Thank-You Thursday: To those who volunteer

While Thursdays are our normal time for thanking professionals in the blindness community, a recent San Francisco Lighthouse Newsletter prompted me to say “thank you” to those who volunteer their time for making organizations helping our segment in society thrive. By supporting those of us in the blindness community, you reach  a hand out to ameliorate the lives of those who are equals, whose abilities and gifts are on a par with anyone else in society .

In fact, a key component of why people can and do volunteer is to gain an awareness of our capabilities. Through volunteering at a camp for people who are physically disabled, you learn that many of us are not angry with our circumstances but eager to participate in exploring trails, archery, crafting, computer games, and other leisure activities. By being a dog walker or when donating supplies to one of our guide dog training schools, you meet people of all abilities in the blindness community from the stay-at-home mom to the burgeoning professional while joining in their life’s journey. When helping at an outreach center’s meal of the month, you not only get to set up tables or cook or clean, you get to share experiences with the blind or visually impaired attendees. When volunteering to run with a blind athlete, you get to share not only in good physical fitness yourself; you get to prepare that new acquaintance or friend for the next 5K, empower him for para-Olympic competition or help him maintain an eagerness for good health.

In short, when volunteering for various organizations and services that better our livelihood, someone will reach out, not down. And what about the benefit that you may receive? Besides the felt satisfaction of giving of your own time and care, you may make new friends and expand your world as well.

So it’s a real joy this week to thank you who give of their time, financial resources, and effort when volunteering at our events and organizations. As you help us navigate life’s contours, we help raise awareness for you of how we contribute to everyday society as we bridge the acceptance gap for the good of all.

In short, when volunteering for various organizations and services that better our livelihood, someone will reach out, not down. And what about the benefit that you may receive? Besides the felt satisfaction of giving of your own time and care, you may make new friends and expand your world as well.

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