also a gymnast. I have been the Head of Delegation a couple of times for PA Special Olympics, and have plunged into the Delaware River for the Polar Plunge. Now I volunteer were and when I can.
Share
View less ▲

June 03, 2015 | Latin America: El Salvador

Young athletes of Special Olympics El Salvador

By Daniela Recinos

Special Olympics El Salvador celebrated a Young Athlete Program (YAP) which is a program of physical activity and development of skills, designed for children under 7 years, with whom they work to develop their psychomotor skills and initiation into the sport.View Story Special Olympics El Salvador celebrated a Young Athlete Program (YAP) which is a program of physical activity and development of skills, designed for children under 7 years, with whom they work to develop their psychomotor skills and initiation into the sport. The Training Program of Motor Activities (MATP) is designed for people with severe limitations by providing different motor activities that enable them to develop specific motor skills. MATP emphasizes training and participation rather than competition. By giving them the means to participate in appropriate activities tailored to their skill levels. The festival took place on April 15 in the facilities of the Stadium Magic Jorge Gonzales, where 30 boys and girls participated in YAP and 15 more in MATP.

About Daniela Recinos:Communications Volunteers
Share
View less ▲

June 03, 2015 | Latin America: El Salvador

LAIN Medical Center provides nutritional treatments for athletes of Special Olympics El Salvador

By Daniela Recinos

The LAIN Medical center has decided to be part of the action for the International Day of Health, this past April 7, reserving the month as "LAIN Month of Health".View Story The LAIN Medical center has decided to be part of the action for the International Day of Health, this past April 7, reserving the month as "LAIN Month of Health". As part of their actions, yesterday it was revealed that three of our athletes will benefit from scholarships for health. The fellowships awarded by the LAIN health center doctor of LAIN, a clinic specializing in the treatment of obesity, using deductive treatments with medical and nutritional controls. These were handed over to three prominent athletes in swimming, Flor de Maria, Jose David Rivera and Jessica Jasmine Koreas. LAIN Medical Center has a mission to transform the lives of your patients and their commitment to help them improve their health and their self-esteem; making them look and feel good. For this reason, the fellowships include motivational talks, empowerment, tips and free evaluations. In addition they all received treatments including Special Olympics athletes.

About Daniela Recinos:Communication Volunteers
Share
View less ▲

Your Donation Matters

Special Olympics transforms athletes’ lives through the joy of sport. Help us make a difference.

DONATE TODAY»

Volunteer Near You

Volunteering with Special Olympics is fun and very rewarding, for both the athlete and the volunteer!

LEARN MORE»

Follow Us

Help us reach out to one more athlete.

Donate »

Find events near you and learn about volunteer opportunities at one of our 226 worldwide locations.

FIND A LOCATION NEAR YOU »

Our Supporters

The Christmas Records TrustFunding Special Olympics work worldwide.Learn More »


Our Supporters

Annenberg FoundationSupports our goals for coaches’ excellence.Learn More »


Our Supporters

Bank of AmericaProud partner of Special Olympics.Learn More »


Our Supporters

CITGOOfficial Fuel Sponsor for the Unified Relay Across AmericaLearn More »


Our Supporters

Coca-ColaSpecial Olympics Founding Partner.Learn More »


Our Supporters

ESPNGlobal Presenting Sponsor of Unified Sports®.Learn More »


Our Supporters

EssilorOfficial global supplier of ophthalmic lenses.Learn More »


Our Supporters

AIPSGlobal Impact Partner for Special Olympics.Learn More »


Our Supporters

Lions ClubSupports access to quality eye care.Learn More »


Our Supporters

MattelSupports Special Olympics Youth Programs.Learn More »


Our Supporters

MicrosoftRevolutionizing information systems that power our games.Learn more »


Our Supporters

MTM RecognitionSupplier of awards and medals for our athletes.Learn More »


Our Supporters

Perfect Sense DigitalSpecial Olympics' leading digital partner.Learn More »


Our Supporters

Procter & GambleCelebrating over 30 years of partnership with Special Olympics.Learn More »


Our Supporters

SafewayRaises funds and awareness for people with disabilities.Learn More »


Our Supporters

SàfiloSupplies optical frames and sunglasses.Learn More »


Our Supporters

Toys“R”UsHelping children of all abilities experience #MyFirstSportsMomentLearn More »


Our Supporters

UNICEFProvides greater inclusion of children with disabilities.Learn More »


Our Supporters

Y&RPowering our global youth marketing campaign.Learn more »


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. 

read more »

Posted on 2015-03-11 by Tim

go to blog »


*

Special Olympics - Become a Fan