Skip to main content
SFU Student

 The crowd at the Special Olympics World Games Opening Ceremonies
The crowd at the 2003 Special Olympics World Games Opening Ceremonies in Croke Park, Dublin , Ireland.
Wikimedia Commons
The important thing is to enter this environment with a clear objective of observing and developing, emotionally and personally.

“Let me win, but if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt”

- The Athlete's Oath

December 3rd was International Day of Persons with Disabilities by the United Nations. This day was established as an initiative to include persons with disability in all aspects of development of the community.

Special Olympics Canada is an organization dedicated to enriching the lives of people with intellectual disabilities through positive sports. Al-Rahim Habib, an SFU student is finishing his B.Sc. in Health Sciences this semester, is currently volunteering for Special Olympics BC, a chapter of Special Olympics Canada.  His goal is to one day become a medical doctor.

This is what he had to say about his volunteering experience.

What interested you about Special Olympics?

I was interested in volunteering because I felt as though this was an area of service I had never been able to experience before.  Special Olympics offered a unique opportunity to further develop the skills I had gained in other positions and learning environments.

What is a typical day for you?

On my first day, I remember feeling apprehensive as I was entering an unfamiliar environment. However, I discovered that the people and atmosphere was very open and welcoming – the athletes were warm, jovial, and always welcoming to new team members. There was little restraint, shyness or segregation between everyone.

I  enjoyed working there because I saw a side of life that I had not seen before. The energy and warm attitude of the team would ease the most aggravating of days ; but most of all, I see people playing a sport for the fun of it, regardless of obstacles.

What is your advice for someone looking to volunteer with a major in Health Sciences?

If you are looking at your options for volunteering, I would say this is a great opportunity to learn and grow – not only career-wise, but as a person.

If you’re considering getting involved in with this organization, I suggest you enter it with an open mind. To really succeed and get the most out of your experience, you have to be prepared to let go of your ego. Also, forget any stereotypes you may have heard about mental or physical disability.

The important thing is to enter this environment with a clear objective of observing and developing, emotionally and personally. If you do that, you will be sure to gain adept interpersonal skills that’ll be invaluable for everyday communication. I’d also say this position makes you more empathetic and compassionate.

With all that in mind, I am pretty sure I’ve learnt more from the athletes than they have from me.

To learn more about how you can volunteer for Special Olympics, contact Paul Colvin at in Burnaby or click here to find a SOBC local coordinator near you.

SFU Student
visibility  182
Dec 17, 2010

You Might Like These... Volunteering, Sustainability

Iceberg Melting
What’s Your Cause? Polar Regions, Climate Change, Cultural Awareness, New Immigrant

Over the course of the past semester, SFU Volunteer Services set out to learn what causes motivate SFU students to get involved in their communities–either on campus or beyond. We collected information through the ENGAGE blog and want to highlight some now in hopes of inspiring others to think about what their cause is and how they can contribute!

Children playing hopscotch
An SFU student perspective on the Big Sisters Study Buddy program

You may have heard of them–you may even have an idea of what they do. But have you ever thought of being one? Big Sisters of BC Lower Mainland has been serving girls in one-to-one mentoring relationships since 1960, with the mission of “enhancing the confidence, self-esteem and well-being of girls through supportive friendships with caring women”. Each Big and Little Sister match gets together once a week for at least one year. 

Mubnii smiling with her hands in an open position, in front of an aquarium
Health Sciences Student Profile: Mubnii Morshed

Heath Sciences offer students one of the most comprehensive and diverse programs, focusing on everything from epidemiology, molecular biology to political science anthropology. These days, there are many volunteer opportunities associated with the Health Sciences.

You Might Like These... Volunteering

a person gift wrapping
Make a Difference This Holiday Season

There is no better time to think about helping others than during the traditional season of giving. And because many charitable organizations kick into high gear during the holidays, there is no shortage of opportunities to contribute your time and talents. So why not try volunteering this holiday season?

A group of people are looking at a book
Working in the Non-Profit Sector: Addressing the Myths

Five panelists came to speak to students about how they ended up with their current profession, life lessons they learned along the way, and addressed the many questions students had about the nature of the non-profit sector. Here are the stories the panelists have to share with you. After sharing their educational and career experiences, the panelists addressed a variety of myths about the sector. 

Brittney's Journey of Career Exploration in Australia | Part One
Brittney Merryweather is a force when it comes to International Co-op. Not one to shy away from opportunities abroad, she dives into each country she goes to with gusto and an open mind for learning. In 2007 Brittney went to the University of Wollongong.