golf-volunteerVolunteers are the mainstay of the Special Olympics organization. They fulfill a wide variety of positions including chaperoning, coaching, event management and fundraising. Volunteers also ensure that athletes receive quality training and competition. One such dedicated volunteer is Sara Bidney, the director of instruction at the Wakonda Club in Des Moines.

Bidney was recently selected as the 2015 PGA Section Teacher of the Year and the 2015 Youth Player Development award winner. This marks the third time in six years that Bidney received the Teacher of the Year honor. She is the only professional to receive both awards in the same year and the only woman to receive both awards.

Bidney, who has been a teaching professional for nine years, has offered free golf lessons to Special Olympics Iowa athletes since 2008. When the first Special Olympics USA Games were held in Ames in 2006, Bidney along with several other golf instructors were asked to offer a clinic for athletes competing in the national tournament. Bidney left Iowa for a short time and when she returned, she decided to offer summer clinics to Iowa athletes.

When asked why she wanted to offer the lessons, Bidney said “I am really inspired by the athletes. The coaches and family members make it easy to offer the lessons. The athletes are wonderful to work with. I don’t know why I wouldn’t offer the lessons.”

At each event and each day leading up to those events, we see how much our volunteers are committed to our Special Olympics athletes. Bidney and countless other dedicated professionals can only inspire others to join the movement as we advocate for our athletes in their quest for inclusion.