National Volunteer Week 2024

Thank you, Volunteers!

Happy National Volunteer Week!


Volunteers are an integral part of the Special Olympics movement. They are the individuals that continue to keep our activities running all year round. To our volunteers: we applaud you for giving countless hours, you are truly making a difference in your communities. We couldn't do it without you, so thank you so much!

Volunteering with Special Olympics is about transforming lives, including your own. It is about a spirit of giving, teamwork, and inclusion. It is about making your community a more welcoming and accepting place for all people of all abilities. Our volunteers give their all to cheer on athletes - now it's time for us to cheer for them. 


Interested in Joining Our Team?

Our athletes are ready to get back on the playing field - but they can't do it without you!

Special Olympics programs for the summer are opening up across the province, and volunteers are needed. From coaches, to officials, to team managers, there is something for everyone. Join our family of over 17,500 volunteers across Canada and help enrich the lives of individuals with an intellectual disability through sports. 

We promise you’ll get even more out of it than you give.

Become A Volunteer Become A Coach


Meet some of our amazing volunteers!

About Jackie:

Jackie recently became the Community Manager for Special Olympics Estevan. She has worked hard behind the scenes to ensure SO Estevan Community Operations are running smoothly, and that athletes have opportunities to participate in weekly programs and competitions as well.

Why do you volunteer for Special Olympics?

I volunteer for Special Olympics because I strongly believe in the benefits these programs provide for individuals who may not have the opportunity to participate in sports otherwise. They not only provide the sport perspective, but also are such a great way of building community amongst athletes/volunteers/coaches. I could be having a terrible day, but as soon as I go to a Special Olympics program, it completely lifts my spirits, and I see things in a more positive light. Getting involved in Special Olympics has greatly improved my life for the better!

What is your favourite memory or thing about volunteering with Special Olympics over the past year?

One of my favourite moments is simply watching the improvements of our athletes and how proud they are of themselves, as are their peers. We have a young lady who has really improved bowling this year in 5-pin! Every time she gets a strike, she shoots her arms up in the air, runs to her parents for high-fives, and then goes and gets high-fives from her peers. Her last strike of the year is no less exciting than her first strike of the year, and every time it makes your heart feel so full. 

About Stephen:

Stephen Lewry has been volunteering on the SO Moose Jaw Community Executive Committee for the past 2 years. His hard work behind the scenes has led to a new Golf program being offered in Moose Jaw for athletes. Stephen not only coaches the program, but applied for a grant through Sask. Sport to cover the program's expenses. 


Why do you volunteer for Special Olympics?

I have worked with individuals with disabilities for many years. Several of the athletes I support professionally are actively involved in Special Olympics Moose Jaw. I felt it was time to get involved in order to maintain or increase their opportunities within the community.

What is your favourite memory or thing about volunteering with Special Olympics over the past year?

I would have to say that coaching at the National Games was a highlight. When I volunteered to go, the teams hadn't been determined so it was exciting and a privilege to see three of the athletes I coach locally in Moose Jaw make it to Team Saskatchewan. Another highlight was developing/coaching a new sport program in Moose Jaw - Golf - which will soon be starting its second year.

About Marlene:

Marlene has been a volunteer with Special Olympics Melfort for over 15 years. She currently sits on the Community Executive Committee for SO Melfort as the Fundraising Coordinator. Marlene can always be counted on when needed and does many different volunteer roles for SO Melfort. Last year, Marlene was nominated for Volunteer of the Year.


Why do you volunteer for Special Olympics?

I first volunteered for Special Olympics Melfort when I was a teenager. When my family moved back into the area many years later, I started volunteering again so I could spend time with our oldest child when he joined the program. I really like coaching the athletes, supporting them in their training, and cheering them on at competitions. Their smiles, the high fi

ves, the lively conversations - they make the events so enjoyable! 

What is your favourite memory or thing about volunteering with Special Olympics over the past year?

My favourite Special Olympics moment in the last year had to be teaching the 2024 Team Sask. members about my son Scot's hearing impairment, his cochlear implant, and also some sign language. It was so wonderful when some of the athletes came up to him after the session to have a visit, using the sign language they had learned, or through me as his interpreter. It was a positive experience for both of us. 

About Tyler:

Tyler currently sits on the Special Olympics Prince Albert Community Executive Committee as Treasurer. Tyler helps out in many different areas as a volunteer, including coaching, officiating, transporting athletes, applying for grants, registration, financial reporting, and more. Last year, Tyler was awarded the SOS Volunteer of the Year Award. His hard work behind the scenes has made a tremendous impact in Prince Albert.


