Sent on October 24, 2013
Good morning everyone!
There was a client in Sydney, NS. She was in her early 90s and unable to leave her house. I distinctly remember the first time I read her file. My initial thought was: what could a volunteer do to help someone so frail?
I was very wrong. As I kept reading I found out that she wanted a volunteer to come to her home every Sunday and read her the newspaper. She’d read it her entire life and hadn’t been able to for quite some time. She asked, specifically, for someone with a “deep, booming” voice because sometimes she had trouble hearing.
It was one of my first weeks at CNIB and it was the first time that I clearly saw all that the Vision Mate program could accomplish. Of course, we could get this person someone to read her the newspaper. That’s exactly what Vision Mates do!
Since then, there have been dozens of other stories that have come through my office. There’s the woman who wanted someone to read to her – one last time – a box of old Christmas cards that she planned on recycling after moving into a smaller home. There’s the man who wanted someone to help him organize and label his vinyl collection. Another who wanted someone to help him clean his apartment by directing him to the messes. A fourth who wanted someone to go for walks with. And dozens more! For many of them, we’ve succeeded. We’ve made successful matches and the program continues to grow.
In Cape Breton, it’s taken some time to get the Vision Mate program started and it was only last week that we had volunteers available. Excitedly we called the woman who’d wanted someone to read her the newspaper, only to find out she’d passed the night before.
It was incredibly unfortunate and I am disappointed that in this small way we were not able to help. But it does give me the chance to recognize that we are getting closer to a program where this situation never happens again. Our program is growing and we have more applicants and more people helping others every day. So, from the bottom of my heart – whether you’re a current volunteer, someone working through the screening process, or just someone who’s expressed curiosity about what we do – THANK YOU! It’s because of you that in the future every person looking for it will have a helping hand.
Don’t forget to send in your volunteer hours for October and have a great couple of weeks!