Lend a hand and watch with pride as their smiles illuminate the room.

Welcome to Special Olympics PA Carbon County, where willful support is just as important as any strikes bowled or goals scored.

The organization is ready to start bowling and floor hockey training for the 2010-2011 season, but before it can do that, it needs volunteers to help its athletes train and compete.

About 40 volunteers are sought to assist with the program, and any and all help received is very much appreciated, said Sheri Anthony, a SOPA volunteer co-coordinator.

"Spending time with our athletes is a very rewarding experience," Anthony said. "Those of you who have spent time with our athletes this past year, I'm sure would agree as well."

Anthony said bowling training at Fritz Lanes in Lehighton will begin Friday from 6-8 p.m. It will continue every Friday night at that time for 10 consecutive weeks, Anthony said.

She said SOPA is in need of 22 volunteers at the site, which is handicapped accessible.

Anthony said bowling training at Haja Lanes in Palmerton will begin Sunday from 3-5 p.m. It will continue every Sunday afternoon at that time for 10 straight weeks, Anthony said.

She said SOPA is in need of 10 volunteers at the site, which is not handicapped accessible.

At both sites, Anthony said SOPA will not conduct training for two weeks for the Christmas Holiday

Anthony said floor hockey training will be held at the Memorial Hall Skating Rink, lower level, in Jim Thorpe on Wednesday from 6-8 p.m. The second training will be held on Monday, Dec. 6; the third training on Wednesday, Dec. 15; and there will be no training Dec. 29 for holiday break, Anthony said.

She said SOPA is in need of 8 volunteers at the site.

Anthony said SOPA looks forward to working with new volunteers, and thanked them in advance for their interest and continued support.

Those who would like to volunteer may either call Anthony at (610) 826-5810, (610) 737-0469 or email her at sheria@ptd.net.

More information is available on SOPA's website, www.specialolympicscarboncounty.com.