Every year there are thousands of volunteers who dedicate their time and resources to the athletes of Special Olympics Northern California. Selecting just a few to recognize is a very difficult task.

Each of these individuals has stood out in their areas of contribution and has been nominated by their peers for their dedication, service and selfless attitudes to support our athletes. Thank you to everyone who submitted nominations and congratulations to our 2017 honorees!

Volunteer Coach of the Year

Name: Donna Hollis

Area: Placer County

Years Involved: 11

Role: Coach, Team Manager and Head of Delegation for Summer Games

From her nominations:

“Donna is always recruiting and welcoming new athletes to the program with open arms. She is well-organized with the paperwork and also spends time on the field/court as a coach. As a team manager, Donna organizes practice facilities for nine different sports, some of which include more than 100 athletes at a given practice.”


Sports Volunteer of the Year

Name: Leigh Mosconi

Area: Tulare County

Years Involved: 38

Role: Coach and Area Director

From his nominations:

“Leigh has made Special Olympics a priority in his life. He goes above and beyond his duties as area director and has a genuine love for Special Olympics and the athletes. Leigh has been instrumental in the growth of Tulare County’s programs, including the 2016 track and field meet that had more than 700 participants. He is truly dedicated to Special Olympics, the athletes and their families, and is a man of high moral character.”


Co-Development Volunteers of the Year


Names: Andy Clark and Eric Su


Andy Clark: Senior Salesforce Technical Architect, Ebay

Eric Su: Master Solution Engineer, Salesforce

From their nominations:

“These two individuals volunteered their time to manage the setup of SONC’s new database, including migration of data from other systems and numerous staff training sessions. Their efforts saved SONC more than $100,000 in consulting expenses and have made a major impact on SONC’s understanding of donors and the ability to manage donor relationships.”


Schools Program Volunteer of the Year

Name: Michelle Bolden

Area: Solano County

Role: Special Education Teacher at Armijo High School

From her nominations:

“Michelle orchestrated a fully Unified Track & Field event in the spring with the aim to create more opportunities for high school students within the Fairfield-Suisun Unified School District. She reached out to all three district high schools, administration, the necessary teachers, Adapted Physical Education (APE) specialists, and other key players to help this event come to fruition. She also visited multiple stores in the area on weekends to directly fundraise for the event, so that Armijo could provide students with the best possible experience. Michelle has done all of this out of the goodness of her heart and out of a desire to create inclusive, equal opportunities for all students. She is excited for Armijo to host a Unified Track & Field event annually and to help provide inclusive opportunities for the students of the Fairfield-Suisan Unified School District for years to come.”


LETR Volunteer of the Year

Name: Therese Giannelli

Area: El Dorado County

Role: Community Resources Manager, California State Prison (CSP) - Sacramento

From her nominations:

“Therese has turned CSP Sacramento into one of SONC’s top fundraising agencies and distinguishes herself by taking charge in leadership roles when establishing fundraisers and working them. She is on the LETR executive committee and participates in nearly every SONC fundraising event throughout the year, from Tip-A-Cops to jumping into the cold water with her team in February at the Polar Plunge. Therese motivates those around her to not only participate, but take pride and enjoyment in the work it takes to raise money for SONC athletes. She makes everyone around her feel confident and motivated in their efforts and makes strangers feel like friends.”


Youth Volunteer of the Year

Name: Brady Martin

Area: Contra Costa County

Role: Student at Monte Vista High School

From his nominations:

“Brady distinguished himself six years ago when he started working with the Special Olympics program at Los Cerros Middle School (he is now at Monte Vista High School).  During his first year he was one of a limited number of males and sixth graders in the group, but that never stopped him.  He participated in all activities from volunteering at community bowling events to being a Polar Plunge regular, and he has helped his school host basketball competitions for so many years that now he takes a leadership role and is the coordinator’s direct help the day of the competition. Brady is a student who truly cares and has great passion for being a part of Special Olympics.  He has even expressed interest in working in nonprofits as a career.  We would all be lucky to have him!”

There are many ways for you to become a volunteer!

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