After 15 years being involved with Special Olympics Michigan I can truely say I have seen lives changed by Special Olympics. Be it the health screenings offered at state events or the experiences the athletes gain through competition, Special Olympics Michigan is making a BIG difference in the community. Special Olympics is much more than a track meet or a sporting event! We bring communities together and foster an attitude of helping each other and acceptance. Very few things can shift your focus away from yourself and towards others like volunteering for Special Olympics can. Try it once and you are hooked! Special Olympics Michigan truely is "Changing Lives!"
I have been involved with Michigan Special Olympics for over 20 years. My experience with athletes has made my life fulfilling, and constantly reminds me of what is important. Special Olympics Michigan impacts the lives of thousands of people. Our athletes learn courage, confidence, and get a sense of accomplishment. Our volunteers are enriched through helping others in a way that truly improves the lives of others. The SOMI organization is dedicated to providing outstanding programs for our athletes and rewarding experiences for volunteers. In a state that is strugging so much with quality of life, Special Olympics reminds us of what is important. It reinforces the value that we ALL have, and the difference we can make to builds a better community.
Special Olympics Michigan serves over 18,000 athletes with intellectual disabilities. The athletes have over 400 opportunities to compete within their area or region of the state. In addition there are six state level competitions held throughout the year. Each of these opportunities give the athletes a chance to gain self confidence, experience joy from their success and the success of their teamates and friends.
I have been involved in some aspect of Special Olympics since 1969. I have seen it grow from a small program of a handful of athletes to over 900 athletes. Special Olympics changes lives not just the athletes but the families and volunteers as well. It is exciting to observe families cheering for their sons and daughters just like they cheer for their other children. In many cases the tears come, because families never thought they would see the day when their son or daughter would be involved in competition like other athletes. The athletes have purpose, build skills, increase social skills and self. confidence, and have a great deal of joy in participating. My joy also comes through participation. It's a win situation for all of us.
I have volunteered for 35 years starting in high school and have been hooked ever since. I am proud to say I have been a part of the movement. I went to the first winter games as a college stundent at CMU. It is amazing to see how far Special Olympics Michigan has grown throughout the years. We use to borrow equipment now most areas have their own equipment. Now I work on staff and have a great respect for the talents of our athletes. We all have disabilities, some show and some don't. All I can say is if you haven't volunteered for Special Olympics the only one missing out it you! The athletes give back way more than we can give them in a lifetime.
26 years I had my "mistake"of saying "do you guys need some help?"...26 years later I am still gladly volunteering for this wonderful organization. The friends that my family has made are lifelong...and the experiences we have shared will be treasured forever.
I have been volunteering for Special Olympics Michigan for the past 38 years, There is good cooperation all around. SOMI has made me a stonger, more unified body, and I have grown in my knowledge. I am particularly impressed with the interaction of the athletes.
My son and I volunteered at the speical olympics for the first time this year. I can say with my whole heart that this was the best volunteer experience that I have ever had and glad that it was my son's first experience in a volunteer role. The staff was wonderful, they took time to talk to all the volunteers, thanked them for their time and made each experience personal. The event itself was great! I was surprized to see how many athletes were out for the event. my son learned a lot about the athletes and even made a couple friends. This is a great way for these kids to learn about success and failure. It is a great place for kids to play who might not have a fair opportunity to compete in other youth leagues. Wonderful program and wonderful people!! I am very proud to have been part of this event!
Special Olympics is known by the general public as a sports program for children with intellectual disabilities, but it is so much more. The athletes (both youth and adult) involved with the program experience success and failure, and are able to understand that both are a part of life, and failure today may lead to success in the future. My experience with the atheltes involved in the program is that they bring more to my life than I ever bring to theirs. The joy that everyone br8ings to each Special Olympics event is contagious and should be experienced by everyone at least once in life!