Keshia the Entrepreneur
A quick Facebook search reveals several people of the same name. All girls, of course. All beautiful in their own right. Meanwhile, a lady with a smile on her face, sunglasses resting on top of her blond hair, sunlight striking her visage from an angle making her appear calm yet invigorating strikes a pose. I may not have known her personally, yet I could hear her voice. Frivolous yet reserved. Someone who has completed one stage of life, someone who has matured unto adulthood. This is her, Keshia Fraser.
Keshia Fraser is an entrepreneur, and like most entrepreneurs, she is her own boss, and manages her own time. She cooks, she bakes, and she travels a lot. Just last year, she embarked on a solo trip to four different countries. She is a person of her generation, a person millenials would describe as “living the dream.”
“I design and sell swimwear, which is my passion. I love the beach. I love swimwear. And I have always wanted to have my own business. I haven’t always been an entrepreneur. I’ve worked in corporate before that. But I’ve been on my business for about four years now.”
On Her Toes
She started volunteering only last year. It was Christmas Eve, and the passionate entrepreneur wanted to do something different from reading books, watching Netflix, and answering online quizzes; something she hasn’t experienced before. A quick Google search on possible volunteering activities in the metro connected her to iVolunteer’s website. And just like that, her stint would send her running on her toes.
“The night before my volunteer day, I was only able to bake four-hundred-forty cookies so I had to rush to the grocery and buy some more ingredients and whip up one more batch to complete the five-hundred-twelve cookies. I really set the goal to complete the number of cookies to prepare. Then I took an Uber to Parañaque and met Teacher Fe and her husband close to the venue of the volunteer site.”
Keshia was one of several volunteers who signed-up for Education Under the Bridge, an education program initiated by a big-hearted Teacher Fe, which literally takes place under a bridge. It was one of her most amazing experiences last year. As someone who loves to travel, she found a similar fulfillment in volunteering. Together with five other volunteers, she read and colored books with young children.
“I remember the three children with me. Some of them didn’t know how to read so I asked them to identify the objects in the books instead and they answered correctly. They took turns with the books, and then we went on to coloring. That’s when I met sweet Monica, who is a special child. At the time, she had some money with her from her ninang, but when she saw me, she gave it to me! It was kind of funny. All the kids were really sweet and grateful, most of them shook our hands and gave us hugs before we left. I will never forget sweet Monica, who gave all of us the biggest hugs so I look forward to seeing her again on my next volunteer.”
Gaining New Friends and Stepping Up
Keshia’s simple advice for people who want to start out in their volunteer journey is to have courage, be friendly, and avoid being the typical millennial who takes photos of practically everything.
She said that it is indeed scary to meet new people and talk to strangers, and one must be ready to meet people from all walks of life. But like anything new, it gets old, and you will eventually get used to it. Sooner than later, you would realize the friends you will have made and the experiences you will have gained.
“It feels like Christmas morning. For me it’s as satisfying like going home after having a wonderful holiday in a foreign place. You meet new people and the experience expands your horizons.”
The swimwear entrepreneur reveals that she now has two new friends on Facebook. She encourages people to volunteer to meet and gain new friends. She admits that it is scary to meet new people and interact with strangers. But that is nothing compared to the happy hormones the experience brings. Plus, there’s more: the good deeds will be repaid many times after.
“I am more responsible now, believing in good karma. I look forward to spending my Christmas Eve volunteering again. Like what I did last year. It will be like my own Christmas tradition.”
From the Heart
Among her realizations, she says that people should volunteer to help, serve, and share with others in need. Aside from that, volunteering helps with personal growth. It helps one to have a deeper understanding of one’s purpose in life.
“I made up my mind that I wanted to volunteer when I decided that I wanted to make my Christmas special for myself and for others. A lot of people inspire me to volunteer. It was my first time to volunteer, so that’s one of the reasons that made it different. Also I’m not used to doing things for others. I’m an only child and an orphan so I’m used to being on my own and not having any responsibilities to anyone.”
The volunteer experience transformed her life. She observes that she is kinder now, and works harder so she can help more people. She is now more appreciative of what she has, and cares more for strangers.
“I used to be very masungit. Now, just masungit haha. Well, I feel more mature and understanding towards others. I try to see where they are coming from. I never thought of volunteering as troublesome but we cannot force people to do what they don’t want to do. Volunteering has to come from the heart.”
by Miggy Ventura, iVolunteer Philippines