Vision Mate Volunteer – Charlottetown, PEI
Ales Janosik had never known someone who is blind, but now he can’t imagine life without his good friend, Roger. Since 2014, Ales has been a Vision Mate volunteer to Roger – a Charlottetown man who is blind.
The pair go for walks together every week, always stopping into Tim Hortons for a chat and a laugh over cups of hot chocolate. They run errands, including getting groceries or going to the bank. Roger will sometimes ask Ales to help him on the computer, like checking his Facebook or email.
CNIB Vision Mate program matches sighted volunteers with people who are blind or partially sighted, to help with activities like reading, organizing things around the home, or errands, outings or social visits.
Above all else, Ales and Roger enjoy each other’s camaraderie. The pair share similar senses of humour and will often joke with each other.
“It’s been great having our friendship develop over time,” says Ales. “At this point, being a Vision Mate is something I can’t imagine not doing.”
Originally from the Czech Republic, Ales now lives in Charlottetown where he’s a stay-at-home dad to two boys – three years and 17 months of age – and he’s made his hobby of wood carving into a small business.
Balancing fatherhood with his busy schedule can sometimes be a challenge, but Ales always finds a solution. When Ales can’t find a babysitter, he’ll bring his sons with him on his and Roger’s outings.
“Ales is a prime example of what we look for in our volunteers: dedication, exceptional service and consistent, selfless giving of time and effort to improve the quality of life for someone with sight loss,” says Rachel Kitson, foundation programs lead for CNIB Prince Edward Island.
Ales enjoys knowing that his volunteer efforts are directly helping somebody in his community. He encourages others to volunteer, as there are other Islanders with sight loss waiting to be matched with a Vision Mate volunteer.
If Ales’ story inspires you to consider volunteering for your local CNIB Foundation, fill out the application form below.