International Volunteer Day on 5 December is a great reason to celebrate and recognise volunteers around the world for the invaluable work they do.

From being a driver, fundraiser, to reading a book to someone, Blind Foundation volunteers make a huge difference to those who are blind or have low vision.

We share an entry below from one of our volunteers, Carol Conte, who celebrates 25 years of service this year:

“In February 1991, I approached the Blind Foundation to ask if I could become a volunteer reader. Later that year, I received my first assignment.

It has been my only one ever since and it has had a very positive impact on my life. I was also beginning my journey as a primary school teacher, and later on, also took on a part-time position as a stylist with Trelise Cooper.

My journey of 25 years has been a treasure-chest of sharing, learning, laughing and strengthening through times of sadness.

The best of the person I read to, has brought out the best in me. I have delved into the intricacies of politics, history, poetry and travel. I have been stumped trying to pronounce French, German and occasionally, English! We are yin and yang, stopping, starting, repeating or bursting out laughing at something I have read (or read incorrectly).

His wife calls me his Thursday girl. I love that! I have such respect for him. Never have I heard him complain about his lot, or the loss of his career. I am so proud of him. I am also grateful for the phone call from the Blind Foundation, asking me to take on the gift of reading to this man. This has enabled my voice to aid, inform, and enrich, a fellow New Zealander.”

Don’t forget to take a minute and acknowledge a volunteer if you meet them on 5 December!

Make a difference and sign up to volunteer.