Groups mark Volunteer Day
December 17, 2004
Groups mark Volunteer Day

During International Human Rights Day, celebrated on Friday, December 10, a number of organizations involved in volunteerism gathered at Roy’s Inn at Kingstown Park in celebration of International Volunteer Day. {{more}}

Although International Volunteer Day was celebrated worldwide on Sunday, December 5, the local volunteerism fraternity sought a date when most of the organizations would be able to gather together.

United Nations volunteer and health and family life coordinator in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports, Keziah Nash, chairing the volunteer forum last Friday, said the recent case of the hurricane in Grenada brings “very close to our hearts” the role volunteerism can play in building lives.

“Many people and organizations across the Caribbean donated their time and other resources, such as clothes, food and money to support those affected by the disaster,” said Nash, who also urged persons to become involved in volunteer work as it helps to enrich lives.

International Volunteer Day carried the theme “Supporting Volunteerism … Promoting National Development – Be a Volunteer Today” while the celebrations were funded by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

Also making comments during the opening segment of the programme were Director of the Peace Corps Cuthbert “Mr. Cool” James, Melroy John, who has responsibility for volunteers at the United Nations office in Barbados, and Deputy Prime Minister Louis Straker.

James said he represents the United States Peace Corps and appreciates very much all the work that Peace Corps volunteers do for the country.

“Sometimes I am ashamed because I know in our own country we struggle to get people to volunteer to do anything because everybody wants to be paid,” he said as he showered praises on the various organizations and persons who do volunteer work. James also gave an overview of the Peace Corps operation. He said that volunteers are brought in to focus on HIV/AIDS education and information and telecommunications technology among other things.

Minister Straker, during his remarks, said that volunteerism should be celebrated. Straker expressed gratitude for all the overseas workers presently in the country and praised the national volunteers whom he sees as making a contribution to nation building. He echoed that volunteering sends a message of goodwill.

Other organizations represented at the forum were the Partners of the Americas, Red Cross, Rotary Club, Girl Guides Association and the Special Olympic Committee.

Melroy John, who has responsibility for volunteers at the United Nations office in Barbados, recognized a number of organisations for their services.