Volunteer Opportunities

Volunteers enable Special Olympics to offer sports training and competition programs to nearly one million individuals with developmental disabilities on a worldwide basis. Special Olympics would not exist today-and could not have been created - without the time, energy, dedication, and commitment of the more than 500,000 Special Olympics volunteers.  Volunteers increase integration and socialization opportunities for Special Olympics athletes. The dedication of Special Olympics volunteers provides mainstreaming experiences for athletes with developmental disabilities. Volunteers include students, senior citizens, business people, family members of athletes, amateur and professional athletes and coaches, teachers, and many others. They fill a wide variety of roles for Special Olympics programs at county, state, national and international levels, from the role of coach, to fundraiser, to timekeeper and scorers. In addition athletes themselves make excellent volunteers.

Opportunities for Special Olympics Volunteers:

Sports Training

  • Serve as certified Special Olympics coaches.
  • Help run Special Olympics sports camps.
  • Organize, coach or play on Unified Sports teams. Obtain equipment for Special Olympics athletes.
  • Use specific sports expertise to help set up sports clinics or Special Olympics training schools.
  •  Train individuals with more involved disabilities through Motor Activities Program.
  • Assist Special Olympics athletes in becoming certified coaches


  • Serve as a driver or food service worker at competitions or assist with registration, computer input, or data processing.
  • Serve as Games Director, certified official, or team manager at SO competitions
  • Organize events, such as Olympic Village
  • Conduct clinics or demonstrations in a new sport.
  • Assist Special Olympics athletes in becoming certified officials.


Include Special Olympics sports training programs in an existing adapted physical education curriculum.

  • Utilize the Special Olympics Sports Skills Program Guide in an after school sports program.
  • Start special Olympics Unified Sports trams
  • Open school facilities to Special Olympics events
  • Help state Special Olympics Partners Club
  • Organize members of school sports teams to become certified Special Olympics coaches or officials
  • Conduct Special Olympics sports competition or demonstrations during regular sports events.


  • Support the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics through corporate sponsorship or "Cops and Lobsters".
  • Make financial or in-kind donations as individuals or through a business.
  • Conduct fundraising campaigns in schools or through a civic group, church, or other organization.
  • Name Special Olympics athletes as employee payroll deduction.

As Professionals

  • Establish a Special Olympics Program in workplaces employing individuals with developmental disabilities.
  • Provide medical support including free physicals and X-rays, or provide pro-bono legal or accounting services.
  • Contribute specific skills to help Special Olympics
  • Sponsor or adopt Special Olympics teams
  • Make donations of goods, services or vital office supplies to local Special Olympics Programs

In Public Awareness

  • Write articles about Special Olympics athletes, families and coaches, or join speaker's bureaus.
  • Volunteer copywriting, photography or public relations skills to local, State or National Special Olympics Programs.
  • Take part in telephone campaigns to inform people about Special Olympics
  • Help staff the media center or serve as a press escort at a Special Olympics event
  • Train Special Olympics athletes to give presentations through the Special Olympics Sargent Shriver Global messenger program.


  • Serve on a Special Olympics Program Board of directors or county committee.
  • Help special education teachers or special Olympics coaches prepare registration and medical forms.
  • Volunteer typing or computer skills in Special Olympics Program offices.
  • Distribute materials for a Special Olympics event.
  • Help Special Olympics with mass-mailing projects.

Civic Groups

  • Provide support for Special Olympics Programs.
  • Adopt local Special Olympics teams.
  • Organize Special Olympics Unified Sports teams by combining group members with Special Olympics athletes.
  • Encourage group members to volunteer their professional services to Special Olympics Programs.
  • Encourage Special Olympics athletes to become members of the civic group

Friends of Special Olympics Athletes

  • Serve as greeters, escorts and cheerleaders at Special Olympics Games
  • Take part in recreational or social outings such as hikes or picnics with Special Olympics athletes.
  • Transport athletes to practice and competitions.
  • Work as a volunteer at a group home.