This year I have been very involved with Special Olympics at CMU. One of the opportunities that CMU provides is the ability to attend the Winter Olympics. Every year over 100 CMU students sign up and volunteer over a weekend in January/February. We all sign up for certain jobs that we will do over that weekend. I was able to work on the ski hills where I would flag down if any of the athletes did not go through any of the gates. It was awesome to watch how awesome the athletes enjoyed being out on the hills and how talented they were in participating in the different Solemn events. I could tell they had worked very hard to be so skillful and had a passion for what they were doing.
During the nights once we returned from the outdoor events, students and athletes all joined together to have an opening ceremony. We all formed lanes for all of the athletes and their families to run through while we obnoxiously cheered them on. Watching all of their faces light up gave me a lot of joy. After all of the festivities, we were able to get together with all of the other volunteers and share our memories and hangout. On the last day of the competitions, all of the medal placing athletes were awarded their various medals. Then once we finished up and returned to the hotel, we had a closing ceremony. This time we created lanes again, but had bubbles and even more cheering and high-fives as the athletes ran through the lines showing pride with their medals around their neck. The amount of joy on each athletes face was amazing, especially the ones that continuously went back in line to run through the lanes again. There was also a motivational speaker that had once been injured in the army, and then went on to be a professional lifter despite losing a leg. To end it off, we all had a large dance party filled with smiles and pure joy. It was truly an amazing experience and I can not wait to go again next year.This was just one of my volunteer experiences this year, but it was definitely one of my favorites. It is so important to give back to the community and those that are less fortunate. If you are able to find something that you are passionate about it will be that much easier to go out and volunteer. That is exactly what I am doing with Special Olympics. I am excited to continue volunteering through Special Olympics and taking advantage of all of these amazing opportunities I am blessed with.