‘Volunteerism is my way of life’
Karon Lewis, the volunteer
Karon Lewis, the volunteer

Retiree enjoying the fulfillment of giving back


KARON Lewis knew from an early stage in her life that she was destined to make a difference in people’s lives and qualified herself as a public school teacher who invested more than 34 years in the noble profession before she retired and volunteered with an elderly group.

Lewis is originally from Corentyne, Berbice. She was an Eversham resident educated at Eversham Primary School and Corentyne Comprehensive High School.

As an energetic young woman, she loved children and saw the need to assist them academically, so she joined the teaching profession, serving close to 35 years before she retired.

Lewis, a mother of three and a grandmother of three, told the Pepperpot Magazine that she started teaching at the primary level and the first school she taught at was Salem Primary School and has taught at other schools in Region Three (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara).

Today, Lewis is a full-time volunteer with the Tuschen United Elderly Association, a non-profit, non-governmental, humanitarian group which was founded in December 2017 and has a membership of 45, all from the neighbourhood.

She reported that the elderly group is registered with a structure comprising a President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer and its Directors.

Lewis stated that the objectives are to care for the well-being and general welfare of its members, including health, recreation, monetary and spiritual.

She explained that each member is relied upon to give a monthly subscription for the NGO’s upkeep and participates in all fund-raising activities.

The volunteer added that, from time to time, other NGOs would visit to assist in whatever way necessary to keep the elderly group functional.

Some of the members of the Tuschen United Elderly Association at the last Christmas get-together

Lewis reported that she is a resident of Tuschen, East Bank Essequibo, and wants to contribute to society in a meaningful way. As she was nearing retirement, she decided to become a volunteer with the Tuschen United Elderly Association.

She disclosed that the NGO was established by the late Stanley Cook and two others, and they met every last Friday of the month at the Tuschen Health Centre since they did not have their own building.

Lewis pointed out that volunteerism is fulfilling for her because she has much to do with her time as a retiree, and instead of sitting idly, she wants to remain active.

She stated that the funding for the Tuschen United Elderly Group comes from the members’ own pockets, donations, and money garnered from fund-raising events.

Lewis told the Pepperpot Magazine that they would get donations from Food for the Poor Guyana, and then they would distribute to the members, who are all elderly people with varying needs, with the oldest in the late 70s.

She related that, at the time of the interview, they were planning to host a Mother’s Day lunch for the members based on donations received.

Lewis added that, as a volunteer for the past six years, she would often have to go into her pockets to fund activities for the NGO, but she sees it as a blessing.

“Volunteer work isn’t glamourous, not about dressing fancy, sitting pretty and waiting around but it is more hands-on kind of work that you have to do yourself because others are depending on you to make it happen,” she said.

Lewis admitted that volunteerism is hard work and dedication to a common cause, and it entails long hours and a lot of dialogue, but she signed up for it, knew what she was getting into, and doesn’t mind at all.

“Working with the elderly is a sharing experience for me because I am familiar with dealing with children as a school teacher and this is different (volunteerism) and it gives me the kind of satisfaction as a senior citizen,” she reasoned.

Lewis noted that, at the elderly stage, receiving the support you need is vital for preserving life, and knowing that she is making a solid contribution is far more rewarding than having a paid job.



Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

All our printed editions are available online
Subscribe to the Guyana Chronicle.
Sign up to receive news and updates.
We respect your privacy.