Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Helen Scutt -- Focus on Volunteering

Submitted by the United Way Volunteer Centre, Cambridge and North Dumfries

As posted by the Kitchener/Waterloo/Cambridge Record, December 3, 2013.

Focus on Volunteering

December 2013: International Volunteer Day – celebrating grassroots change

International Volunteer Day is a global celebration of volunteers. Founded in 1985 by the United Nations, it takes place annually on December 5 to recognize volunteer efforts in our community, in our provinces and territories and across the world. Volunteers are leading social change right before our eyes. While we worry about Christmas shopping, the newest fashion trends, and what our weekend plans are, there are 40,000 residents of Cambridge and North Dumfries thinking about how to help someone through their volunteer work this coming year.

Helen Scutt is a volunteer member of the United Way’s Community Impact Council. She is also a ‘Travelling Volunteer’ with a Toronto-based charity, Sleeping Children Around the World (SCAW). Her first trip with SCAW was to Kenya in 2010. She and her husband Jim Howley travelled with a team to India this year to distribute bedkits to 7,000 children identified in the greatest need. The bedkits include a mosquito net to prevent malaria, sleeping mattress, blankets, school supplies and new clothes for the children. The organization works with Overseas Partners, such as Rotary Clubs, who purchase the bedkit materials locally, identify bedkit recipients, and arrange volunteers for the distribution days.

Why does Helen volunteer? “I volunteer with this organization because I see firsthand the positive impact it has, not just for the child who receives it, but the whole family. The smile on each child’s face as they receive their gift is such a joy!” Helen set a personal goal to raise $50,000 for SCAW – that would be 1429 bedkits, and in three years, she’s almost reached her goal with the support of family and friends. “Each of us can ‘make a difference’- one child, one person at a time.”