Joyce Armillo: “Don’t Be Afraid to Try New Things”

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 Joyce Armillo

Go Volunteer made a successful return last weekend, an event that’s extremely close to one particular iVolunteer staff. There’s no denying that #GoVol2019 is the biggest event of its kind, but more than that, its initial run three years prior is where Joyce Armillo began her journey as a volunteer.

Glorietta is one the busiest shopping centers in the metro, but every once in a while, it also becomes home to the biggest volunteering fair in the country. In 2016, the first Go Volunteer was held here and hosted nearly 20,000 thousand people from all walks of life. Among them, was Joyce, who decided to drop by at the event out of curiosity.

That fateful encounter eventually led her to Kanlungan sa ERMA Ministry in her first volunteering opportunity. Not long after that, she joined iVolunteer and later earned one of the most important roles in the organization. That may seem like a big transition that happened in one fell swoop, but according to Joyce it wasn’t. In her own pace, she worked on discovering herself and finding her place through volunteering, which also happened to be the theme of this year’s Go Volunteer.

“It didn’t happen in an instance. I just let myself enjoy every volunteer opportunity that I joined. I never closed myself to learning new things and discovering a new culture. Lagi kong sinasabi nahanap ko yung sarili ko, yung passion ko dahil sa pag-vovolunteer. I’m capable of loving and understanding people pala kahit isang beses ko lang sila nakita. Nadiscover ko din na kaya ko palang magperform ng mga sinulat kong tula sa harap nang madaming tao para i-share yung mga hinaing ng mga kapatid nating Aeta.”

Joyce Armillo

Joyce would go on to find her advocacy in supporting children, owing to her unforgettable experience with Kanlungan sa ERMA Ministry. Though, of course, it didn’t stop there as she’s now also focused in helping others find themselves through volunteerism.

What was it like volunteering for the first time?

“It was an overwhelming experience. I was assigned to a young girl who was abused by her mother. I just listened to her story and what she dreams about,” Joyce opens up. “I’m not sure what I did right that moment, but before I left the training center, she invited me to attend her graduation.”

Joyce recalls how she was moved at that very moment. She didn’t think that her presence alone could mean so much that young girl she was taking care of. It was also then that she realized that helping doesn’t really have to be about giving money or things. That it can also be through small actions like listening to people’s stories and just being there for them as an ate or a friend.

“Every volunteer opportunity is a memorable one. Iba yung feeling at yung experience, pero laging masarap sa puso na makita yung smile ng mga bata at nung kapwa mo volunteer.”

Joyce Armillo

Up to this day, she considers her first volunteering experience as one of the most poignant encounter she’s had in the past three years, “All of my volunteering experience are memorable, but maybe the most heartwarming for me, is when I was invited by the young girl I tutored in Kanlungan sa Erma Ministry to attend her graduation.”

What it’s like volunteering and being with iVolunteer?

“It helped me to be a more responsible and understanding human being. Before, I used to base my decision to “what will happen next if I do this” but now I’m also looking at the longer impact of what I’m doing to other people,” she points out.

Doubling on her new perspective, Joyce shared how she started volunteering for self-fulfillment, before taking on a bigger challenge in “influencing and inspiring other people” to become a catalyst of change in the community and in our country.

Speaking of challenges, she also opened up about time being a challenge in sustaining her volunteer work. She acknowledges that being a staff and a volunteer requires her to allot extra time to accomplish things, attend meetings, and be present at events.

She lamented on how she used to struggle and still, occasionally, in managing her time for her family, friends, and partner. Before adding, “Minsan nakakapagod din kasi may work ka sa office, may kailangan ka ding tapusin sa org.”

She points out, though, that it’s a give and take thing, and that every volunteering opportunity she’s been part of, while different, are always fun and memorable. In addition, Joyce says that volunteering has helped her manage her time more efficiently and become a more patient, understanding, and responsible individual.

What’s your advice to those who want to try volunteering?

“Don’t be afraid to try new things and be open-minded. Being in the volunteering sector is not easy but just know your deepest whys and it will eventually become a part of you.”


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