Rhea Doligon is in her early 30s but she doesn’t look like it. The secret to her youthful looks could be because of positive outlook in life. “I find joy in the little things,” she says. On weekends, you could find her sitting contentedly on the warm grounds of Quezon City Memorial Circle, admiring the blue skies and observing families enjoying each other’s company over a simple picnic or groups of friends frolicking around, engaging in playful banter.
The time to give back is now
Rhea believes that a life lived to the fullest means doing things that makes one happy while spending time on the things that matter. “I’ve never suffered from a serious illness while others are fighting hard to live. I can eat three times a day and I have a job that supports my needs. There are endless reasons for me to feel grateful everyday and this gave me motivation to share my blessings to others. I don’t have a lot of material things to share but I can spend my free time doing little things for others who need care and attention.”
Realizing that time is precious must be spent meaningfully, Rhea began her online search for volunteering opportunities. Luckily, iVolunteer’s website was the first thing she saw—and she became excited about the number of options she could choose from. Finding what she liked, she wasted no time signing up for a feeding program and tutorial activity for kids from Project Pearls.
Rhea volunteering at Project Pearls
Overcoming shyness through volunteering
“The night before my first volunteering experience, I was super excited that I barely slept. The next day I was anxious about being late, so I arrived at the meeting place an hour early.”
When she arrived at the site and saw the kids for the first time, she had mixed emotions. She felt her heart melt for them but she was also nervous. She’s the shy type and she’s not comfortable talking in front of a crowd. However, seeing the kids who were more excited than her to participate in the activities and remembering her desire to make her volunteering count, she forgot all her anxieties and had the time of her life getting together with the kids and making them smile.
“I realized that these kids have their dreams also but their parents alone couldn’t help them fulfill those dreams. I don’t have a lot but there’s something in me that felt I could contribute something to make a difference in their lives. Because of this first volunteering experience, I realized that I was born for a really meaningful reason.”
Volunteering as a way of life
Rhea believed that her first volunteering experience was life-changing as she found herself regularly spending time joining other activities of the different NGO partners of iVolunteer. For her, not only does she feel fulfillment in sharing her life with others through volunteering, she’s also delighted to meet interesting people and gain new friends that she never thought she would, given her shy personality.
What’s even more amazing is how Rhea eventually saw her life’s perspectives unfold in more profound ways because of volunteering. “I believe that volunteerism is a way of life. It’s not just about volunteering so I could prove I could do something. One should do an act of kindness daily. It’s not what you gain but what you are able to share. It’s the unexplainable joy that makes me continue to volunteer. I really feel that I would do this for the rest of my life,” she shared.
Rhea volunteering at He Cares Foundation
by Miko Mojica, iVolunteer Philippines