Thursday, December 12, 2013

Local woman helps children get safe, comfortable sleep

As posted by the Kitchener/Waterloo/Cambridge Record, December 12, 2013.

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.

Local resident 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 1,429 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.”

United Way’s Volunteer Centre is here to help you connect to causes that matter to you.

Search our online volunteer opportunities database by visiting and clicking on the Volunteer Centre tab. Or call 519-621-1030 ext. 253.

Jennifer Annett works for the United Way of Cambridge and North Dumfries. This column shares stories of volunteers who are inspiring positive change in our community.