National Volunteer Week Spotlight: Thank You, Coaches

As we celebrate National Volunteer Week, Special Olympics Southern California would like to recognize the coaches who volunteer their time to help train our more than 34,000 athletes. It is often said that they are impacted more than the athletes they coach.

In fact, here are some of the coaches, in their own words, from over the past year:

“I love the athletes, seeing their enthusiasm and their happy spirit win or lose. The athletes, hands down, are what keep me going year after year.”

– Eileen Malumaleumu (bowling coach, Carson)

“It’s hard to explain but the athletes give me energy and motivation to make it through the week. I think they teach me more than I could ever teach them!”

– Carly Matera (volleyball coach, San Luis Obispo)


“I’m here to help coach as much as I can, but these athletes have taught me so much about what is truly important in life; which is being the best you can be and just love everyone.”

– Adam Sutphin (soccer and track coach, Glendale)

“When you actually see them take what you’ve practiced for months, and then get excited about doing it… whether they made the basket or made the correct pass. But for them to do it in a game and hear everybody cheer, it just warms your heart.”

– Lauren Kawahara (basketball coach, Long Beach)

“I work with the long distance runners, and one athlete, Kate McLaughlin, was competing in her first year. She qualified to go to the Summer Games and was very excited. … We walked the track together, going over what she would do at each turn. We set goals for time splits that would make this her best time ever.

“So we looked back at what we had been working on all year. ‘…when that little voice in your head tells you that you have to stop, you can keep going. You aren’t that little voice and it doesn’t limit you…’ Well she did run, and turned in exactly the time she set as her goal. A personal record!”

– Brian Erickson (Board of Directors member and track coach, South Bay)

“It allows them to participate and learn a sport that gives them the confidence to succeed.”

– David Amavisca (floor hockey coach, Northern Santa Barbara)

“There is no other feeling like seeing the smiles and cheers of joy when our athletes accomplish something new. … Seeing our athletes hang out with each other, without thinking about their differences, showed me what inclusion really means.”

– Umberto Gatti (volleyball coach, South Bay)

“Most rewarding aspect is seeing the joy the participants have. (As a coach you’re) trying to find out what each athlete is good at and what motivates them, then helping them excel at that.”

– Jackie Hartmann (bowling coach, Santa Clarita Valley)


Leave a Reply

Translate »
%d bloggers like this: