Life-changing SOBC volunteers make every moment matter

Special Olympics BC's dedicated volunteers pour their hearts into everything they do. From organizing year-round programs and events to coaching athletes on the playing fields, SOBC volunteers are vital to the inclusivity, strength, and togetherness of our movement. They create much-needed spaces and opportunities for athletes with intellectual disabilities to find friendship, purpose, and community. 

SOBC – Nanaimo's Miranda Orth showing her support of SOBC volunteers!
SOBC – Nanaimo's Miranda Orth is celebrating National Volunteer Week 2024!

The theme of National Volunteer Week 2024 is Every Moment Matters. It highlights the importance of every volunteer and each contribution they make – at a moment when we need support more than ever.

To celebrate and recognize them, SOBC Athlete Reporters shared how coaches and volunteers have made an incredible impact on the lives of athletes with intellectual disabilities across B.C. Read on to be inspired and learn how #EveryMomentMatters!

Athlete Reporter David Johnston, SOBC – Dawson Creek

From Dawson Creek, Athlete Reporter David Johnston shared a moment when SOBC 5-pin bowling coach Jack Walsh made a difference in his life. "I would like to thank Jack for all his time, dedication, support, commitment," David said. He also went on to thank assistant coach Mel Palfi, who helped "all the athletes out there be better, be positive, and have fun."

"They made me happy, proud that they dedicated their time to help us all."

David also interviewed fellow SOBC – Dawson Creek athlete Dara Watson. Dara also thanked Jack Walsh for his keen coaching. "He's been supporting me all throughout my life," she says. She also goes onto thank assistant coach Colleen Cole, whose support has made her feel "proud, happy, excited."


Athlete Reporter Jake Miller, SOBC – Trail

From SOBC – Trail, Athlete Reporter Jake Miller interviewed floor hockey coach Chris Kuchar, who has volunteered with Special Olympics BC for eight years. 

Why does Chris like coaching? "I've made some great friends with the volunteers, with our athletes," he says. "We have a lot of fun! We smile and we laugh, and that's really important, I think, to our overall group."


Athlete Reporter Kerri Lipsack, SOBC – Oceanside

In Oceanside, Athlete Reporter Kerri Lipsack shared a memory of how her softball coaches Angie and Martin Debarros made a big impact.

"Last year, I started my first year back at softball, and Angie the coach and coach Martin made me feel so welcomed, considering I was off for a while because of COVID and things sort of got in the way," she said. "Angie and Martin made a huge difference."


Athlete Reporter Micheal Oswald, SOBC – Sunshine Coast

The following article was written by author and Athlete Reporter Micheal Oswald from SOBC – Sunshine Coast.

SOBC – Sunshine Coast coach Marilyn Adams with Micheal Oswald
SOBC – Sunshine Coast coach Marilyn Adams with Micheal Oswald

When a coach teaches an athlete, they see something in that athlete. Often it is something they themselves cannot find nor see.

Such was the case when I joined our Special Olympics swimming Orca Team on the Sunshine Coast in British Columbia. My coach at that time, Marilyn Adams, taught me how to achieve the breaststroke. I firmly believed I couldn’t get it right and acted in a fashion unbecoming to someone under tutelage. Despite repeated actions on my part, Marilyn knew deep, deep down that I could be a talented swimmer.

Each week, she welcomed me back, knowing she was chipping away both my external and internal defensiveness and feelings of insecurity.

SOBC – Sunshine Coast invited a guest coach to their swimming program
SOBC – Sunshine Coast athlete Micheal Oswald with a guest coach and coach Marilyn Adams

One day, a guest coach was demonstrating the elusive breaststroke. Whilst watching the coach launch from the wall, suddenly it clicked. I then knew everything Marilyn and her fellow coaches had been sharing with me.

If it had not been for her strong will and care and deep-seated belief in me, I would not be even half the athlete I am today. Thank you, Marilyn Adams, and bless Special Olympics for instilling me with a sense of victory over adversity.




Athlete Reporter Sheenagh Morrison, SOBC – Victoria

SOBC – Victoria athlete Sheenagh Morrison with coach Sheri Lucas
SOBC – Victoria coach Sheri Lucas with athlete Sheenagh Morrison

Athlete Reporter Sheenagh Morrison from SOBC – Victoria recognized coaches Sheri Lucas and Kailee Bowman for their dedication and passion for Special Olympics. 

Sheri Lucas (pictured left) has been volunteering for Special Olympics and the Law Enforcement Torch Run for over 20 years. She started numerous fundraising events in Victoria, including Free the Fuzz and Chuck a Puck.

"I appreciate her volunteering with athletes like myself at fundraising events, and helping organize them," Sheenagh said. 

Since her retirement from the Oak Bay Police Department, Sheri now volunteers with SOBC – Victoria swimming programs. "I love how she has so much swimming background under her belt," said Sheenagh. "She has given all of us so many tips on our swimming strokes!"

SOBC – Victoria athlete Sheenagh Morrison with coach Kailee Bowman
SOBC – Victoria is all smiles!

Kailee Bowman (pictured right) has volunteered with SOBC – Victoria for five years as a figure skating coach. "Kailee has become a great friend of mine. She has helped me with several things in the past year," Sheenagh said. "What doesn't she do for SOBC – Victoria? She is an awesome person." 





During National Volunteer Week 2024 from April 14 to 20, we come together to recognize and celebrate the importance of each and every volunteer's impact from coast to coast. Now more than ever, #EveryMomentMatters! 

Learn more about National Volunteer Week 2024

Become a volunteer! 



Athlete Reporters complete Athlete Leadership training to share stories from their communities. Training for this year has concluded, but there are more Athlete Leadership courses being planned in the new year!

Stay connected by visiting our website calendar and social media channels for upcoming opportunities!

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