Many non-profit recreation, parks and tourism organizations utilize volunteers. To attract and retain volunteers, these organizations must discover why volunteers donate time. This study used means-end theory to examine the attributes, consequences and values associated with volunteering for the San Luis Obispo (SLO) County Special Olympics as well as the volunteer demographics. Study participants included 55 volunteers who were asked demographic and open-ended questions during interviews at sporting and training events. Results showed most volunteers were parents of an athlete in the program and either had been involved in the program for less than a year and donated less than 60 hours per year, or had been involved for more than 5 years and donated hundreds of hours per year. Many individuals volunteer so their child athlete will receive the benefits of sport, including increased social contact for their child, which leads them to believe their child will have warm relations with others and have a sense of belonging which leads to having increased self-confidence, leading to the athlete enjoying their life more. Parents perceive that their child athlete receives these benefits of sport and this perception in turn generates a positive effect on the parent.
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