Special Olympics P.E.I. looking for volunteers to help keep up with demand for programs

Special Olympics P.E.I. is looking for 'qualified, eager and excited' volunteers to help keep up with the growing demand for its programs.

'Having qualified, eager and excited volunteers... is really key to the success of everything'

Two people take measurements during a bocci ball game at a local high school.
Volunteers will help support athletes and coaches during games and practices for one to two hours a week. (Brittany Spencer/CBC)

Special Olympics PEI is looking for more volunteers to help keep up with the growing demand for its programs.

The organization offers about 16 sports Island-wide, including competitive swimming, 5-pin bowling and basketball. 

Executive director Charity Sheehan said she usually looks for new volunteers in the fall and spring as new programs start to ramp up. This year that search is especially important because interest is on the rise. 

"As we got into registration and saw that there's lots of demand for different programs, there's also lots of demand for volunteers to support those programs," Sheehan said. 

"We're very fortunate that we're probably at pre-pandemic numbers as it relates to… our registrations and those that are interested in programs." 

She said a lot of athletes have also aged out of other programs meant for younger participants, and now want to move into more competitive programs. 

Woman in Team PEI hoodie and security pass stands in front of arena at UPEI.
Charity Sheehan, executive director of Special Olympics P.E.I., says demand for programs is up right across P.E.I. and the organization needs more volunteers to help out with programs. (Ken Linton/CBC)

Sheehan said volunteers will be supporting athletes and coaches within the various programs the organization offers, which can involve helping to ensure games run smoothly and running drills while practising. 

It would be a time commitment of about one to two hours a week, she said. 

"We're looking for individuals that just want to give back to their community. Maybe they're looking for volunteer hours, maybe they're a student," she said. 

"Having qualified, eager and excited volunteers to come to our programs is really key to the success of everything." 

Training and mentorship would be provided to any new volunteers who need it, Sheehan said. 

Special Olympics P.E.I. is looking for volunteers for all the sports it offers, specifically in the Charlottetown and Summerside areas. Anyone interested in applying can find more information on the organization's website.