DeOmar JPS Foundation's Top Volunteer for 2014
If Lionel Messi seems born to play football, then perhaps DeOmar Manning was born to help others.
In December 2014, Manning was selected as Top Volunteer for the year by the Jamaica Public Service Company Foundation. He is the parish liaison for Kingston and St Andrew North, but helps out with many projects particularly those focused on disseminating energy education to students. His most current assignment is that of energy mentor, which will see him assisting members of the JPS Foundation Energy Club at the Clan Carthy High School with all required projects related to the Energy Club programmes and attending their weekly meetings. He is also a social media volunteer, with specific responsibility to assist with the Foundation's Twitter and Facebook pages.
Manning is currently studying communication arts and technology at the University of Technology, which complements his volunteer work as he is always meeting people.
"I really enjoy giving back so I try making it a part of my job," he said. I was able to volunteer, giving back to my country ... and gaining experience at the same time." He quotes nurse-turned-author Elizabeth Berg who said "there is incredible value in being of service to others."
No waste of time
"Giving back and volunteering is by no means a waste of time, it's having the opportunity of making a long lasting impact in a person's life or your community." He suggested that volunteering could be as simple as giving basic items, financial support, or even just minutes of your time to the less fortunate. Manning's first volunteer effort came when he was a member of the Optimist Club at St Theresa Prep, and the group visited a children's home in Kingston.
"There I met a few children who were less fortunate than I. I was very moved by their situation," he said. Manning related that after playing with them, reading to them and feeding them, he felt fulfilled. Seeing the joy on their faces and knowing that he helped to make their day, made him feel whole. From that point, he said he decided that any opportunity that came up for him to volunteer, he would do so. Outside of the Foundation, he just helps out anyway he can.
"I do have friends who belong to groups and they invite me to help out," he said. Manning encourages others to volunteer because he feels it assists in self-fulfilment, personal growth and boosts self-esteem.
"Giving back to your company or community allows you to know that you're a part of a worthy cause," he said. "I believe the best person to develop a community, a company or a country are the persons who reside there."