Giving back lies at the heart of the United Nations

The commemoration of International Volunteer Day 2013, on December 5 at Rio Cobre Juvenile Correctional Centre
St.Catherine,Jamaica Dec 20, 2013

International Volunteer Day 2013 was a success thanks to the spirit of community and cooperation among the volunteers from the National Volunteer Centre, the United Nations and the wards from the Rio Cobre Juvenile Correctional Centre in Tredegar Park, St. Catherine. Under the theme “Young.Global.Active” the United Nations Country Team marked the day at the juvenile correctional facility by painting the dining room as well as inspirational messages on a wall mural to encourage the young wards to lead more socially productive lifestyles.

At the opening ceremony, Mrs. Caroline Brito Fernandez of the UNDP indicated that she was very glad to be at the event and as a former United Nations Volunteer (UNV) she was heartened that the UNVs in Jamaica were celebrating the day. She indicated that giving back is at the heart of what the United Nations stands for and that is why International Volunteer Day is so important in recognizing volunteers who constantly give back to their communities and work towards making the world a better place.


Mr. James, who is the Superintendent of the Rio Cobre Juvenile Correctional Facility,said that he felt blessed to be the host for the commemoration of this year’s activities. He saluted the event organizers for their efforts and indicated that the boys were excited about participating in the painting activities especially the dining room which needed a facelift for their upcoming Christmas party. Similarly, Miss Jevene Bent, Commissioner of the Department of Correctional Services, in her remarks noted that the boys were eager to assist in the mural activity and encouraged them to keep it clean and not destroy it.

Following these speeches, Ms.Winsome Wilkins, the CEO for the National Volunteer Centre (Council of Voluntary Social Services) presented Miss Bent with a JD 400,000 cheque for an ongoing United Way farming project on the grounds of the facility .The wards performed a poem called “Friends” and a touching rendition in sign language to the gospel song “I Give Myself Away”.

However,the highlight of International Volunteer Day 2013was the inspiring show of commitment and cooperation among the volunteers and wards involved in the mural ,when the rain started to fall heavily.They quickly covered the extensive wall mural, with tarpaulin and then got back to work underneath it to finish painting the mural before the work day ended.

Since 1985, United Nations has designated December 5 as International Volunteer Day .This year’s theme recognizes the youth volunteers who act as agents of change within their communities. The United Nations Volunteer Programme which is managed by the United Nations Development Programme is represented by two locally based United Nations Volunteers, Miss Pietra Brown and Mr Upul Ranaweera.