From Passion to Action: Volunteering with Special Olympics Illinois
Three Reasons Special Olympics Illinois Volunteers Come Back, Year After Year:
- To Get to Know the Community
Volunteering at local events (i.e. State Basketball and Summer Games) allows the Advocate Health Professionals to engage in their community. Long time State Basketball volunteer, Bob Henry states how volunteering has influenced him. “The smiles are the best part,” adding he likes watching people enjoy the game. “Officials, parents, participants and coaches all realize it’s about the activity, not the outcome.” After volunteering in 2015, Bob invited his wife and two children to join him the following year. They were hooked! “This organization does wonders for people without realizing it. I love being able to interact with the athletes and watch how much fun they have,” said Amanda Henry.
- To be an Agent of Change
By volunteering with Special Olympics Illinois, you can help bridge the gap between yourself and others with intellectual disabilities.” This allows you the chance to expand your horizons and celebrate all abilities. The Special Olympics Oath describes this perfectly – “Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.
- To be Challenged
Get out of your world and step into the world of others! The Moline Maroons, coached by Jerilyn Hocker and Cheri Lyman took on State Basketball in 2015 for the first time. As a new team, they knew they would be challenged at the tournament. While the outcome of their first trip to the State Basketball Tournament was not as they had hoped – they finished 4thin their division – the boys were still upbeat about the experience. Tim Millard, #5, said he enjoyed playing basketball. “We practiced hard getting things done. We tried our best (at state).” Nathaniel Littrell agreed. “It was hard, but we had fun.” It is that attitude that inspires Hocker and Lyman. “These guys just have great attitudes whether they win or not,” said Lyman. As a teacher, coach or parent, you could not ask for more from our athletes. Hocker and Lyman took on the role of coaching a new basketball team, they challenged themselves and they challenged their athletes.
Volunteers can find more information and specifics about volunteer opportunities at https://www.soill.org/volunteers/
Special Olympics Illinois is a not-for-profit organization offering year-round training and competition in 18 sports for more than 23,000 athletes with intellectual disabilities and nearly 20,000 Young Athletes ages 2-7 with and without intellectual disabilities. Special Olympics transforms the lives of people with intellectual disabilities, allowing them to realize their full potential in sports and in life. Special Olympics programs enhance physical fitness, motor skills, self-confidence, social skills and encourage family and community support. Join the conversation by following Special Olympics Illinois on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.