Why do you volunteer for Special Olympics?

It's fun, the number of athletes, coaches, and volunteers you get to meet through the number of years volunteering is always great. Also, it's a feeling that you are making a difference in athletes lives, where in some cases, they wouldn't have the opportunity they get when taking part in Special Olympics.

What is your favourite memory or thing about volunteering with Special Olympics over the past year?

As Mission Staff, being a part of the 2024 Team Sask. Floor Hockey Team that competed in Calgary. My long 8-hour driving days when I went to Regina with Kalim, Byron, and Jeff were always something I'll remember. They kept the drive feeling short, and always memorable. Not only that, but the coaching staff was so great to work with, a bunch of top-shelf guys. And of course, Zayne scoring the bronze medal winner in overtime. A great experience that I'll remember for a long time!

About Carl:

Carl Kruger has volunteered with Special Olympics for the past 9 years. He volunteers with several different programs in Saskatoon and this past year, joined the Community Executive Committee as Volunteer Coordinator. Carl's hard work behind the scenes has made a huge impact on Special Olympics Saskatoon athletes and volunteers since coming aboard. Last year, Carl was awarded the Special Olympics Saskatchewan Unsung Hero Award for his efforts.


Why do you volunteer for Special Olympics?

I volunteer with Special Olympics to help the athletes to be involved with sports. From my own experience being involved in sports, I know the enjoyment of participating in sports for both exercise and companionship with other athletes.

What is your favourite memory or thing about volunteering with Special Olympics over the past year?

My favourite memory is being part of Team Saskatchewan at the Special Olympics Canada Winter Games in Calgary. There are a lot of great memories from the Games and it's so hard to pick out one individual memory. The fact that almost all of the athletes from Team Sask. returned with a medal was great.

About Rhonda:

Rhonda is the Treasurer for Special Olympics Swift Current, but also helps with all aspects of the community. She is an integral part of the organization and helps with all fundraisers, administration, coaching, and attending Coaches Symposiums and the Leadership Conference.


Why do you volunteer for Special Olympics?

I volunteer as I see the joy and accomplishment it brings to the athletes. I love to see the joy on their faces and the fun they are having. It brings true pleasure to my heart being around the athletes and other coaches. 

What is your favourite memory or thing about volunteering with Special Olympics over the past year?

Coaching an athlete in Swimming that had progressed from not being able to let go of me, to then being able to support herself in the water and to feel comfortable doing it - it's a great feeling. 

About Mike:

Mike Penno is the Treasurer on the Special Olympics Regina Community Executive Committee. Mike is involved as a volunteer in many aspects with SO Regina and puts in many hours behind the scenes to help ensure the Community is running smoothly.


Why do you volunteer for Special Olympics?

Although I still coach the Bocce program and really enjoy the interaction with the athletes, I spend most of my hours volunteering behind the scenes, so to speak. There is a need in every Community for volunteers to register athletes, book facilities, make sure programs have all the necessary equipment to run smoothly, fundraise, work with the SOS office for things like grants, and to be a treasurer. All of these areas are where I choose to spend most of my hours helping out and is the reason why I volunteer today. 

What is your favourite memory or thing about volunteering with Special Olympics over the past year?

My favourite moment over the past year has to be watching the athlete in our family, Lindsay, receive a National Award. Lindsay was awarded the first-ever 2023 Athlete Community Excellence Award. This several-week process brought huge smiles to her face and made her very proud of the achievement. She will gladly recount this experience to everyone she runs into and it will stay with her for the rest of her life. We were all very grateful for the experience she received through Special Olympics. 

About Danielle:

Danielle Gignac is the Secretary for Special Olympics Battlefords Community Executive Committee. She joined the CEC in 2022 as she was looking to make an impact in the community as a volunteer. Danielle has been a great asset to the CEC; she has great organizational skills, keeps detailed meeting agendas/minutes, and has also applied for grants. This year, Danielle is also representing SO Battlefords at the SOS Leadership Conference in Saskatoon. 


Why do you volunteer for Special Olympics?

I find volunteering for Special Olympics incredibly rewarding. It allows me to make a positive impact on the lives of others by fostering inclusion, empowerment, and joy through sports. I have also been able to form a sense of community with my fellow volunteers and have been given many opportunities for personal development. 

What is your favourite memory or thing about volunteering with Special Olympics over the past year?

My favourite memory was our special December event. We played all sorts of games (with my favourites being Red Light-Green Light, and Musical Chairs) and shared lots of laughs over hot chocolate. 

Do you have someone you would like to highlight in your community? Get in touch with us today!

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