A Very Special Olympics: An Exchange Student’s Perspective
By Filip Fatic, Exchange Student from Montenegro
CCI Greenheart local coordinator Pamela Wang’s exchange students volunteered at the Special Olympics in Hawaii. Filip expresses his thoughts on volunteering below.
The Special Olympics, while not as big as some, is certainly one of the most important events that happen on the Big Island. It’s an opportunity for all mentally challenged children to have fun and be physically active together. However, a lot of helping hands are necessary for the event to be the best it can be. Thankfully, a lot of good-natured communities were willing to contribute in making the event a success. As a member of the exchange student community and Konawaena High School’s JROTC program, I was blown away by the huge response the event received. People from all over Hawaii Island flocked to the Old Airport to participate in the preparations. The number of people who came to help out expecting nothing in return astounded me. This mentality is virtually non-existent in my country, and was a bit of a shock to witness. However, it taught me that in order for something amazing to happen, all it takes is the will for it.
The determination of these generous individuals began to show from the very first minutes of the Special Olympics. Everyone was eager to get to work, and not a single person was loitering about. If someone saw something that needed to be done, they would step up to the task without being asked. The event couldn’t have been as successful as it was without the initiative all the volunteers possessed.
Their efforts didn’t go unrewarded, either. After the work was done, everyone was free to enjoy the food that was laid out. However, that wasn’t the biggest reward. The true accomplishment was seeing the fruit of our labors – all the Special Olympic participants were having a blast! The softball game was fun and exciting, and it was all thanks to the wonderful people that helped out. This event was an amazing experience for me, and I hope to participate in many more before the year is over.