Volunteer Roles

Volunteer Roles at Events

Event Volunteer
Volunteer 2 Cheer Fan
Medical Volunteer
Event Management Team

Event Volunteers are one or two-day volunteers who make our competition and fundraising events happen! Event Volunteers assist with set-up and clean-up, event logistics, competitions, scorekeeping, awarding, etc. Event Volunteers must be age 14+, unless accompanied by a parent, guardian, or chaperone. To learn the volunteer age requirement for an event you are interested in supporting, please ask the event’s organizer.

Sign up for our Volunteer Updates to find out about opportunities near you, or find Special Olympics near you and contact your Area leadership or Region Director. If you are interested bringing a group to volunteer at one of our State Games, contact our Director of Volunteer Services, Ellen Costlow, at volunteers@specialolympicsva.org.

Time requirement: 2-8 hours per event

Volunteer fans of all ages are encouraged to support our athletes by Volunteering 2 Cheer at state-level, regional, and local competitions all over Virginia, all year round. It's never too early to introduce youth to service-learning initiatives. Volunteer 2 Cheer is a great way to inspire today's youth to become tomorrow's volunteer leaders. Visit volunteer2cheer.com to sign up and get loud at an event near you!

Time commitment: Volunteer 2 Cheer for as long or as short as you’d like!

Medical Volunteers provide onsite coverage of Special Olympics competitions and events by providing simple first aid. Medical Volunteers can also assist with Healthy Athletes screenings and MedFest, providing pre-participation medical examinations for our athletes. Medical Volunteers can be physicians, athletic trainers, nurses, physical therapists, emergency medical technicians, medical or nursing students, and/or paramedics. To volunteer your expertise at a one of our State Games, contact Leisha Santilli, Director of Events, at lsantilli@specialolympicsva.org, or to assist locally, find Special Olympics leadership near you.

Time commitment: Partial or full-day for both event coverage and pre-participation medical examinations.

In addition to one and two-day Event Volunteers, volunteers are needed to serve on Event Management Teams and assist with competition and fundraising events throughout the state. Duties include assisting staff with set-up, coordinating logistics, publicizing the event, recruiting volunteers, etc. Contact your local Special Olympics leadership to get involved.

If you are interested in assisting with one of our State Games, contact Leisha Santilli, Director of Events, at lsantilli@specialolympicsva.org. If you'd like to be on an Event Management Team for a state-wide fundraising event like Polar Plunge, contact Katie Botha, Senior Director, Development & Communications, at kbotha@specialolympicsva.org.

Time commitment: Generally requires 5-10 hours per month for a 2-3 month period, depending on the event

"The Special Olympic athletes are the real and true athletes. They do it for the love of the sport, not for social status, not for monetary gain. They are the real role models and true heroes, not a person on TV. These Special Olympic athletes are MY role models. I have, for almost 30 years, and always will do whatever it takes for Special Olympics to help these athletes realize their dreams." - Joe Carroll, Plane Pull Event Management Team member, Law Enforcement Torch Run

Volunteer Roles with Sports

Coach
Assistant Coach
Unified Partner
Sports Official
Competition Director

Coaches are needed in all Special Olympics Virginia sports. Coaches train athletes for a minimum of 2 hours per week for an 8-10 week season. Each coach works directly with the Special Olympics athletes, preparing them for competition and teaching them the necessary skills to compete at the athletes’ highest level. Head coaches must be at least 18 years old. To get involved as a coach, find Special Olympics near you and contact your local leadership. Coaches are required to complete a Concussion Awareness training every three years.

Time commitment: 2 hours per week for an 8-10 week season

Volunteering as an assistant coach is a great way to help if you are unfamiliar with a sport, under 18, or a new volunteer. Under the guidance of a head coach, assistant coaches train athletes for a minimum of 2 hours per week for an 8-10 week season. Assistant coaches can be ages 14+. If you are interested in becoming an assistant coach, find Special Olympics near you and contact your local leadership. Assistant coaches are required to complete a Concussion Awareness training every three years.

Time commitment: 2 hours per week for an 8-10 week season

Team sports bring people together. Our Unified Sports® teams include people with and without intellectual disabilities in an effort to shatter stereotypes through positive interaction on the playing field. Join a Unified team today and play alongside the most inspiring teammates you’ll ever meet! To find out if Unified Sports are offered near you and become a Unified Partner, locate Special Olympics near you. Unified Partners must be at least 8 years old and are required to complete the Class A process.


Time commitment: 2 hours per week for an 8-10 week season

We need volunteers who are qualified to officiate sporting events to help at our competitions. All sports in Special Olympics require judges or officials for fair and equal competition. We offer training sessions for groups and individuals who are not certified officials but are interested in officiating Special Olympics events. Contact your local Special Olympics leadership to get involved, or if you are interested in assisting one of our State Games, contact Bryan Schubring, Director of Sports & Competition, at bschubring@specialolympicsva.org.

Time commitment: 2-8 hours per event plus one-hour training, if needed

Volunteers who are familiar with sports and detail oriented are needed to be Competition Directors at local and state-level events. Competition Directors assist with competition and venue logistics during events, and help uphold and enforce our policies for the safety - and fun! - of everyone involved. Contact your local Special Olympics leadership to get involved, or if you are interested in assisting one of our State Games, contact Bryan Schubring, Director of Sports & Competition, at bschubring@specialolympicsva.org.

Time commitment: 2-8 hours per event plus one-hour training, if needed

Volunteer Administrative Roles and Internships

Administrative/Office Support Volunteer
Volunteer Student Intern

Duties could include data entry, filing, copying, mailing information, and other administrative tasks. Contact the Special Olympics Virginia office near you to offer your help.

Time commitment: Generally requires 1-5 hours per week, but can be flexible.

Students looking for experience in sports management, special education, event management, public relations, marketing, or development can benefit from an unpaid internship with Special Olympics. Interns looking for additional community service hours to add to their portfolio also are welcome and can help us with challenging and interesting tasks that lead to more successful events and programs. Potential interns interested in sports and event management, please contact Leisha Santilli, Director of Events, at lsantilli@specialolympicsva.org. If your interest lies in public relations, marketing, or development, please contact Aliza Tekavec, Development and Donor Experience Manager, at atekavec@specialolympicsva.org.

Time commitment: At least 5 hours per week recommended for a rewarding experience.

Volunteer Leadership Roles

Each of our Area programs provide sports training and competition throughout the year for the athletes in their community. Leadership volunteers are needed to serve on Area councils and make Special Olympics happen from behind the scenes. Members of our Area leadership councils assist with registering athletes, planning events, arranging transportation, recruiting new volunteers and sponsors, managing websites, taking pictures, publicizing activities, answering phones and email, and much more. Whatever your expertise, we need your help! Learn more about each role by clicking below. To get involved, find Special Olympics near you and contact your Region Director.

Time commitment: Year-round or seasonal, depending on interest

Contact Us

Manager of Volunteer Services
Ellen Costlow
volunteers@specialolympicsva.org
804.612.1608

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