There are causes that catch our interest enough to volunteer at one time or another. We do it, then we move on. But sometimes it stays with us and we find ourselves becoming more just a one-time thing. For Vinny Picarelli, the Special Olympics Games are something he has found dear to his heart.
“I am doing this because of a few things,” Vinny said about raising money and awareness for the New Jersey Special Olympics Summer Games again this year, “I’m the type of person to give my all when I do something and I like putting smiles on others’ faces. The second reason is because of the purpose behind it. There’s those individuals who are told they’re unable to compete in sports because of their disability but who’s to say they can’t?”
Last year Vinny was introduced to the New Jersey Special Olympics when attending a presentation asking for volunteers from the Law Enforcement community. Studying Criminal Justice, Vinny took a shot at helping out. Now, he has set higher goals for himself to help even more. He is working on taking part in the Special Olympic Torch Run that has Law Enforcement Officers (LEOs) from different municipalities, including Roselle Park, running a relay throughout the state that ends, this year, at the NJ Special Olympics Summer Game opening ceremony in Trenton on June 12th.
This year, Vinny is pushing himself to do more by working on getting a group from his Criminal Justice Club at college to go down to volunteer and show a good representation. He is also continuing to get donations through social media. He, himself, has to overcome his own challenges to be out there fundraising, “It’s tough for me to ask people to donate because I’m not the type of person to just ask for money.”
Vinny finds inspiration to continue helping out in the achievements he has seen at last year’s event. He even stresses the well-known term giving emphasis to what it really does, saying, “It gives everyone an opportunity to be a part of something special. These athletes give their heart and hard work. They inspire me to give it my all.”
As for plans for the future, Vinny says he looks forward to staying involved for as long as he can. He says, “I like helping others. It’s what this is all about, really. Being there to help and see all their hard work be recognized. I continue to fundraise and have a goal this year again of $1,000. Although I didn’t reach that goal last year, I remember how thankful everyone involved was that that is just and overall great feeling.”
“I’m proud to help out an organization that gives those individuals who have disabilities a time to smile and have fun. They get to demonstrate their different skills, have fun, and learn all at the same time,” Vinny remarked at the Special Olympics, “Some people might say this is just a another organization to help those with disabilities, but to me this is a life lesson and once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I tell everyone I know, ‘Get involved! Donate! Volunteer!’ Do whatever you can but it’s something you won’t regret. I went down for one day to volunteer last year and it was one of the best experiences of my life.”
The Special Olympics are scheduled to from June 12th to the 14th this year. Anyone interested in donating or helping out can contact Vinny at (908) 721-2376 or reach out to him on his Facebook page (link).