Have a New Year’s resolution to give back? Ever considered volunteering for a blind or visually impaired person? Hear what our MABVI volunteers have to say about volunteering:
“At first, I just got the pleasure of giving back,” one volunteer said. “I hadn’t done much volunteer work before. I was busy building a life, and a career, and having a family. Then I started helping June, helping with her correspondence, sometimes with her checkbook, filling out forms. Neighbor helping neighbor. It’s simple things, but it gives me a feeling of community and connectedness that I really value. I look forward to the time we spend together. She’s my friend.”
Watch a video of a volunteer
People volunteer for many different reasons. “I had a family member with a disability (not blindness, though), and I understand some of the difficulties blind and other ‘differently abled’ people face,” said volunteer Erica. “I wanted to volunteer with an individual – rather than, say, serve in a policy role or on a committee in an organization – because of the direct impact I could have on someone’s life. When I started volunteering, I was going through a difficult time, so I wanted to ‘get out of myself’ and become involved in a different world, one in which I could help others.”
Volunteers often form long-lasting friendships with the individuals they work with. “It has given me and my wife an opportunity to form a very good family relation with the person I work with as a volunteer. I have also benefitted by being exposed to an individual with a superior mind,” says volunteer Stan.
“I have become friends with the blind woman with whom I volunteer,” Erica says. “We have many interests in common.”
As much as volunteers help the person with answering mail or grocery shopping – every day tasks of daily life – MABVI volunteers say they benefit from the experience as well. “I have learned to see things (albeit to a limited extent) from her perspective, which is often through the sense of touch,” Erica says. “I touch my clothing, my jewelry, my face, and perceive them in a new and fuller way.”
For more information on how you can become a volunteer, visit our