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Gervase Warner, chairman of the Steering Committee of United Way T&T’s National Day of Caring, has rallied corporate T&T to generate a spirit of volunteerism: “That spirit of goodwill can break down barriers that often lead to evil doing; let us unleash a spirit of volunteerism on our country—it needs it now!”
Reflecting on newspapers headlines that read “Evil gone wild,” in reference to the recent slaying of prominent attorney Dana Seetahal, Warner said this negative feeling must be countered and dealt with. By helping one person and another, citizens can contribute to a feeling of hope and encouragement for better living.
Warner was speaking at the launch of United Way’s National Day of Caring (NDOC) which takes place on May 18. With less than a week to go, strategy sessions have been going apace to devise ways by which to help charitable associations and those in need through physical labour, repair and refurbishment works, moral support and interaction.
A release from United Way said last year’s event was deemed a great success as 59 companies, with 2,600 volunteers equating 5,800 man hours, completed 75 projects—showing that the spirit of corporate volunteerism plays an important role in CSR programmes in T&T. Estimated expenditure for 2013 was $3.3 million.
While this would have indicated the day’s financial value, the greater worth was the acknowledgement that T&T’s National Day of Caring was hailed as one to be emulated internationally.
This year’s edition of National Day of Caring would make it United Way T&T’s eighth year at doing this. But this will be its second year in this outreach format. Previously, NDOC took the form of spending the day with children belonging to orphanages and similar facilities. For 2014, like last year, the format is expansive, outreaching to as many NGOs and other organisations that do their part to make T&T a better place socially.
Warner said he is confident this year will be more impressive.
“In 2014, I am excited by the prospect of exceeding the targets that were attained in 2013, and in making NDOC 2014 a greater success. Our focus will be on mobilising a wider cross-section of corporate T&T and its employees in a massive show of volunteer engagement across the country,” Warner said.
Terrence Walker, co-ordinator of the National Day of Caring, is confident that we can make a change in our country. In the release from United Way, he said, “Thus far in 2014 there are 64 companies coming together to undertake 65 projects across T&T.
“While May 18 is the National Day of Caring, many of these projects started many months before and will continue afterwards. We are happy to have this level of corporate giving. Giving that intends to provide a change in behaviour and a change in our future.”
The types of projects include environmental (beach clean-ups, planting of grow boxes), infrastructural (building of libraries, renovation of existing structures etc), entertainment (photo booth and cricket match at the RBL grounds and interactive (spending time with those less fortunate).
In attendance, representatives from corporate entities from throughout the length and breadth of T&T came forward to lend their support and share reports on their projects all in support of the global vision of Volunteerism.
United Way invites interested people to visit the Facebook page to learn more about the National Day of caring and the continuing work of the organisation.