Donate your time and support to the Special Olympics

Missouri 's program alone has 15, 000 athletes in its Special Olympics program.

The Special Olympics is the world's largest sports organization.

It has almost four million athletes worldwide, including right here in then Tri-States. Missouri 's program alone has 15,000 athletes.

"A lot of these athletes, they stay right in the Hannibal community and for them to be able to go to other places and meet other people ... it's very inspiring to them," Hannibal's Special Olynpics coach Kathy Butler said.

Butler has been coaching with Hannibal's Special Olympics teams for four years and she's seen the positive effect sports has on her athletes.

"It gives them a sense of self worth," Butler said. "It encourages them to be healthy, exercise, be a team member. When you go to a Special Olympics event if one player falls down it's just not their team that helps them up, all the teams help them up.

Butler is currently one of three coaches volunteering with five teams. The organization needs more coaches, she said. The positions are not paid, but she says it's still worth it.

"Coaching is probably the most rewarding thing I have ever done," she said. "To be able to see their smiles and have a good time and no matter what happens they love you unconditionally 100 percent."

"I think I have the best team in the world," she said.

Last year Hannibal had three teams that went to the state competition. Two received gold medals and one received a silver, a goal they hope to achieve again this year, with your help.

If you're interested in volunteering you can contact Kathy Butler at (573) 248-1077.

If you are unable to volunteer but are still looking to support the organization you can participate in Hannibal's annual Polar Plunge, learn more here or conact Mary Lynn Richards from Hannibal Parks and Recreation at (573) 221-0154.