Getting Involved in the Special Olympics

How can we begin to teach our children how important it is to volunteer in their community?  Certainly, we can initiate this process by starting early and as their primary adult role models, begin by setting a good example for our children.  If your family is involved in volunteering in the community, then it will become second nature to your children.  You know that old saying, “lead by example”, well that is very true when it comes to young children.  If they see that you put a lot of value on assisting others, then they will too.  How can we get involved with the Special Olympic with our children. Ms. Kelli discussed this topic on The Rhode Show. Watch it here!

Why and what is the Special Olympics all about...

  • What – Mission (adapted from the Special Olympics official website) ” to provide year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults wih intellectual disabilities. 

What are some ideas for volunteering…

  • Jump in feet first – It can be as simple as having your children rake the leaves, take in/out the garbage, or shovel snow for someone in the neighborhood who may fine these tasks difficult. The younger ones can draw a picture/send a card for a sick person.  And if they just do these small chores/gestures without being asked; the child will feel good about themselves and want to continue.
  • Food Drives – There are so many ways for kids to get involved…with the holidays coming up the little ones can donate can goods and non-perishable items to help families have a wonderful holiday.  Let them pick the items that they want to donate so they feel like they are helping.  Let them choose some items that make their Thanksgiving or x-mas meal special and they can share that with others.
  • Join a cause – Get your family involved in cause that is close to your heart.  If someone in your family is a breast cancer survivor, then get involved in a walk, or donate money that they earned to the cause or start your own fundraising campaign at your child’s school or early learning center.

(Breast Cancer Walk @ TCW – Pink Out Day)

  • Make a Donation – You can have your children donate their gently used clothes and toys to charitable organizations such as toys for tots, Salvation Army and so forth…  Further, you can get them involved in all sorts of drives…coat drives, toy drives, peanut butter drive and food drives.  Let your children know that they can start these drives at their schools and early learning centers.  Tell them or their parents to talk to their teachers about getting one started at your center or school.  Let your children know that they can make things happen and can really have a good time doing it.  It’s fun to see that something that you envisioned has come to life and really can be successful.
  • Partner with your local politicians, police, fire and school systems – Start an annual event in your town.  Make sure that it benefits all residents and captures celebration from all aspects of your community.  A great example during the holidays and a breakfast with Santa with all the trimmings…gifts, family fun and resources for families in need.

Please let your children know that the ideas are limitless for getting involved in your community and it doesn’t have to be a big endeavor.  It can be as small as taking the time out of your day to have a conversation with a neighbor or running a car wash to raise money for a friend or community person.  Just get involved…the benefits are boundless!!!

This article was written by Kelli DiDomenico, Vice President of Family Engagement and Community Relations at The Children’s Workshop in Cumberland, Rhode Island.