Volunteers Help Special Olympics Succeed

HONOLULU (KHNL) - The Special Olympics program is run almost entirely by volunteers. Throughout Hawaii, more than 6,000 volunteers work together all year so that events like the summer games, can happen.

Team coaches, the set-up crew, and the security detail -- all volunteers. They're quite a diverse group. Military troops, police officers, even women from the community correctional center.

"There's thousands of volunteers. People are so so giving as far as coming out here, and giving of their own personal time," said Bryan Wauke, Assistant Chief, Honolulu Police Department.

"It sounded like a good opportunity to get involved in the community and a rewarding experience to work with the athletes here," said Curan Clonch, U.S. Air Force volunteer.

Volunteers are the heart of the program. With only 9 full time staff members, the 2,500 volunteers are a big part of making it all happen.

We asked president and CEO Nancy Botello what would happen, without the volunteers.

"It wouldn't happen, we couldn't do it without the volunteers. Special Olympics really is the largest grass roots volunteer program in the nation, probably the world and we just couldn't do it without them."

These volunteers give a lot to the special olympians, but they get back even more.

"A lot of volunteers come to me and say, I came here thinking I was going to do something good, and they walk away feeling larger. They feel empowered too, they see the good of what they do."

"It feels great to do something good for the community and thats what its all about."

No matter what you're skill, officiating, marketing, or just cheering; Special Olympics Hawaii says they always need volunteers.