International Volunteers Day 2022

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International volunteers day 2022

Today (December 5th) marks International volunteers day and day where we seek to highlight the incredible work people do around the globe volunteering their time to support charities and organisations.

The United Nations (UN) annually observes the International Volunteer Day for Economic and Social Development on December 5. The day, which is also known as International Volunteer Day (IVD), gives volunteers a chance to work together on projects and campaigns promoting their contributions to economic and social development at local, national and international levels.

I have been both a volunteer and been supported at a time of need by volunteers. The work people do in the volunteer sector makes such a significant impact on millions of people.

A good friend of mine named Doreen Holmes’s who I met in Rhode Island whilst on my first USA book tour back in 2018 is to me the epitome of what makes volunteering so important.

Doreen not only volunteers at her local soup kitchen and homeless shelter serving and supporting the guests as she calls them but she also supports people within the blind and low Vision community by teaching yoga at an organisation called Insights. Doreen lives with vision loss herself and we connected through my poetry. She tells me regularly how much of an inspiration I am to her but I want to highlight her today to tell the world what an inspiring light in my life she is.

A while ago she came to me to ask if I could write a piece of poetry for her to pay tribute to someone important in her life. Sister Francis was the person who introduced Doreen to volunteering and through the life lessons Sister Francis instilled in all those who knew her at the homeless shelter and in her community Doreen carries on her legacy and leaves it as a gift for everyone she meets. As a tribute to Sister Fran who passed several years ago I wrote this poem on Doreen’s behalf.

It seems like only yesterday

since I sat beside your bed

For etched upon my heart and soul

are those words to me you said

You asked me if I’d promise

that your work I’d carry on

and take the things from me you’ve learned

to others pass them on

You took my hand and said to me

“my work on earth is done”

“Remember me not from this time

but all those times of fun”

“The movie nights and days my sight would get us in a jam”

The times today I miss with you

have made me who I am

The soup kitchen will be forever your own legacy

You made it for our guests a place that they could be happy

We left our problems at the door

In here we’re all the same

The kindness that we give to them

can heal the hardest pain

You changed the lives of everyone who stepped inside that door

and changed the person that I am from then forever more

Though 18 years have passed since you left me sister Fran

I remember that you taught me

all these things are in gods plan

So today we celebrate your life and echo your life’s call

We may not have it all together

But together we have it all

The Blind Poet