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Volunteers to touch hearts at Special Olympics events

The 2017 Greenville Special Olympics are upon us!

The Community Service Council is looking for 55 volunteers to enjoy this unique opportunity to create wonderful memories for children in need.

On Wednesday, April 19, the 2017 Spring Games will begin. This year’s Special Olympics for the Upstate area will feature hundreds of athletes competing in up to 15 different sports.

The athletes participating are children with varied mental, visual, speech and mobility limitations, and they have been training for months on these events.

Held at Furman University, the Greenville Special Olympics are essentially real, Olympic events designed specifically for the athletes.

The Olympic games will run throughout the course of the day and include basketball, softball, swimming and tennis.

Volunteers will meet at 8:40 a.m. Wednesday, April 19, at the tennis court parking lot and will return to campus no later than 2:30 p.m.

Volunteers will be paired and then assigned as helpers to a specific Special Olympics athlete. Athlete helpers will be responsible for assisting the athletes through each sporting event (no previous sport knowledge required).

Volunteers will also be provided with information concerning their athlete and any specific needs he or she might have.

Hope Henry, a member of the Community Service Council, strongly encourages students to get involved.

“It’s so neat getting to be a part of something bigger than yourself,” Henry said.

Students should wear athletic clothing for this event. Transportation and lunch will be provided for all volunteers as well as university authorized absences.

For the sign-up sheet’s online location, look for an email that was sent out this past Monday. The sign-up deadline is next Friday.

Henry, a third-time volunteer, emphasized the importance of this community outreach by explaining the impact it has on the Special Olympics athletes as well as the volunteers.

“You will walk out of it changed for sure,” Henry said.