A True Inspiration

Jun 05, 2009

Another great guest blogger telling us about last week’s Special Olympics games. This one is by Robin Luo from Amway China, who is working with us on temporary assignment. – Jesse

At 5:30 am on May 30, it was chilly at Amway headquarters in Ada. Thirty-five employees gathered in the west parking lot, looking forward to a day of passion, achievement and life-transformation. These were the volunteers for Special Olympics Michigan 2009 State Summer Games, held in Central Michigan University.

This is the third year that Amway employees volunteer in the games through One-by-One Campaign.

My name is Robin. I came from China on a short-term assignment in the Corporate Citizenship department. As one of the volunteers for the swimming event, I was honored to witness the perseverance and optimism of the athletes, which will definitely be kept deep in my heart, for a long time.

The backstroke competition was the first to start. Before each match, athletes could get into the water to prepare themselves. Some players needed assistance from our volunteers. But most of them chose to make a splendid dive to draw the audience’s attention and applause. When it came to the announcement of their names, all athletes proudly waved to the audience. You could not see any difference between them and us, from the smiles of confidence on their face.

“Swimmers, on your mark…. Go!” Each time these words were announced, the whole swimming area would be filled with cheering, enthusiasm and encouragement. Each swimmer tried their best to stretch arms and legs in the water, to fight for the medals and to enjoy the game.

Their motions might not be the most standard and efficient ones. They might have just learned how to swim and not be able to tell the difference between the backstroke and the breaststroke yet. Sometimes they didn’t even realize that they should turn around and swim back to complete the race until our volunteers reminded them.

But their attendance and participation meant everything. We might never understand how difficult it is to complete a 50-meter swimming event with intellectual disabilities. But all these athletes finished their race brilliantly. It was more a race against themselves than against their peers. It was all about faith and courage.

When I looked back to our volunteers, they moved me in the same way. They looked after the swimmers with care both in and out of the water, trying to protect their heads from being harmed by hitting the wall and inspiring the athletes to complete the game, especially for those who fell behind. Throughout the day I was immersed in hearty words of encouragement and uninterrupted applause. Their dedication was an immeasurable motivation for the athletes.

I didn’t have the opportunity to attend other events where Amway employees volunteered (Softball Throw, Standing Long Jump, Bowling, Special Events and Wheelchair Competition). But from the eyes of our athletes, full of joy, self-confidence and satisfaction at the accomplishment of their race, I can imagine all the Amway volunteers did an excellent job.

There is an old Chinese aphorism which says, “Make a gift of a rose, and fragrance will linger in your hands.” Doesn’t it match the fact perfectly, that volunteering does as much for us as for those in need?

Swimming about to begin

The moment before the race

All smiles before the race

Hugs at the award ceremony

Cheering them on


    • Guest says:

      Thank you for sharing Robin. I am truly inspired.

    • Guest says:

      Wow, ur experience is awesome… Admiring :)

    • James Taylor says:

      What a beautiful summary of the Special Olympics experience. We at Special Olympics hope that each of our volunteers from Amway had at least one moment like this during the games. We are honored by your participation, and hope that the experience is a good one for all. Thanks to everyone that made the trip, we hope to see you next year too!
      To learn more about our programs please visit: http://www.somi.org
      James Taylor
      Special Olympics Michigan

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