April 25, 2024

Gina Lowry Hayden on Volunteering, Fundraising, and Making a Difference

Gina Lowry Hayden is a fundraising advocate and frequent volunteer, who has devoted over a decade to supporting the Georgia Special Olympics. She has also led various fundraising efforts for The Landscape Guys of North Carolina, as well as for the St. Jude’s Home in Charlotte for the past three years. In the following article, Gina Lowry Hayden explores the various ways in which individuals can get involved with charities like the Special Olympics through volunteering, fundraising, and more.

The Special Olympics stands as a beacon of inclusion, empowerment, and joy for individuals with intellectual disabilities. Founded on the belief that every person deserves the opportunity to participate in sports and experience the thrill of competition, the Special Olympics offers a range of programs and events aimed at promoting physical fitness, social inclusion, and personal growth.

Gina Lowry Hayden Highlights the Many Volunteering Opportunities

Volunteering with organizations like the Special Olympics provides a rewarding opportunity to make a meaningful impact in the lives of athletes and their families. Whether you’re passionate about sports, event planning, or community outreach, there are countless ways to get involved. Here are some volunteering opportunities to consider:

Event Volunteers

Gina Lowry Hayden emphasizes the crucial role of event volunteers in the successful execution of sporting events, highlighting a variety of tasks that volunteers can undertake to contribute to the event’s smooth operation.

Assisting with organizing and running sporting events involves various responsibilities, including overseeing track and field competitions, basketball tournaments, and swimming meets. Volunteers may find themselves in roles such as event marshals, scorekeepers, or referees, where they play a pivotal role in ensuring fair play and upholding the spirit of sportsmanship throughout the competition.

Furthermore, volunteers are instrumental in the setup and breakdown of event venues, where their efforts help create a conducive environment for athletes and spectators alike. This may involve arranging equipment, setting up signage, and preparing competition areas to meet the required standards. Additionally, volunteers play a vital role in distributing awards to deserving participants, acknowledging their achievements and contributions to the event.

In addition to their on-the-ground duties, volunteers provide essential logistical support, assisting event organizers in various tasks to ensure that all aspects of the event run smoothly. This may include directing participants and spectators, managing registration processes, coordinating transportation arrangements, and addressing any unforeseen challenges that may arise during the event.

Overall, event volunteers like Gina Lowry Hayden play a significant role in the successful execution of sporting events, contributing their time, skills, and enthusiasm to create memorable experiences for athletes, spectators, and participants alike.

Coaching and Training

Coaching and training are integral components of fostering athlete development and success within sporting events, and Gina Lowry Hayden underscores the importance of volunteer involvement in these roles.

Volunteering as a coach or assistant coach offers individuals the opportunity to directly impact athletes’ growth and performance in specific sports such as soccer, basketball, or tennis. Leading training sessions and practice drills is a hands-on approach that creates tailored experiences designed to address athletes’ individual needs and areas for improvement. Through a combination of technical instruction, strategic guidance, and physical conditioning, coaching volunteers can help athletes develop their abilities and build confidence in their capabilities, setting them up for success in both training and competitive environments.

GINA LOWRY HAYDENAdministrative Support

Offer your skills in areas such as marketing, fundraising, or communications to help promote Special Olympics events and programs. Gina Lowry Hayden also suggests assisting with administrative tasks, such as data entry, scheduling, and coordinating volunteer activities. Volunteers are always needed to help with outreach efforts to recruit new athletes, volunteers, and sponsors.

Fundraising Initiatives

Fundraising plays a crucial role in supporting the mission of the Special Olympics and ensuring that athletes have access to the resources they need to succeed. There are various ways to get involved in fundraising efforts and make a difference with this organization:

  • Individual Fundraising: Participate in fundraising events, such as charity walks, runs, or bike rides, and collect donations from friends, family, and coworkers. Gina Lowry Hayden recommends hosting a fundraising event, such as a bake sale, car wash, or garage sale, and donate the proceeds to the organization. Or, create a personal fundraising page on the Special Olympics website and share it on social media to solicit donations from a wider audience.
  • Corporate Sponsorship: Reach out to local businesses and corporations to solicit sponsorships or donations for Special Olympics events and programs. Offer businesses the opportunity to sponsor specific athletes or teams, provide in-kind donations, or sponsor fundraising events.
  • Community Partnerships: Collaborate with local schools, churches, and community organizations to organize joint fundraising initiatives, such as charity auctions, talent shows, or benefit concerts. Partner with restaurants or retailers to host fundraising nights where a percentage of sales are donated to the Atlanta Special Olympics.

Making a Difference

Gina Lowry Hayden says that by volunteering, fundraising, and supporting organizations like the Special Olympics, individuals can make a meaningful difference in the lives of athletes with intellectual disabilities. Not only does involvement with these organizations promote physical fitness and social inclusion, but it also fosters a sense of community and belonging for athletes and volunteers alike. Together, we can create a world where everyone has the opportunity to participate, compete, and succeed.


Volunteering plays a vital role in empowering individuals with intellectual disabilities to reach their full potential. Gina Lowry Hayden explains that by working together, we can create a more inclusive and supportive society for all.