Dubbed our “ambassadors of fun,” St. Louis Arc’s volunteers are the backbone of many of our programs. In addition to having fun, Arc volunteers are shining examples of our core values – Respect, Collaboration, and Empowerment. As we celebrate Volunteer Appreciation Month, Kim H., a longtime volunteer, shared her story of volunteering with the Arc.
Volunteers come to the St. Louis Arc through a variety of ways. Kim learned about the St. Louis Arc over decade ago through a community presentation. “I was teaching, and the Arc presented their summer and camp programs,” said Kim. “I thought I could maybe do some work while off in the summer.” She began working for the Arc that summer and made connections at the agency. During this time, the Arc’s Leisure department was kicking off a new program, Arc United, a league for people of all abilities to play together and compete in the community. An Arc staff member knew of Kim’s love of sports and asked if she was interested in volunteering.
10 Years of Fun
Kim began her volunteer journey as a coach for Arc United softball. As more sports were added to the United program, Kim learned the game of basketball and began coaching on the court and the field. Now, 10 years later, Kim just celebrated an undefeated year. “My Thunder basketball team just went undefeated this year,” Kim shared. “We’re all very proud of that accomplishment; I believe it’s a first for the league.”
Kim shares that the United program is unique because of the mix of abilities; however, she doesn’t discuss that some players have disabilities, and some do not. “I watch people grow socially,” she explains. “You’ll see someone come to the field who is introverted. Playing with and being around people of all different abilities allows individuals to relax and come out of their shell.”
She shares that the biggest reward for her in Arc United is seeing the comradery and growth the players and teams achieve. “We do a lot before games during warm-ups,” explains Kim. “We’ll pair teammates up based on different skill levels so someone can learn from someone else. The players begin self-coaching each other and building each other up.”
For community members without a disability who join a team, Kim says they never really know what they are embarking on. “Their minds are blown away by what our participants are capable of. Being able to change the view of people with different abilities. That’s the biggest benefit of this league.”
Learn About Volunteering
From volunteers to Arc United athletes, the St. Louis Arc is always encouraging community connection and partnership. Our volunteers include recent retirees who are looking to stay active, college students exploring potential career paths, families who want to learn more about their communities, and individuals looking to share their love of sports. Learn more about becoming an Arc Volunteer.
Arc United Sports
Arc United is for people of all abilities to play together and compete in a community recreational league. A “united” team combines St. Louis Arc athletes and community athletes playing on the same team. For more information, please contact Dan Correll, Coordinator of Leisure Services, at 314-817-2227.