Winsome Wilkins – ministering through volunteerism
The Bible says in St John 9:4, "I must work the works of Him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh when no man can work."
Winsome Wilkins embodies this verse and is the epitome of a worker for Christ as she gives of her being selflessly to those usually considered to be less fortunate, through volunteerism.
Wilkins has been a Christian for over three decades and is also very active in church life.
"I am a part of the Open Bible Standard Churches of Jamaica and my husband and I pastor the Good News Open Bible Church in Old Harbour." She marshals the calls for volunteerism locally and isn't afraid to get support for those in need.
"Christ was the first volunteer, and as Christians, we are expected to model Him. The thing is that you can start at home or in your community as a volunteer. Look at what needs to be done locally and get involved. You don't have to go to Africa or some other country to lend a helping hand," she told Family & Religion.
"It is important to be involved in volunteerism; it is good for you because of the satisfaction that you get out of it and the fact that you're helping someone by doing something without the expectation of a reward. There is also a glorious opportunity for young people to be introduced to giving to others. There is that feeling of togetherness that volunteerism promotes. In addition to that, it is good for you to participate to help others to bring relief, to solve problems, because in that process, you're learning and contributing positively towards society."
Wilkins is the chief executive officer of United Way of Jamaica, as well as the Council of Volunteer Social Services and currently serves as vice-president of the North American and Caribbean Region of the International Council on Social Welfare. She is also chairman of the Usain Bolt Foundation.
"I've been doing this for the last 30 years, working with United Way of Jamaica primarily and the Council of Voluntary Social Services. When I see the commitment and dedication of volunteers from all levels - where CEOs are giving their time to come to meetings to strategise to see how best we can advance and promote volunteerism - it really motivates and inspires me. Then when I see the volunteers who are on the ground doing the actual work - working with people with special needs and going the extra mile to assist the basic schools and promoting healthy lifestyles - that really motivates me.
"The book of St Matthew, in the latter part of the 25th chapter, speaks to us about feeding and clothing those that are in need, and if we don't look after the less fortunate, then we do not honour our duties set for us by Christ. 'In asmuch as He did it not to one of these ye did it not to me.'
"The Bible says, 'Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.' Be your brother's keeper. We need to look out for those who need help," she said.