Nobody makes a difference alone. If you’ve ever had a yearning to make a positive change in your community, you will learn that you cannot just do something by yourself, without needing to connect with like-minded people, or get some support from the right networks.
GO! Volunteer Expo
This desire to make a difference and connect with people has powered the success of the biggest volunteer-engaging event in the country, the GO! Volunteer Expo, held at the Glorietta Activity Center, Makati City last March 5-6, 2016. The two-day event drew over 20,000 visitors who came to the expo to learn how they could contribute to the causes they care about.
Those who attended the expo came from different walks of life, with different backgrounds, experiences, beliefs, and interests, but with the same desire: to be part of something bigger than themselves by giving back. This may be through sharing whatever time, skills, or resources they could offer. Could you imagine how it feels like to be surrounded by throngs of people who want to do good?
We at iVolunteer Philippines perfectly understand the burning desire of many Filipinos today to contribute for the greater good. We are tired of just being spectators to the numerous issues our nation is facing on different levels. We have realized that the government cannot do it alone, that everyday we and our neighbors face different struggles that affect our quality of life. And ultimately, we have decided that we needed to look at these concerns as shared challenges that all of us are responsible for, and that we could be part of the solution to these problems.
“iVolunteer Philippines began over five years ago, by volunteers for volunteers, who have a desire to help, but don’t know how to start and where to go. We believe that Filipinos have the innate desire to do good and help others, and if given the right information, we become capable to share our time and resources towards worthy causes. We are currently running a website to promote volunteer opportunities on various causes that are available for anyone to be a part of, and we are actively working to create a culture change that makes volunteering a lifestyle for every Filipino, towards building a better nation. This event was created to spread that passion for volunteerism,” says JB Tan, co-founder and executive director of iVolunteer Philippines.
The power of connecting volunteers and NGOs
Over 25 non-government organizations participated in the two-day volunteer expo, where they met and engaged with interested individuals who would like to be part of various advocacies, such as Youth and Education, Poverty, Disaster, Health, Elderly and Persons with Disabilities, Environment, Animal Welfare, Governance, as well as Culture and Sports.
The event brought together both volunteers and NGOs, as it was designed to facilitate networking and learning from each other’s advocacies and interests in a relaxed and informal setting. Interactive activities on the different hubs and inspiring talks from the dedicated founders and members of the NGOs themselves offered an engaging and holistic approach for all interested volunteers.
Through our website and partnership with different NGOs, ivolunteer.com.ph, we were able to feature over 10,000 different volunteer opportunities that even those new in volunteering were able to participate in. And three days after the event, we reached over 5,000 sign-ups, which we are very thankful for.
“We just passed by lang so we found out about the expo. We decided to visit kasi mahilig kaming mag-volunteer as a family sa church. Maganda sana palaging mayro’ng ganito kasi maraming gustong mag-volunteer, and they just don’t know where to start, so kapag pinagsama mo lahat sila, mas madali makakapili ang tao. It also creates awareness and becomes a channel for people to help,” says couple Gail and Ronnie who came to the event with their young daughter, Julia.
On the part of NGO partners, many of them were re-energized and grateful for the opportunity not only to get more volunteers but also to forge collaborations with other NGOs in the event.
“We [now] have a very nice big problem. We schedule [volunteer] orientations only once every two or three months. Now, we need to schedule probably five succeeding weekly orientations with morning and afternoon shifts because our vet clinic can only accommodate up to 20 persons,” said Michelle Ciaracruz of CARA Welfare Philippines, which promotes animal welfare.
According to Michelle, because of GO! Volunteer, they have also formed partnerships with two other NGOs in the event, Aral Pinoy and Heritage Conservation Society for their activities involving schools and the community.
Volunteer and be happy
“There are several takeaways from this event. One, volunteers are integral to nation building. Two, people are willing to and can do something to help regardless of their status in life. And lastly, no one can succeed alone in making a difference. We all need each other to achieve our dreams for a better Philippines,” says JB of iVolunteer.
iVolunteer Philippines calls on every Filipino who has that desire in their hearts to do something good for the benefit of others, and without expecting anything in return, to act now and become an active part in building the kind of community they would be proud to live in. Every person, every act of kindness matters. Don’t wait. Give yourself away, and in the process, be empowered to create happiness all around you. Say “Yes!” to that the kind of difference that volunteering could make.
Our call for support for this cause was answered by the following generous sponsors: ABS-CBN Lingkod Kapamilya Foundation, Air Asia, Ayala Center, BPI Foundation, Department of Social Welfare and Development NCR, DELL, Globe Telecoms, Glorietta, Go Motion Production, Maxxus, Microsoft, OLX, The Office Project, The Fort Strip, Works of Heart, and xFab. Media partners also include Solar Entertainment, 2nd Avenue, Philippine Daily Inquirer, CNN Philippines, Magic 89.9, Rappler, Female Network, Click the City, and When In Manila.
The full list of NGO partners who represented their advocacies are as follows: Aral Pinoy, Bantay.PH, Binhi English Literacy Program, Cancer Warriors Foundation, CARA Welfare Philippines, Citizen Disaster Response Center, Fairplay for All Foundation, Foundation for These-Abled Person, Gawad Kalinga, Girls Got Game, Heritage Conservation Society, Kanlungan Sa Er-Ma Ministry, Karinderia ni Mang-Urot, Let’s Do It Philippines, Museo Pambata, Philippine Jesuit Prison Service Foundation, Philippine Red Cross, Project Pearls, Rotaract Club of Makati Legaspi, The Story Telling Project, Tulong sa Kapwa Kapatid, VSO International, and Youth Sports Advocacy.
iVolunteer, a non-profit organization established in 2009 and powered 100% by volunteers, is actively advocating for volunteerism and volunteer education in the country. Visit ivolunteer.com.ph for more information about iVolunteer Philippines, or follow iVolunteer Philippines on Facebook and ivolunteerphils on Instagram.
by Miko Jazmine Mojica