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Who we are > News > Volunteer profile: Donnah Richards, Special Olympics Southland

Volunteer profile: Donnah Richards, Special Olympics Southland


Donnah Richards is one of Special Olympics Southland’s dedicated volunteers who has recently taken on the challenge of being a mentor to 2018 Global Messenger Shonagh Clarke. A previous volunteer with CCS (Crippled Children’s Society), Donnah reconnected with several Special Olympics Southland’s athletes in 2012 when she started volunteering with the Club’s ten pin bowling and swimming athletes. Donnah is also on the Southland Club Committee.

How long have you been involved with Special Olympics?

About six years, but if you count the time I was a volunteer with CCS, I got involved when I was 18 years old.  I had no job at the time and felt like I couldn’t get the benefit for doing nothing, so I helped with CCS as a volunteer every day, attending many adult camps and being involved with junior sports. I continued this until I left to get married in 1994. I have attended two National Games, two regional games and many ribbon days for both swimming and ten pin bowling.

What do you get out of your involvement?

I get enjoyment of helping athletes to reach their potential, knowing that they don’t give up and to put a laugh into their chosen sports. Life is not meant to be serious.

What prompted you to become a mentor?

My Special Olympics Southland Committee decided that I would make a great mentor, so I took up this challenge.

What are you looking forward to about being a mentor?

Getting to know the athletes better and gaining a better understanding of the Global Messenger programme, where I will help if I can.

What do you do outside of Special Olympics?

I am a trained early childhood teacher working full time.  A wife of 24 years and mother of two grown children.

I have also recently started doing some respite care for a family who has a special needs son, usually once a month over a weekend to give the family a break. I like to go aqua jogging and walking. In the past I have also been involved with St John Ambulance and Girl Guides.

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