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Special Olympics volunteers become dream-makers

17 June 2014

Special Olympics volunteers become dream-makers

Special Olympics New Zealand is pleased to celebrate National Volunteer Week.

Nationwide Special Olympics New Zealand has more than 3000 dedicated volunteers who are changing lives on a daily basis.

Special Olympics New Zealand is a nationwide organisation that provides year-long sports training, competition, and leadership for people with intellectual disabilities. It is an organisation that relies heavily on the support of volunteers working across different areas in its 44 Clubs nationwide.

National Volunteer Week is held from 15 to 21 of June and celebrates the knowledge, skills and invaluable contributions of volunteers. The theme this year is “Naku te rourou nau te rourou ka ora ai te tangata”, which has been translated as “With your contribution and my contribution the people will live.”

“Special Olympics New Zealand has an incredible base of volunteers who are passionate about celebrating the abilities of our athletes and providing an avenue for sports training and social experiences. Without volunteers our athletes would not be able to train each week. Many would have limited social interactions with others, and would not have access to health and exercise programmes. Our athletes love training and they love our volunteers unconditionally; and we get positive feedback consistently from our volunteers who say they benefit from Special Olympics New Zealand just as much as our athletes,” says Kathy Gibson, Chief Executive Officer of Special Olympics New Zealand.

“When Special Olympics New Zealand began 30 years ago most of our volunteers had family members with an intellectual disability who participated in our sports programme. Over the years this has changed to include members of the public with little knowledge of intellectual disabilities but a passion to support their community.

“We have Clubs in most regions around New Zealand. All are fortunate to have fantastic in-kind support in the communities but there is a universal need for more volunteers. Our existing volunteers are so passionate and dedicated but many are overcommitted, particularly in smaller regions. It is common for our volunteer committee members to also coach and organise events. We applaud everyone’s support, and encourage others who are eager to try something new to get in touch with their local Club. Every bit of support goes a long way in helping our athletes realise their sporting dreams,” says Mrs Gibson.

Special Olympics New Zealand has volunteer positions in a range of areas including sports-related (Coaches and Assistant Coaches for Alpine skiing, aquatics, athletics, basketball, bocce, equestrian, football, golf, indoor bowls, powerlifting, snowboarding, table tennis, and tenpin bowling), administrative (Committee Chairperson, Secretary, Treasurer, committee members), and event-related (sports officials, event marshals, time-keepers, drivers etc.)

Special Olympics unleashes the human spirit through the transformative power and joy of sports every day around the world.


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