Vision Mate Volunteer – Moncton, NB
Darlene MacMillan volunteers as a vision mate for the CNIB Foundation with Stacie, a Moncton resident who has sight loss. The pair go on walks two to three times a week – even walking an indoor track during the winter months. They set fitness goals and work toward them together.
“We both enjoy the activity and each other’s companionship, so it’s a great fit,” says Darlene.
CNIB’s vision mate program matches sighted volunteers with individuals who are blind or partially sighted, to assist with activities like reading, organizing things around the home, or assisting with errands, outings or social visits.
Darlene was already aware of the CNIB Foundation after hearing radio advertisements and seeing social media posts, and wanted to get involved after a friend lost their sight due to macular degeneration. She applied to be a volunteer for CNIB’s Vision Mate program.
Darlene helps host a weekly coffee and chat group held every Tuesday at CNIB Moncton. The group setting was the ideal place to have her first meeting with Stacie, her vision mate match, but they both enjoyed the experience and decided to return every week afterwards. Darlene enjoys the conversations and getting to know other participants – as well as the delicious home-baked goods brought in by someone with a knack for baking.
Discussion topics at coffee and chat range from challenges faced by people who are blind or partially sighted and strategies to overcome them, to issues to address with local councillors. Participants discuss upcoming events, activities and socials in their community, and often talk about the ways technology is changing what it means to be blind today.
“Darlene’s passion for helping others and her dedication to our Foundation programs are clear,” says Debbie Jeffery, community and volunteer engagement lead for CNIB New Brunswick. “She wants to volunteer in every way she can – from suggesting ideas for fun group activities, providing assistance with events, to staying late after our coffee and chat group to help clean – she’s a true asset to our volunteer team.”
When she’s not volunteering, Darlene keeps busy participating in a hiking group and book club, and spending time with her rescue dog – a nine-year-old Lab-Sheppard mix.
If Darlene’s story inspires you to consider volunteering for your local CNIB Foundation, fill out the application form below.