By Gianna Piva
Matthew Dorfman is an 18-year-old Special Olympics Southern California softball coach who takes pride in his volunteerism and involvement with the SOSC community. Among his multiple interests, baseball and helping others were driving forces in his active involvement in Special Olympics. His journey began as a volunteer coach at 14 years-old and it has impacted him and his life incredibly.
Matthew came across Special Olympics four years ago while seeking a place to pursue his school’s required service hours. It quickly evolved into something much bigger.
“I kind of just fell in love with it, and it became more of a hobby than actual service hours,” says Matthew
One of his favorite parts of being a volunteer coach is creating solid friendships with the athletes and seeing their improvement in practices and games. He lights up with excitement when talking about how much effort and care the athletes put into their sport. His favorite SOSC memory is the first practice back from the break after the pandemic. “All the athletes knew exactly who I was right away, and it was just kind of heartwarming that they remembered me,” Matthew shared. These friendships have impacted his life and who he is, and he is very grateful for the experiences Special Olympics has given him.
Matthew takes pride in is his customized cleats that he made for his school’s baseball season. Each team member had the opportunity to choose a cause of their choice and correlate the cleat design with their area of choice. Matthew proudly chose Special Olympics for his design and used this opportunity to tell others about what SOSC is all about. “Now, everybody knows what Special Olympics is at school,” he said. Matthew’s friends quickly became interested in learning about it upon seeing his cleats, and he had the opportunity to educate them about Special Olympics.
Passion is the word that Matthew uses to describe what volunteerism means to him. “I feel like everybody who volunteers is passionate about what they are doing at Special Olympics,” he shares. Matthew says that despite his young age, he was always taken seriously and treated like an adult when volunteering and he is thankful for the advice, guidance, and help he received from other supporters of Special Olympics. The community has given him a family inside of Special Olympics.
Matthew hopes to encourage those who are interested in volunteering with Special Olympics to “just go ahead, do it. I think you can’t go wrong about it, and you will have fun!”