Residents wanting to share more of their time in the new year are being invited to volunteer to encourage someone in Special Olympics Lloydminster.
Mentors may put in a couple evenings a week from the fall to the spring and have access to training programs.
Chair Mark Witzaney who has been a volunteer for over a decade says they have booked bowling on Mondays and the indoor walking track on Thursdays – and in particular, the joy from the efforts of their clients who use wheelchairs is inspirational. But they will welcome more volunteers.
“The volunteers interact with our athletes. They (athletes) like interaction with different people just like the rest of us. Some of us relate to them better than some others. So the more volunteers we have – it’s really good. As an organization, we want to be in the community. And from our business community we would welcome any kind of employment for our clients – even if it’s volunteer, so they can get out and contribute their talents,” says Witzaney.
The athletes recently celebrated with a supper and dance for the holidays at which volunteer Laurie Nielson was given a 10-year recognition award from Special Olympics Alberta. Witzaney noted that over the COVID-restrictions, it was very hard for the athletes as some have physical along with cognitive challenges making it difficult to understand the reason for all the protective protocols.
“Just the whole understanding of why we are locked down and why they couldn’t go with their friends. As you have seen tonight, they just love to get out and dance. They are very motivated by music. It’s one of the common things. They love their music,” says Witzaney.
He says it was tough on their clients, but the volunteers rallied over the period of restrictions to keep clients motivated, help out with physical distancing and even sanitizing the balls at the bowling lanes.
Special Olympics Lloydminster has programming booked until the end of April. Anyone wanting to volunteer may contact them through their Facebook page or online.