JIS News

More than 150 volunteers across the island will be officially recognised at parish award ceremonies on International Volunteer Day (IVD), December 5. In addition, 14 persons, each representing a parish, will be given special awards for being the top volunteer in their parish.
For Kingston, the ceremony will take place at the Jamaica Pegasus in New Kingston, commencing at 2:00 p.m.
In an interview with JIS News, President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Council of Voluntary Social Services, Winsome Wilkens, informed that various agencies and non-governmental organisations were asked to select volunteers, who they felt deserved recognition.
The nominees were then submitted to the Custodes in each parish, who also have the responsibility of spearheading activities to commemorate IVD.Mrs. Wilkens said that nominees would receive certificates approved by the United Nations. “A lot of agencies do look forward to this and see it as an opportunity to say thank you to those who have served them and served them very well,” she pointed out.
For Norma Brown-Bell, member of the IVD Committee, recognition of volunteers have come a long way.
“In our first year we went out to the parish of St. Thomas and we had our awards ceremony there. We got together with the other parishes that comprise the county of Surrey and for that particular assignment, they added St. Mary to it as well. For all the persons who were recognised as volunteers, we had a prize giving ceremony at the Springfield Youth Centre in St. Thomas,” she recalled.
This was not the only activity to observe the day, as the group with the little funding they had then, made a presentation to the Duhaney Pen Basic School in the parish, where the roof needed urgent repairs. “The spirit of volunteerism was alive and well back then and even more now today,” she said.
In 2001, the United Nations designated the year as the ‘International Year of Volunteers’. During this period countries were asked to recognise their volunteers and to promote volunteerism.
With the help of the United Volunteers Programme (UNV) and the Council of Voluntary Social Services, a National Committee, known as the International Volunteer Day Committee, was formed in Jamaica.
The Committee is comprised of NGOs, such as the Jamaica 4H Clubs, Jamaica Red Cross, the Girls and Boys Brigade and a number of other private voluntary organisations, which come together to plan activities to observe International Volunteer Day.