Volunteers are active ambassadors of acceptance and solidarity in Athens
One of the largest and most inspiring volunteering event of 2011 took place in the framework of Special Olympics World Summer Games ATHENS 2011 from June 20 to July 4 hosting 7,500 athletes with intellectual disabilities and 25,000 volunteers from all over the world. Special Olympics is based upon the idea of volunteerism as volunteers have been the cornerstone to develop the movement in 180 countries and regions worldwide. Special Olympics serve as an effective catalyst for a social change towards understanding and acceptance of people with intellectual disability.
From June 10 until July 10, 100 young European citizens, aged 18-30 years old offered volunteer service to Special Olympics World Summer Games ATHENS 2011. Their participation was supported by the European Commission within the framework of Action 2 of Youth in Action Programme (EVS, European Voluntary Service).
The young volunteers came mainly from member organizations of the "Alliance of European Voluntary Service Organisations" from Austria, Belgium, Estonia, France, Germany, Italy, Lithuania Spain, Turkey and United Kingdom. They contributed to the success of the event and supported the Special Olympics athletes in the sport venues as well as in the non-sport sites. On every occasion they promoted the goals of IYV+10 and the European Year of Volunteering 2011. Above all, volunteers were active ambassadors of hope, acceptance, solidarity and of the transforming effect volunteerism can have in society.