For Alyssa Yost and Isabella Shababy, volunteering at their first Special Olympics Illinois event was purposeful, impactful, and most importantly, fun.

Both are already service leaders at their school, Elgin Academy. Alyssa is the Senior Varsity Volleyball Captain and Isabella is the Freshman Captain for Junior Varsity Volleyball. The two, along with their teammates, volunteered two weeks ago at the State Floor Hockey Championships.

a group of people posing for a photo

Each helped athletes get to their stations in the skills competitions. Isabella said she felt “so welcome and became fast friends” with each athlete and said their happy faces were unforgettable.

Alyssa was moved by how well each athlete performed. “How much patience and effort that the athletes put into the sport was very inspiring to see,” she said. Alyssa also loved the comradery of athletes competing, and said her favorite interaction was an athlete who asked how many points everyone in their skills round got because the athlete wanted to cheer them on as they competed against her.

Isabella said after volunteering, she better understands how impactful everyday interactions can be. “I understand now how being supportive and having a positive attitude can make someone’s day,” she said.  “And I will be volunteering more often!”

Alyssa agreed with Isabella in the teachable moments volunteering for Special Olympics Illinois taught her. She added, “I realize that no matter how competitive I am with others, I should also be proud of my teammates and myself no matter where I am at in the learning process of my sport.”

Interested in volunteering for a Special Olympics Illinois event? Click here for more info.