INDEPENDENT NEWS

Foundation For The Blind Chairman's Award Winner

Published: Mon 30 Jul 2001 10:40 AM
Announcing The Foundation For The Blind Chairman's Award Winner
Every year over 6,000 individuals donate their time as volunteers to the Royal New Zealand Foundation for the Blind (RNZFB). If valued at $10 an hour that would equate to $6 million.
In the Year of the Volunteer the Foundation acknowledges the contribution its volunteers make so it is particularly pleased to acknowledge a Foundation member and volunteer with its annual Chairman's Award.
This award is presented by the Foundation's Chairman of the Board of Trustees Gordon Sanderson to a Foundation member who has contributed significantly to the community. This year's Chairman's Award winner is member and volunteer Sue Leslie.
"Sue is a great role model for other blind and sight-impaired New Zealanders," says Gordon Sanderson, Chairman, RNZFB Board of Trustees.
"Choosing the Chairman's Award winner is always a tough decision as many people are equally deserving.
"However, Sue stood out from the crowd. She is challenging her sight-loss to maintain her independence and teaching others to do the same."
At 70 years old and for 25 years Sue has been actively involved in the Kapiti Foundation for the Blind Advisory Committee. Made up of sighted, blind and sight-impaired members of the community, committee members provide information and support to who are registered blind in their area.
Described as a lifeline for many blind and sight-impaired people in the Kapiti area, Sue phones every member to make sure the right support is in place, she organises social afternoons attended by over 100 people and often does the baking for them herself!
"Sue is a great support person for blind and sight-impaired people in Kapiti because she understands what they are going through. Often this support extends to inviting people into her own home to give them re-assurance and to share her ideas on how to overcome problems associated with sight loss."
But not only is Sue an invaluable resource for members in Kapiti, she is also a resource for the Foundation. If a volunteer is needed Sue will find one in a matter of days and she's great for staff working in the Kapiti area because they are able to draw upon the networks that she has created.
"An obvious determination to improve and enrich the lives of other blind and sight-impaired people living in her community is demonstrated by Sue," says Gordon Sanderson.
"Words that spring to mind are understanding, support and care. And she has done it with so much modesty and humility."
ENDS

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