In my previous posts, we have talked about just how much the Special Olympics have grown over time and the amazing opportunity they have created for those who suffer from an intellectual disability. With that being said, the true size and for that matter, global reach of the Special Olympics didn’t really occur to me until now as I sit writing this post on the volunteers behind the Special Olympics. One of the main points made on the volunteer section on the website is that there are 220 locations worldwide where one can volunteer. Similar to how volunteers work for just about everything else, the Special Olympics may not be able to go on as planned if they didn’t have the volunteers that make everything go. As written in the title, they are the engine behind the Special Olympics.
The quote written at the top of the volunteers section really stuck with me “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.” (Special Olympics). Going off of what that quote says, the volunteers are of all ages and the level of commitment depends solely on the amount of the time the potential volunteers can give to the Special Olympics. You don’t have to do it forever, you can do it just for a morning or afternoon to see if you like it first. There is something for everyone to do based off of someone’s particular interests. Not to sound cliche, but every little bit of help will be appreciated.
One of the main reasons that the volunteers are so crucial to the Special Olympics organization is due to the fact that there are competitions going on around us everyday. While we get caught up in the hustle and bustle of our own busy lives, somewhere in the world, a Special Olympics competition is being held. For something that was a mere afterthought just about 40 years ago to have been able to reach that level is nothing short of extraordinary. I stated it earlier in this post, but there are volunteer opportunities available in 220 countries! That’s more than the amount of countries in which McDonald’s has opened a location. To me, that made me truly realize just how big the Special Olympics are. McDonald’s is the one restaurant chain that people think of having in every country. The signature Golden Arch is recognized globally. There’s no true way to know for sure, but I think it’s safe to say that Eunice Kennedy Shriver never really fathomed the thought of having the Special Olympics take part on a daily basis in over 200 countries, all starting with the engine behind the Special Olympics.
“Special Olympics: Our Volunteers.” Special Olympics. N.p., 2013. Web. 18 Oct. 2013. <http://www.specialolympics.org/Sections/Who_We_Are/Our_Volunteers.aspx>.