Today, Monday May 8 until Sunday 14 May is National Volunteer Week 2017. It is a great time to celebrate and acknowledge the generous contribution our volunteers make to us here at VisAbility. At VisAbility we have over 250 invaluable and selfless volunteers who serve our community. Two such hard working and dedicated individuals, are Coralie Myers and Jan Howell. Both of these ladies were rewarded for their incredible efforts last year with 30 year awards. We are honoured to have such long serving volunteers who have seen VisAbility grow and flourish into the organisation it is today. We caught up with Coralie and Jan recently, to discuss their wonderful awards and to find out what has kept them continuing to gift their time to VisAbility, year after year.
Hi Coralie, thank you for meeting with me today and congratulations on the 30-year award! What made you want to start volunteering at VisAbility all those years ago?
Hello! After an injury took me out of the workplace, I was at a loose end. Having just left a fast-paced work environment, the thought of doing nothing was not a viable option. As it happens, I met a lady not too long afterwards that said she worked as a narrator for the audio books at VisAbility. She suggested I come along, and I guess the rest is history!
Wow! So what department did you go into?
I work in the Audio Book area, though I don’t do narration! In fact, I help photocopy the books for narrators to read from, so both the recorder and the narrator can have a copy. I have always volunteered in this area, I enjoy it.
That’s great to hear. Have you always wanted to volunteer? Is it something you want to continue to do?
To be honest, volunteering hadn’t occurred to me until the narrator I met suggested it! I am so glad I found VisAbility. And yes, I will continue to volunteer for many years to come, until I can’t anymore!
We are so pleased to hear that! Do you have a favourite part of volunteering Coralie?
I enjoy coming to VisAbility because it is my break, a chance to get out of the house and talk to people! A chance to catch up with friends, socialise, have a lunch or coffee date in the Hub, and feel useful.
That’s wonderful. Over your time at VisAbility is there anything we have given you?
Yes, I have gained friendships, enjoyment and a way to keep busy and independent.
Yes, you say you have independence. What does it mean to you Coralie?
It is essential to me. It is so important. It is important to everyone really, and it means getting out and about. I really want to keep my independence as long as possible.
Independence is important, isn’t it? We are all on our own journey to independence! Before I let you go, is there anything else you’d like to say?
I would just like to say that VisAbility is so friendly and welcoming. Every time I have arrived here over the last 30 years, I have always been greeted and thanked when it was time to leave. I really appreciate the lovely community here at VisAbility.
And we appreciate you, Coralie! Thank you so much for your time today.
Tune in later this week for our interview with Jan Howell, another dedicated 30-year volunteer at VisAbility!