Youth Forward scholarship 2016 – A Moving Volunteer Experience

Name: Aliana F. Parisi
From: Woodland Park, NJ
Grade: 11
School: Passaic Valley Regional High School
Votes: 0

Aliana Parisi

Woodland Park, NJ

Last summer, I spent one day as a volunteer for my local Special Olympics
Organization. It was an experience, that changed my life and I truly
will never forget. I went along with my church confirmation youth
group to gain experiences. Prior to the Special Olympics we had
volunteered in many other locations such as homeless shelters,
children cancer hospitals, food pantries and nursing homes. Although
these volunteer events were very moving and eye opening, the Special
Olympics touched my heart and moved me in a way that is difficult to

The Special Olympics is a field day of games for children and adults with
disabilities such as ADHD, and Autism. The participants work so hard
to achieve goals, to play a game of softball or track and field. It
was amazing to see what these people have accomplished. Some being in
a wheel chair, did not allow that to stop them from participating in
their eventful day. In the morning part of the day, I was assigned
the best group of kids. So positive and spirit lifting. I watched
them as they competed against another group of kids and it was
overwhelming to see their beautiful, bright faces light up when they
received their awards for becoming victorious in their category. It
brought tears to my eyes, watching their parents filled with a great
sense of pride for their children, because they understood how hard
it was for their child to overcome such a great obstacle in their

In the afternoon portion of the day, I was assigned to a group of adults
competing in the Olympics. Most of them had such bright, and positive
spirits. Others became frustrated and aggravated, which was
understandable, it was a long hot day and everyone should have been
considered a winner.

Leaving the field after that exciting day, I reflected on what I had
experienced. The Special Olympics changed my life. It made me see how
hard life is for some people and how lucky and blessed I am. It also
showed me that no matter how difficult something may be, it can be
overcome no matter what. Seeing those kids and adults overcoming
their challenges, and achieving their goals set an example to me.
They were all true role models. The experience was beautiful to see
all those people supporting someone participating in the Special

These events were an amazing way to meet new people, other volunteers. It
was great to see the number of volunteers there on that day. Not only
those who volunteer for only events, but also volunteer coaches who
work and train over long periods of time to successfully achieve high
scores for the events. I highly suggest for anyone to go and
experience a Special Olympics event. It is a remarkable feeling
watching these games and seeing everyone give all they have. All
participants are amazing in their own way and really set an example
for everyone.

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