Welcome to Special Olympics Illinois!

You are about to become part of an exciting training and competition program and will serve an integral role in transforming the lives of people with intellectual disabilities. Special Olympics participation encompasses over 19 official sports, fundraising events, event committees, coaching opportunities, Young Athletes sports play programs and community initiatives – truly a spectrum of choices! So let’s get started!

Read more about our Volunteer Opportunities.

How to Get Involved as a Volunteer



There are two easy ways you can sign up to be a volunteer with Special Olympics Illinois!

  1. Sign up as a general volunteer (you will only be contacted when we have volunteer positions open matching your interests or location). If you have any questions please contact Aubrey Deerwester.
  2. Look through our calendar of events and sign up now for an event in your area


Volunteers are the core of the Special Olympics program and we could not exist today without the time, energy, education and commitment of our volunteers. Special Olympics Illinois relies on people of all ages to help in every aspect of the program – both at the local and state level.

It’s pretty great when we can have fun and bring something as great as this to so many people who deserve it.  This was my second year and I’ll be back.
-Jerry Arntzen

Anyone 10 years or older can be a general Special Olympics volunteer and coaches must be at least 14 years of age or older. For more information about coaching, see the Coaches section of the website.

Volunteer Information

Once you sign up as a volunteer you will be a representative of Special Olympics Illinois and as such we ask that you read and follow our Volunteer Code of Conduct.

If you have additional questions on Special Olympics Illinois and volunteering please email Aubrey Deerwester, you can also contact her by phone at 309-888-2551 or 1-800-394-0562.

Volunteer Job Descriptions

Transforming Lives

maxwell's at home

Shamrock Shuffle A Tradition for Maxwell Family

The Shamrock Shuffle, an annual 8K race in Chicago's Grant Park, has a special meaning for the Maxwell family of Barrington. Patriarch Joe Maxwell began running the race in 1986. Little ...

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Torch_Sky Photo

Heartland/Area 6 Team Puts 'Unified' in Unified Relay Across America

On Tuesday, June 9, a Unified group of 14 Central Illinois residents under the team name of Heartland/Area 6 will head to Southern Illinois to run a half-mile in the ...

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Photo by Jeremy Davidson

Athlete, Unified Partner Find Friendship Amid Sports

In 2008, Drew White, 22, of Normal joined Special Olympics competing with Special Opportunities Available in Recreation (SOAR). He competes in athletics, aquatics, basketball, tennis, volleyball and bowling. He is ...

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Athlete Awarded 'Honorary Maestro' Title at You Raise Me Up Concert

Special Olympics Illinois athlete Dan James has been competing in Far West Suburban/Area 2 for more than 20 years. But sports are not the only thing he excels in – ...

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At Capitol Hill Day, Athlete Learns He is Important

Alex Huegen, 14, of Bartelso, a Special Olympics Illinois athlete and Global Messenger, represented Illinois at Special Olympics’ 12th annual Capitol Hill Day on March 18 in Washington, D.C. Throughout ...

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Mattoon Athlete Accepting the Challenge

It is a well-known fact that all athletes, disabled or not, have to overcome hardships, setbacks, injuries or defeats in order to continue competing and growing in his or her ...

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