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Spotlight on Special O: So much to celebrate in our volunteers

Recognizing those who give back to community

Volunteers: Ordinary people doing extraordinary things, or, another word for heroes. 

National Volunteer Week was April 16 to 22 – that rare time in everyday life when those terrific individuals are given recognition for all their valiant efforts. 

As Haida Bolton mentioned in her article “The Value of Volunteering”, folks undertake this activity to create a sense of belonging to one’s community and understanding the struggles of others. Special Olympics BC says on their website that through this donation of time, interconnectedness is celebrated and friendship and trust are built between individuals. 

I’d like to celebrate all of our volunteers in SOSC: head coaches Tania Finnigan, Cathy Verge, Judy MacDonald, Dave Sandness, Randy Younghusband, Chuck Bertrand, Richard Hoath, Samantha Giampa and Marilyn Downey and all of their assistants who make it possible to run their sports. In addition, the executive members who take care of behind-the-scenes matters, such as fundraising and overall organization, are Randy Younghusband, Pat Stuart, Allyson Pearson, Helene Johnson, Helen Halet and Judy MacDonald. 

Blake Simpson, a new volunteer with Special O for the past six months, believes individuals with disabilities deserve the same opportunities as everyone else. He sees the benefits of his work as getting exercise and making friends. His advice for those giving volunteering a ponder? “Go for it, you won’t know until you try.” 

If you, or anyone you know, has time, energy and the ability to share with your community, don’t hesitate to reach out. The rewards are waiting! And while I’m at it, a special shout out to the tireless volunteers who help others with their taxes! 

Even athletes use volunteering as a way to find purpose outside of their sports, using the time and skills they have to give back to their community. 

My love of animals inspires me to lend a hand to those in need. The SPCA can always use someone to pitch in and the rewards are just “Pawsome”! Dishes cleaned, laundry folded, animals fed and walked, nothing beats spending some time to pet and adore the wonderful critters! 

Also, the articles about Special O that I submit to the paper are written as a volunteer. Each month I sit in my office with my notes and take the time to utilize my love of writing to keep my community informed of the goings on in SOSC. Hearing back from folks who read my column reminds me, that the message of Special Olympics is reaching those it should. 

Next month, I’ll be covering the visit to our local from Chelsea Rogers, community development coordinator for SOBC and an update on how the spring and summer sports are proceeding. As Rachel Maddow says, “Watch this space.”