Everyone loves a good page turner, including Lynn Kennedy, who wanted to share her love of reading with others. In 2020, she started volunteering as a book club facilitator.
“CNIB has been a great source of support for my son, and I’m very grateful,” says Lynn. “I’ve taken a keen interest in learning how CNIB helps people with sight loss and the various programs that are available.”
Lynn considers herself a ‘bookaholic’. She feels fortunate that her interests have become a catalyst to creating positive, meaningful experiences for community members with sight loss.
“The group is spirited and lively, and I think they enjoy the freedom of sharing a wide variety of books with each other - both fiction and non-fiction,” says Lynn. “In virtually every session, discussions have prompted at least one member to suggest a book (or books) to another member. In other cases, a member might encourage another to finish a book by giving some enticing examples of things to come (without giving the ending of the book away).”
Lynn facilitates the discussion, offering her own comments and asking questions to the group while ensuring each member presents their book. At the end of each session, she assembles a list of the books that were discussed and sends it to the group via e-mail.
Being an avid reader herself, Lynn began reading more books related to sight loss to further her knowledge.
“I’ve read books by and about people with sight loss that I might not have picked up prior to my volunteer experience,” says Lynn. “I’ve learned a lot about the variety of assistive devices available, and those that assist with accessing the written word, such as handheld media players, desktop magnifiers, and smart cameras that read digital and print text.
As a volunteer, Lynn feels a sense of fulfillment knowing that she’s making a great difference in people’s lives while learning more about sight loss.
“Volunteering is inherently rewarding. As a volunteer, you will flourish in your role, and your efforts will be greatly appreciated and acknowledged by those with whom you are involved,” says Lynn. “I’ve learned so much about sight loss and its impact on those who have experienced it. I’ve learned about the daily challenges unique to those living with sight loss and the resilience they possess.”