The simple answer to that question is: they read.
But it isn’t really that black and white.
To best explain what a volunteer does here, one first needs to understand a bit about WRBH. Our mission is to broadcast audio recordings of printed material that isn’t easily available, if at all, to the the vision impaired community. Naturally, the breadth of said printed material is quite wide… politics, business, sports, books, news, culture, etc.
Just as the interests of the vision impaired are varied, as are the interests of our volunteers. So, in order to produce as good of a product as we possibly can, it makes sense for us to pair a volunteer with a piece of printed material that they already have knowledge of and an interest in. A sports fan will tend to read Sports Illustrated better than someone who isn’t. An investment banker will be better at reading the Wall Street Journal.
That goal of pairing volunteers to things they know is the reference point to understanding the depth of what these individuals do here. They have lives, and families, and professions, and knowledge. In order to learn who these good people are and what they enjoy, we need to engage them as much as we can… and when we learn about the person, the colder label of “volunteer” starts to seem inappropriate and almost diminishing. They aren’t just volunteers… they are people.
When one steps back and looks at that whole, you start see something that is greater than just “reader” or “volunteer.” You see the good in people. People that aren’t defined by things like old or young, rich or poor, and black or white. People that are friends. People that are happily giving their time to a greater cause. People that genuinely care about helping. People that are sharing more than just their voice.
So, what does a volunteer do? A volunteer cares. A volunteer implements knowledge and life experiences for the benefit others. A volunteer is loyal. A volunteer educates and is educated. A volunteer entertains and informs. A volunteer gives life to ink and paper.
It is certainly easy, after a quick assessment, to conclude that our volunteers just read, but rest assured… what our volunteers do is so much more than that.