what may be the beginning of a unique new form of cooperation between Special
Olympics and Peace Corps of the United States, Special Olympics would like
to welcome the newest member of its National Program team in Lithuania,
Irwin Hertz, a Peace Corps volunteer in small business development.
Hertz is far from most people's
But when he retired after 38
A growing bond. Irwin Hertz, Peace Corps volunteer and director of funding for Special Olympics Lithuania, plants a tree in honor of friendship between the United States and Lithuania.
was accepted. He was sent to Poland and Chile as a small business development volunteer. Most recently, he has been placed with Special Olympics Lithuania and appointed director of funding by Algirdas Vitkauskas, Special Olympics Lithuania's president and national director.
Hertz is already making a substantial impact. Since arriving, he has set up an advisory board comprised of a group of small business development Peace Corps volunteers interested in helping out Special Olympics Lithuania. Each member has been chosen according to his or her expertise and previous experience such as marketing, public relations, volunteerism, and fund raising. Additionally, a Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) volunteer will teach English to Special Olympics Lithuania regional directors.
In October 1997, Special Olympics
Lithuania held "A Very Special Olympics Festival,"
The seeds of friendship. More than 1,500 participants and spectators attended the "A Very Special Olympics Festival" and tree planting.
Special Olympics Regional Advisor
for Central Europe, Mariusz Damentko, invited Hertz
Also in November, Hertz made a presentation at a Peace Corps All-Volunteers Conference to Peace Corps volunteers from Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia to "explain the values of a Peace Corps volunteer cooperating with the Special Olympics Committee of their respective country."
The Lithuania Peace Corps volunteers
whom Hertz recruited, led by Tara Brabazon, advisory committee public
relations manager, organized a December event called "A
It is easy to see why Special Olympics is so excited to have Hertz working with them! There are great expectations for things to come in his scheduled two years with Special Olympics Lithuania. Special Olympics hopes to be able to count on more assistance from Peace Corps in the future, in the area of business development, for other national Programs that stand to benefit greatly from the knowledge, experience, and commitment of someone like Hertz. Many thanks to Algirdas Vitkauskas for having the foresight and persistence in requesting business support from Peace Corps, and for hopefully opening the door to greater ties between Special Olympics and Peace Corps, in a mutually beneficial relationship!
If you know of any other experiences that a Special Olympics Program has had with Peace Corps volunteers or returned Peace Corps volunteers, please contact:
Steve Sullivan at Special Olympics
International by mail,