Volunteer of the Month: Chris Ebling

Volunteers are the backbone of Special Olympics Pennsylvania. Without our volunteers, we’d never be able to provide competition, leadership, health and so many other opportunities to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities throughout Pennsylvania.

Congratulations to Chris Ebling, Schuylkill County’s Team Leader, for being named our Volunteer of the Month for April 2023!

We took a minute to catch up with Chris about his time with Special Olympics, his motivation, his county and so much more. Congratulations Chris!

“Me and my wife have four children, three who are biological brothers and sisters we adopted. We got active in Special Olympics about 10-15 years ago and they started swimming, started doing basketball. I was one of those parents that sat back and watched. At that time I thought, ‘maybe our local program could do so much more.’ Then I became more active and I took the helm about two years ago. …

I absolutely love it. I like running our program like any other sporting event. We get team pics, we do spirit wear, we do games, we take transportation. In our eyes our athletes are no different than college or high school athletes. I treat our athletes like they should be treated. They make it to Penn State? Yeah, we’re gonna have a pep rally, yeah we’re gonna have a parade. …

I don’t take credit for it because there are so many people around me that make it happen. It’s not just me, it’s the great group of volunteers that I have. When I took over, we offered two sports: basketball and volleyball. Now, this weekend at Kutztown it’ll be the first time in many years we’re taking five teams down in five different sports. We’re growing. We’re growing very fast. It’s just like a family. The parents all sit together and conversate, other athletes have become friends with one another. It’s amazing to see. …

I work at it more than I do at my paid job, but it’s OK. A lot of it is word of mouth. We bust our butts. We’re blessed. I think we’re really making the right connections. We do a lot of community outreach. We’ll go to street fairs, we’ll have pencils or frisbees made up. People are coming to me wanting to sign up. They want to help. …

I would say my favorite times are just watching the athletes. I always say I don’t get paid, but I get paid with smiles. I just enjoy when the athletes are excited with something. It’s not about me, it’s about my athletes and volunteers. …

Am I perfect? Absolutely not. But let’s give it a chance. Let’s grow. We’re giving Schuylkill athletes a chance.”

Chris was nominated by Joshua Cunningham, who said this about Chris:

“Chris is one of the most dedicated and selfless individuals that I have met in a very long time. Not only does he spend countless hours volunteering he does it with the utmost integrity, honesty, and care for others. His unwavering commitment to make sure everyone is taken care of to the highest standard and his impressive work ethic for volunteering and his day job at the same time is an inspiration. He is an exceptional volunteer and an even better person. His dedication, selflessness, and caring nature are truly admirable, and I feel fortunate to have the opportunity to work with him.”

Joshua Cunningham, on Chris Ebling

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Special Olympics Pennsylvania

The mission of Special Olympics Pennsylvania is to provide year-round sports training and competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy, and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills, and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes, and the community.

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