Volunteers influence all aspects of Special Olympics Washington. Ongoing roles are all opportunities that help mold and influence the Special Olympics community. These roles range from long-term coaching and program manager positions to volunteers who help run sporting and fundraising events. There is a place for everyone to help at all types of events, times and locations.

If you are interested in coaching, please email Susan Greenwood, Volunteer Program Coordinator.

  • Certified Head Coach (ages 18+): Advanced training provided for coaching traditional Special Olympics and Unified sports. Continuing education is required.
  • Certified Assistant Coach (ages 16+): Additional training provided in the core coaching components and sport-specific essentials in traditional Special Olympics and Unified sports. Assistant Coaches assist Head Coaches with creating, organizing, and conducting a comprehensive sports training program. Knowledge and/or coaching experience in the sport you are interested in coaching is preferred but not required.
  • Team Volunteer/Chaperone (ages 14+): This is a non-coaching role and cannot provide instruction to athletes. Duties may include supporting safety protocols, maintaining equipment and/or assisting with paperwork.
  • Unified Partner: Unified partners (individuals without intellectual disabilities) train and compete as a teammate alongside Special Olympics athletes on a Unified sports teams (either on a school-based or community-based teams). There is no better way to combine a love of sports with the rewards of volunteer service than by becoming a Unified partner!
  • Administrative Volunteer (ages 18+): As teams return to in-person practices and competition, coaches often require administrative support. Quite often this includes assisting the coach with paperwork and files to ensure that each athlete is eligible to participate. Administrative volunteers should be task-oriented, detail-minded, have good organization skills, and follow instructions easily.  A Washington State background check is required.
  • Games Management Team (ages 18+): Our Games Management Team (GMT) is the magic behind every competition. This team makes up the athlete experience, helping to bring joy to athletes, their families, spectators, volunteers, and more. GMT members are responsible for overseeing daily operations of their assigned functional area within the event.  They may be responsible for training and leading day-of teams of volunteers. These positions are on-going and may require team meetings leading up to competitions. Positions may be open on the regional and/or state level.
  • Sporting Official/Referee: Sporting officials are trained volunteers who are responsible for enforcing rules and regulations at all sporting competitions. These volunteers must complete sports-specific training on Special Olympics rules; certification in the sport is welcome; sports knowledge and experience is helpful but not required.  Youth and adult volunteers welcome.  Our greatest volunteer needs are in the following sports:  flag football, basketball and athletics (track and field).
  • Area Leadership Team: Special Olympics Washington is organized into 13 areas across the state, each run by a group of volunteers called the Area Leadership Team. Each team controls all aspects of Special Olympics in that Area, from fundraising, competition, program development to coaches training. Roles include Area Director, Fundraising Coordinator, Finance Coordinator, and Family Support Volunteer.
  • Area Volunteer Coordinator: These volunteers are in charge of checking in, assigning and instructing volunteers at local competitions. Additionally, they are in charge of recruiting volunteers for events and managing volunteer relationships in the area. They will work with Special Olympics Washington staff and area leadership and must be able to commit to at least 2 regional competitions per season.
  • Young Athletes Site Coordinator: Young Athletes is a program designed for children 2-7 years old. This program focuses on developing motor, social, and cognitive skills with the help of active games, songs, and more.  Site Coordinator volunteers assist with these activities.
  • Athlete Leadership: Athlete Leadership is a crucial component of Special Olympics Washington’s community. Whether it is volunteering, taking classes on becoming a Special Olympics ambassador or becoming a coach, athletes are encouraged to develop skillsets outside of their role on their sports teams. Volunteers are needed for a variety of roles.
  • Operation Tech Connect For All (on hold) – Special Olympics Washington recognizes the need to bridge the technology gap many of our athletes experience every day. A pilot program was completed in 2021 with the hopes to continue in 2022. Volunteers with a great understanding of computers and technology are needed, and must possess the patience to teach basic computer skills one-on-one with an athlete.

**Due to COVID-19, some volunteer roles and/or opportunities are on hold.  If you have questions, please contact volunteer@sowa.org.

Volunteer Interest Form

If you are interested in any of the roles listed above, please complete the Volunteer Interest Form and tell us about yourself.  When we are actively recruiting for volunteer role, program/sport, or in that area of the state, we’ll let you know.