Gail Atkinson—Special Olympics FL

Updated: Apr 25, 2020

Taking the Lead So Others Succeed—Special Olympics

With more than 27,000 volunteers in Florida's Special Olympics program, someone has to take the lead! Gail Atkinson began like so many other volunteers—helping out a day here and a day there through the service opportunities sponsored by her place of employment. That was 15 years ago. She got hooked!

Now retired, Gail has stepped up her involvement to include making sure other volunteers experience not only the joy of seeing the athletes beam with pride but also feeling that they too have done their "job" well. Gail's team of volunteers regularly includes high school students working one time to get their service credit, police officers chosen for the day to present the ribbons and medals, and retirees dipping a toe in as they try out various volunteer opportunities, looking for something that fits their interests and sparks their passion. As lead volunteer, Gail communicates, facilitates, encourages, and supports her team of volunteers so that they too have a gold-medal experience!

Special Olympics Florida states that their goal is to "help people with intellectual disabilities participate as productive and respected members of society at large, by offering them a fair opportunity to develop and demonstrate their skills and talents through sports training and competition, and by increasing the public’s awareness of their capabilities and needs." All that is done through the effective use of volunteers. Those who have a good experience return again and again, making the games possible for the special athletes—thanks to lead volunteers like Gail.

To find out more about Special Olympics in your state, visit There is a place for you and people, like Gail, to make your gift of time award-winning!

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