April 16 - 22 is National Volunteer Week.
Volunteers are the backbone of Special Olympics. Our volunteers provide sporting opportunities for our athletes, across PEI. This week, in celebration of National Volunteer Week, it is our great pleasure to highlight a few of our incredible volunteers, volunteers like Nicole and Chad Barkhouse.
Nicole and Chad began volunteering with Special Olympics PEI in November 2022 after moving to O'Leary, in February of 2022. Nicole is originally from Souris, while Chad is from Cape Breton. Their backgrounds, in numerous ways, made the opportunity to volunteer with Special Olympics PEI a good fit. Chad is an Occupational Therapist, and Nicole works in Recreation. Nicole is also first cousins with Special Olympics PEI's Executive Director, Charity Sheehan. Furthermore, Nicole's late Uncle was a Special Olympics PEI athlete. Nicole was always close with her Uncle, and has fond memories of watching him participate.
When a West Prince Multi Sport program was in the planning stages, Nicole and Chad were perfect candidates to lead the program. The first few months of the program have been going great. Having started with basketball, the group is now doing floor curl, with plans to do soccer next, then bocce, and potentially golf, this summer. The group sees athletes from Alberton House participate, along with local athletes from the area. Nicole and Chad are happy that word is getting out, and that the program is growing. Nicole credits the willingness of the athletes to try something new with the success of the program. Both Nicole and Chad also give credit to the parents and staff at Alberton House for their help in getting the program started, and keeping it going.
When asked what she would say to someone thinking about volunteering, Nicole comments on what a great experience volunteering has been for her and Chad. She is quick to say that while both have a background in sport, neither she nor Chad are experts, however they are happy to be there, and excited for the athletes who attend each week. Getting to know the athletes has been a highlight for the time so far for Nicole and Chad.
Become a Volunteer
If you are interested in learning more about volunteering with Special Olympics PEI, please visit our Volunteers page.