Volunteer because you think you can make a meaningful contribution
Volunteer because you’re interested in immersing yourself into a community
Volunteer because you think you’ll learn from the people around you and the situations you’ll encounter
Volunteer because you think you’ll have fun. Volunteering shouldn’t be painful. Enjoy the time you put in!
I volunteered with people that are blind and visually impaired for my very first time with VocalEye. My experience with VocalEye spun my life in a new direction by inspiring in me a deep passion for vision health and providing service to those with visual impairments. VocalEye helped opened my eyes to the community of the people of the visually impaired. My prior misconceptions as a sighted person were left in the dust as I met individuals that were brilliant, driven and hilariously witty. Being visually impaired was just a difference in physical body. This physical difference had some things hard to do such as watch a parade. The first event I volunteered at the first parade described by VocalEye, the Vancouver Pride Parade. On the way to the event, the patron I was with was excited. She’d never been to a parade before. Why? She said parades are no fun when you’re blind because you can’t see what’s going on. These little things in life I’ve been taking for granted from watching the colours and glittery costumes of the Pride Parade, the jaw dropping beauty of the fireworks, watching the characters of play grimace and smile are things that losing your vision can make difficult to enjoy. Enjoying the beauty of fireworks is not essential to everyday life but don’t you think that everyone deserves the chance to enjoy the little things in life that make life beautiful. This is what VocalEye does by providing audio description of live theatre, arts and cultural events to make them more accessible for individuals of all ages who are blind and partially sighted. I see people smile and laugh from the sometimes humorous audio descriptions. I heard some patrons say some very touching thanks that the service VocalEye provides gives them a chance to experience what they can’t see. The people that make VocalEye run are incredible and fun and devoted to their mission. The lessons that the others involved in VocalEye have taught me are something small can make a big difference, everyone deserves equal respect and equal opportunity, and care deeply that all your patrons are having a good time. What VocalEye does is truly special. VocalEye works towards a meaningful mission and makes a difference in peoples’ lives. It would be valuable to support VocalEye to continue making a positive impact. VocalEye’s mission is one that I wish to continue to volunteering my time to for as long as possible!
VocalEye spun my life in a new direction. The first time I volunteered with VocalEye, I would not have guessed that I would be volunteering again for the same event that I started with (the Pride Parade) after spending the morning planning the budget and planning awareness-boosting events for the club I started called Vision Health Volunteers, and after the Pride parade, watching a friend practice goalball (a sport designed for individuals that are visually impaired)? A friend whose team I played blind hockey with the day before and that I was a camp counselor with at a camp for children that are blind or visually impaired the week before. The volunteer coordinator that I met at camp was also on that blind hockey team and came for audio description at the Pride Parade. A girl I met at blind hockey also came for audio description at the parade and met me again later at goalball. A community that was once so foreign to me has become smaller. I wouldn’t have predicted that vision health would be something that would become so important to me. Supporting the effort to make arts and cultural events accessible was what I thought was a nice goal before, is an inkling of the ambition I’ve grown the more I’ve volunteered with VocalEye and got involved with other organizations such as the CNIB and Blind Beginnings. One of our big projects in the works with the Vision Health Volunteers club aims to break some misconceptions towards those with visual impairments and to spread the message that anyone has the capability to achieve and succeed regardless of visual ability. Did I know that volunteering would inspire a deep passion in me for vision health and allow me to meet such incredible and fun people? No, but I’m very grateful that it did.
So what are you waiting for? Get yourself out and involved in the world around you!