It’s a New Year and I was thinking about how much my life has changed. In January of last year, the Eastern Province faced heavy flooding and I read an appeal made by STITCH in this very column, written by a volunteer, who I now count as a good friend. My roots lie in the Eastern part of Sri Lanka, and inspired to help I called the number below and volunteered to drop off some donations. I walked into the STITCH office and a year later, I can honestly say I never left.
Volunteering is my life. People sometimes question our commitment and drive but we are there, day in and day out, sending out emails and coordinating the nitty gritty details of projects while juggling work. I personally make an effort to be involved in some sort of volunteer driven project every weekend.
That is my passion - giving my time and energy makes me a richer person, in more ways than money or any valuable possessions could ever offer. I am a better person, because of all of the inspiring people I have met along the way - volunteers and those we have helped. Their strength and courage is something I can only aspire to have, their stories have touched me and sometimes have made me cry and their faces I can never forget.
The funny thing about volunteering is that I set out wanting to help people in need, but it is they who have helped me - helped me to put things into perspective, to be more compassionate, to think critically, to go out there and bring something I believe in into reality, to use the power of words to tell the stories that people often don’t to tell, and most importantly, to realize that every moment I have is a gift and therein lies my potential to make a difference.
Being part of the STITCH family has been an incredible way to better understand issues that affect our community, to raise awareness on causes that matter to me and it also represents a meaningful way to be part of a movement that has set out to bridge those who are in need and those who can help fulfill that need. Little did I know how much I would be changed because I read this column and was inspired to help.
Our Christmas with Love campaign is the one project that I have been excitedly waiting for the whole year. We collect gifts from whoever wants to donate and visit orphanages, elderly homes, homes for the differently-abled, distributing the gifts and spending time with them.
When my story is done, when all of our volunteering is done, I know that it is not the money, success or accomplishments that describe any of us best. The proof that I will leave behind will always lie in the lives of those who have been touched, that no matter what the world told me to the contrary, I made a difference. This is what the world will see, I was here.
This column was written by a stitch volunteer to learn more visit -www.stitchmovement.com