Our Stories

Youth Volunteer Week: Meet Lydia White

23 May 2024

James, a blind runner, standing at the finish line of an event with featured young volunteer, Lydia White. They're both wearing finisher medals and smiling for the camera.

Lydia (24) has been one of Blind Low Vision NZ’s dedicated youth volunteers for the past two years. Her journey into volunteering began quite organically, initially helping friends who work for the organisation. From packing and shifting boxes to cleaning equipment and disposing of rubbish, Lydia’s willingness to lend a hand soon evolved into a deeper commitment fuelled by her passion for sports.

Lydia’s volunteer work involves much more than just logistical support; she actively engages in assisting blind individuals to participate in outdoor activities. A typical volunteering day for Lydia starts early at a run meet, where she greets fellow volunteers and participants. Partnered with a blind runner, Lydia describes the scenery and experiences to them as they jog together. This not only enriches the runner’s experience but also fosters a unique bond of trust and camaraderie.

One of Lydia’s most memorable experiences was running the Rotorua Half Marathon with a low vision runner, a testament to the incredible achievements possible despite disabilities. It was an adventure that allowed Lydia to meet passionate blind athletes and share their inspiring stories.

Volunteering with Blind Low Vision NZ has not only given Lydia a deeper appreciation for the challenges faced by blind and low vision individuals. It’s also added to her skillset, learning Braille and even picking up a new sport, Goal Ball. Best of all, volunteering has allowed her to combine her love of running with helping others.

A particularly inspiring figure in Lydia’s volunteer journey is James, a blind runner who lost his eyesight suddenly in his late 30s. Partnering with him in races, Lydia pushes herself to keep pace, driven by James’s dedication and the joy running brings him.

Looking ahead, Lydia aspires to a career in volunteer coordination and event planning in sports. She strongly encourages other young people to give volunteering a shot, highlighting how rewarding it is and the chance to meet new people, share your interests, and add to your skills.

To learn more about volunteering opportunities at Blind Low Vision NZ, click here.

To sign up to become a Blind Low Vision NZ Volunteer, click here.



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