PyeongChang 2013: Special volunteers helping special athletes embracing diversity
LAURA WALDEN / Sports Features Communications
November 12 - The Special Olympics World Winter Games which will take place in Olympic host city PyeongChang have become an opportunity for people with disabilities to reach out and help one another.
The event is an international sports competition where people with intellectual disabilities from all around the world participate. The Games will take place from January 29th 2013 until February 5th, at two of the Olympics’ cluster cities, PyeongChang, and Gangneung, in the Gangwon Province.
One volunteer in particular, 51 year old Kim Kyung Un, is also the recipient of the social volunteer award hosted by MBC in 2010. Kim has level six disability status due to brain lesions from accidents where one third of his brain function was damaged.
And this is not the first time, he volunteered at the 1986 Asian Games, the World Koreans Festival, 2002 World Cup, International Abilympics Seoul 2011, Seoul International Library and museum festival, and many other events.
His humble spirit has led him to be a role model in his own right as he sustains “I am always grateful for the society and the world”.
The winter Games organizing committee recently announced 1,800 volunteers that will work with the Games including Kim and a welcome ceremony will take place November 15th at the National Library of Korea.
The ceremony will feature Prime Minister Kim Hwang-Sik and 2013 Goodwill Ambassadors the Wonder Girls will perform before and after the ceremonies. Also performing will be the dandelion Family Choir composed of women with intellectual disabilities from the Down Welfare Center.
The Prime Minister and the Wonder Girls will be thanking and encouraging the volunteers for their service at the Games.
Overall 2700 volunteers will help out in 25 categories of work such as interpretation, Games operation, and support during the Games period.
The organizing committee received over 10,000 applications for the volunteer positions and they were able to take approximately 20%.
Making a statement
Aside from Kim who has a special story there are a number of other volunteers who are lending a helping hand. Namely Jeon Byung Joon, Professor at Chung-Ang University, will be attending with his high school age son, Lim Dong Jin, a student at Kyungpook National University holds level three intellectual disability status, and Kim Go Eun, an English teacher in Gangneung who is originally from PyeongChang but suffered a home loss due to flood damage.
There are approximately 100 volunteers helping the Games that have intellectual disabilities and 17 of them will attend the welcome ceremony. Two Park Gi Wook, and Song In Woo will read announcements as well.
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Laura Walden ()
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