Volunteerism is a powerful tool. This is something that those who volunteer for special needs can particularly attest to.
Volunteerism is a powerful tool that can change the community for the better. To say that it can turn the tides to improve the well-being of people and the overall state of society would be an understatement. This is something that those who volunteer for special needs communities can particularly attest to. For these individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, this act of service can change their lives for the better. How exactly?
Fostering a community
Let’s talk about all the ways volunteering can positively affect those in need.
It fosters the inclusion of everyone and uplifts the health of a community
According to the UN Volunteers, a country’s gross domestic product (GDP) is an inaccurate measure of the state of a society because it does not entirely account for all individuals and communities whose activities fall outside of the working market.
While traditional economics puts a premium on value, volunteerism highlights formal and informal relationships which are still very important indicators of the health of a community. When all members of society are engaged and feel a sense of belongingness, it is easier for everyone to move forward to achieve their goals.
It gives a voice to the needs of the community
Minorities and people with intellectual and developmental disabilities need all hands on deck to give a voice to their needs. This is not to say that they cannot do it on their own, but being a volunteer for special needs calls for more attention from the general public to really listen and pay attention. Spreading awareness and educating people will always be one of the building blocks of making positive changes in any community.
It gives disability representation in the political realm
There is strength in numbers when it comes to anything. Furthermore, being a volunteer for those with intellectual and developmental disabilities solidifies the representation of the group in a national and political setting. The more people are fighting for a cause, the bigger the chance for those in power to notice and understand the weight of their needs.
It empowers and uplifts
An inspired community is an empowered one. Volunteerism gives hope to groups of people that are sometimes placed on the back burner of society and changes their worldview of what they can do as individuals. Once these people realize their capacity amidst their limitations, they also feel more encouraged to speak for themselves and contribute to their community.
Taking one step at a time
Special Olympics Pilipinas is one organization that has always lived and breathed the value of volunteerism. Secondly, as a non-profit group that caters to athletes with intellectual and developmental disabilities, we try to empower the community through the use of sports. Our regular sports clinics and events—which are run by volunteers—push members to realize their full potential as members of society. This year, we are also bringing some of our athletes to the Special Olympics 2023 in Berlin which is the biggest sporting event for sportsmen with developmental disabilities.
What we have achieved would never have been possible without the help of our volunteers. Moreover, these people are the backbone of Special Olympics Pilipinas—with their help, we were able to touch many lives and empower them to live to their full potential.
Together, let’s change the lives of people. We might not change the world for now, but at least we can work together to make society more accepting of them.