Special Olympics Georgia honored Marlow Elementary School special education teacher Dawn Vorel as its volunteer of the month for December.
The non-profit organization recognized Vorel for “her efforts and tireless dedication” to revive Special Olympics in Effingham County after it had been dormant for years.
“She reached out to the Special Olympics Georgia state office and began working to rebuild the once-viable program,” said Stephen Sparks, volunteer and event manager for Special Olympics Georgia. “It took some work, being that it had been out of everyone’s mind for quite a long time.”
Vorel began volunteering with Special Olympics when she was a student at the University of Georgia. As she pursued a degree in teaching special education, Vorel became active in Special Olympics in Athens.
When she began teaching in Effingham, Vorel was surprised to learn that the county’s Special Olympics program had fizzled out years earlier. With a group of dedicated volunteers helping Vorel, Effingham County’s Special Olympics re-established accreditation in 2011 and the first “official” games were held in the spring of 2012.
“The local program now has over 200 athletes and it continues to grow each year,” Sparks said.
Effingham County’s Special Olympics Spring Games will be on March 21 at 10 a.m. at South Effingham High School.