Irish Volunteers Make Special Olympics Extra Special
By Sura Ghazal, 16, and Susan El Mimi, 16
Scholastic News Online Student, Jordan

June 23—Volunteers in their brightly colored Special Olympics T-shirts can be seen everywhere at the Special Olympics events at the World Games in Dublin, Ireland. While we were reporting on different events at the Royal Dublin Society, which is home to Olympic Town and Olympic Village, we decided to talk to these enthusiastic and hard working volunteers.

James Doherty volunteered last year at the Special Olympics Irish Games. He will return to his work in the field of information technology after working from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. at the 10-day Special Olympics.

"We didn't know what we were expecting," James told us when asked about the Irish reaction to hosting the Games. He said that people are really excited and that's what really makes them work that much harder.

The 35,000 volunteers who are working at the Games proved to us that everyone here is working and participating—no one is not included in these World Games. Also, everyone seems to know about Special Olympics here.

"What really makes this Olympics special is that everyone has had the chance to see the competitions and the venues," he said. His parents came into Dublin from the countryside to meet a team and so they, too, could participate.

James, from all the team members of the Global Youth Summit, James, we want you to know that we really appreciate what you and all the Irish volunteers have done to make it possible for us to successfully report on these Games and tell the story of our experience to everyone.

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Volunteer Learns the Strength of Special Olympics
By Cheung Wing Hing, 18, and Tam Wai Yip, 19
Scholastic News Online Student Reporters, Hong Kong, China

June 23—Michael Scanlan had never met anyone with a mental disability before. Then he volunteered to work security at the Special Olympics World Games in Dublin, Ireland.

"I realized that there are many different levels for athletes," he told Scholastic News Online. "Their performances in their levels are excellent and they do their best in their events. They are heroes."

The 60-year-old Dubliner is one of 35,000 volunteers working at the World Games. His son is also volunteering at the soccer field. Michael decided to volunteer because he said he believed Special Olympics is an incredible organization. He has been able to meet many athletes and their families from different nations.

Society still discriminates against the mentally disabled, Michael said.

"We should respect them [people with mental disabilities]," he said. "We should encourage them to do their best, to expand their potentials. They are just like other people and we should treat them as normal."