Making a Community Impact through Special Olympics

December 21, 2016 | Madison Preston

Being out in the community, making an impact, and offering a hand to someone who needs it—that’s the calling TD Ameritrade employees are compelled to answer.

Research shows1 employees of companies with community involvement initiatives feel increasingly more satisfied, proud and dedicated to their employers.

Each TD Ameritrade employee receives eight hours of paid volunteer time off each calendar year to volunteer for the organization of his or her choice. Employees can dedicate their time, energy and dollars to support the communities where they live and work.

One organization that has proven to be an employee favorite is Special Olympics.

Track & Field athletes compete at the starting line during the 20XX Special Olympics Summer Games in Omaha, Neb. Photo courtesy of

Track & Field athletes compete at the starting line during the 2016 Special Olympics Summer Games in Omaha, Neb. Photo courtesy of Jen Hammond

Over the last three years, employees have given more than 50,000 hours to their communities, and more than 10,500 of those hours were spent with Special Olympics. The time includes support at Summer and Fall Games across the country, as well as localized fundraising efforts like the Coaster Challenge, Polar Plunges, Plane Pulls, the Rubber Ducky Derby and the Big Red Raffle.

What keeps the volunteers coming back? It’s the stories, and the inspirational athletes behind them.

Alisha Sears, San Diego, California:

“Special Olympics has grown to be one of my favorite volunteer events. They offer so many different volunteer opportunities for all ages, so I am able to bring my children and introduce them to the importance of volunteering. It’s a wonderful experience that teaches them that disabilities don’t always hinder the human spirit.”

Brianna Clodgio, Ann Arbor, Michigan:

“Working with the athletes of Special Olympics has truly touched my heart. The overwhelming sense of emotion and pride from the day of volunteerism still resonates within me.”

Heidi Zuhlke, Denver, Colorado:

“Participating in Special Olympics events has been an amazing experience for me and my family. It is a reminder that the world is so much bigger than what we live every day. It is a testament to commitment, and that limits are not meant for everyone. For me personally, it is a reminder that my daily stress and struggles can be somewhat trivial. These athletes show both me and my children a different way to view teamwork and winning.”

Jennifer Potmesil, Omaha, Nebraska:

“One interaction with Special Olympics is all it takes to get you hooked. Knowing that I am helping to make a difference in the lives of these athletes, if only for short moments of time, gives me the greatest sense of fulfillment.”

Nick Zomper, Fort Worth, Texas:

“When I first started volunteering with Special Olympics five years ago, one of the athletes said that when they participate in these events we make them feel like they are the most important person in the room and they look forward to that all year long. Those are the experiences that keep you coming back time and again.”

Todd Luther, Omaha, Nebraska:

“Interacting with the athletes is always the highlight of my day. Nothing compares to seeing their joy, enthusiasm, pride, competitive spirit and skills. This year was particularly fulfilling for me, as it was the first time I brought my 13 year old son. I was so proud of how much he interacted with the athletes. As we were leaving I was thrilled when he asked if he could come with me again next year.

Home page image: James Alanis Photography