Jasmine Salem: “Go Back to Your Why and Cling to It”

One of the things that iVolunteer never takes for granted is the opportunity to meet some of the most hard-working and incredible Non-government Organizations (NGO) and volunteers in the country. We take pride in knowing their stories and with them being an important part of ours. Hence, as we celebrate our 10th year and move onto a new chapter, we’ve decided to go back to showcasing their unique and captivating stories. Stories that we hope would inspire you to be part of the iVolunteer journey today and for years to come.

iVolunteer’s Jasmine Salem

Jasmine “Jas” Salem is one the faces you’d easily recognize if you’ve been to a couple of our events. Aside from being a senior member of the org, she’s also a great facilitator and a game volunteer in and out of the organization. Seeing how comfortable she is with her role; it’s a bit hard to imagine that she didn’t always have the strength to stand in front of a crowd and speak with confidence.

“I’m talking for iVolunteer as if I’m doing this all my life.”

Jasmine Salem

According to Jas, one of the challenges she’s faced growing up was her inability to speak in front of a huge crowd.

With iVolunteer, however, she’s able to find an opportunity to not just overcome that obstacle, but also learn other things that were harder to quantify and describe.

“It helped me broaden my perspective in life. I became more sensitive to others.  I guess overall, it taught me how to ALWAYS choose love… for others, for our country… it made me believe that the love you give will always go back to you in whatever form, no matter what.”

Being introduced to volunteering & iVolunteer

Jasmine’s first volunteer opportunity came at the annual school rehabilitation and clean-up project “Brigada Eskwela.” Since both her parents were educators, she already had this strong attachment to teachers and schools, and was excited to help. From there, she met Bel Padlan (Co-Founder, iVolunteer) who invited her to meet the rest of the iVolunteer team.

“While they were talking about ‘saving our country’ through volunteering, I realized how petty my life was (laughs). It felt like I needed to do something, I was really inspired to volunteer.”

Jasmine Salem

With her mind already set, JB Tan (Co-Founder, iVolunteer) added fuel to the fire by challenging her on the spot. Jasmine recalled how she ran with the opportunity to do something bigger, along with a promise to herself that she will volunteer and not leave the org until she can no longer help in its cause.

Now, aside from being a core member of iVolunteer, Jasmine also occasionally works with our partners through personal volunteer work.

The joy in volunteering and being with iVolunteer

One of the things that Jasmine’s also very proud of is having an extended family in iVolunteer. In fact, she’s very relaxed when around the team and in most cases, among those who’d break the ice during internal meetups and partner orientations.

“My family is in Ilocos and iVolunteer team became my extended family here. They were the ones whom I can run into whenever I have personal problems. I can lean on them whenever I need to. And in a way they can always do the same to me. I really feel at home when I’m with them.”

Like all our staff, Jasmine works as a full-time employee. A state auditor, nonetheless. In her spare time, she tries her best to lend iVolunteer some of her professional skills and her ability to connect with a crowd of strangers. She also helps our partners with administrative tasks that could use her expertise and knowledge with state compliance.

“Start with your why. Why are you volunteering? Find the purpose within and cling to it. Whenever you have doubts, or tired of doing what you do (volunteering and caring for people) always go back to that why… and when you aren’t sure what’s your why? Always choose love. Love for others. Love for country. Love for God. Love for yourself. Because you can never go wrong with love.”

Jasmine Salem

It wasn’t easy, though, since her duties with the government would often ask her to sacrifice most of her time on weekdays. She even admits that there’d been a few times when she had to question why she’s volunteering and why she cared so much. When faced with such doubts, she said volunteers like her need to always go back to their “whys” and cling to it.

What’s next for her and the iVolunteer team?

“For the team, [I hope] we continue to work for that vision of every Filipino volunteering towards a better Philippines. As for me, I am still up for the challenge, and will still be here until I can no longer help in building this dream,” Jasmine says, touching on her promise when she first joined the team.

As part of iVolunteer’s 10th year celebration, we’re excited to bring back the biggest volunteering fair in the country this April 6 & 7 to be held at the Glorietta Activity Center, Palm Drive. Check us out on your favorite social media channels and come celebrate with us and discover yourself through volunteering!


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