Lynn smiling to the camera with a beach in the background.
Community story, A Flexible Volunteer Opportunity Abroad

A Flexible Volunteer Opportunity Abroad

Lynn, United Kingdom, volunteer

Growing up in Germany, Lynn has always been deeply involved in helping out wherever she could. From spending a lot of time with her grandparents, to going on trips with her mom’s kindergarten class and babysitting her sister’s four kids, Lynn has always kept busy. When she moved to the UK, she knew she wanted to do some sort of volunteer work, but a busy schedule and covid regulations limited her options. Be My Eyes therefore seemed to be the perfect, flexible fit.

Together with her sister, who was staying with her during lockdown, Lynn signed up for Be My Eyes - Lynn chose English as her main language, while her sister chose German. “We just wanted to see what would happen with the different language settings”, Lynn explains. Already the next day, her sister received a call while they were grocery shopping. In the middle of the supermarket aisle, the two sisters were able to assist a friendly gentleman connect his new radio to the wifi; “It was a very rewarding, nice first phone call and great confirmation that it was the right thing to download the app”, she says.

After her first Be My Eyes experience, Lynn decided to change her main language to German and has since been connected to several blind users. She has helped out with both simple and more complex tasks, from reading the label of a perfume bottle to guiding a user through his computer update and typing in a CAPTCHA code. Her most memorable call so far was when the covid restrictions had loosened in Germany, and a woman called her to get ready for a date after months in lockdown. “She prepared a few outfits that we went through, and in the end we picked a really nice summery dress for her date”, Lynn explains.

Sometimes I log off after eight to nine hours of work, and I feel like I've not really accomplished that much [...] But then I get these two to five minute phone calls from a Be My Eyes user, and it's just great to be able to help. It's very rewarding and all of a sudden this frustrating day turns into a really great, rewarding, positive day.

Before Lynn got off the phone with the lady who was preparing for her date, she made sure to thank Lynn, and they had a chat about how much independence it gave her to seek advice from a stranger, instead of having to rely on family and friends. But for Lynn the advantages go both ways - the callers are also helping the volunteers by giving them a chance to feel like they’re making a difference. “I'm very thankful for Be My Eyes actually. I think it's not a one-way street. It's not just you helping someone, but they're also helping you. I've felt so positive after every single phone call, and it's definitely been worth it”, she concludes.