A lot of aspiring or new volunteers are struggling with perennial questions such as “where to volunteer?”, “how to volunteer?” and “what volunteer activities are available?”. iVolunteer’s Start Your Adventure is a seminar that aims to address all these questions. It’s a way to open the doors for a lot of aspiring volunteers who are struggling to start their journey. It’s also a chance for seasoned volunteers to be able to share their stories and knowledge to those who want to follow in their footsteps.
Last July 23, iVolunteer organized a virtual Start Your Adventure talk with over 60 attendees and 5 volunteer speakers. Three of the speakers are members of iVolunteer while the other two are members of iVolunteer’s partner organizations.
First Speaker: Regina Rafael
She’s a teacher by profession who joined iVolunteer in 2018 after she discovered the joy of doing community works. Reg discussed the essence of being a volunteer and introduced iVolunteer as an organization. Here are some key takeaways from her talk:
- It’s important for volunteers to find their ‘why’. It could be volunteering to address an urgent need (the likes of disaster relief operations) or it could also be volunteering to create a change in their community, an investment for a brighter future.
- iVolunteer is an NGO established in 2009 that was and is still 100% run by volunteers. The goal of iVolunteer is to encourage every Filipino to become part of nation-building, to encourage everyone to contribute in improving the country.
- iVolunteer acts as the bridge between volunteers and non-profit organizations by making it easier for people to volunteer and for organizations to find volunteers.
Second Speaker: Erycce Althea “Eah” Antonio
She’s a Communications Officer of Break Free from Plastic, a global movement to eliminate plastic pollution. She joined iVolunteer in 2020 and handles the organization’s Youtube content. During her talk, Eah focused on defining what virtual volunteering is and on debunking myths related to it. Here are some key takeaways from her talk:
- Virtual volunteering is not only limited to workshops and seminars. There are 3 types of volunteer opportunities that can be done online: time, talent and treasure. All of these are available on the iVolunteer website.
- One of the myths of virtual volunteering is that opportunities are primarily tech-related. This is not true. There are wide varieties of virtual opportunities including managing projects, doing research and other skills-based activities like designing, writing, hosting, etc.
- Virtual volunteering is an opportunity for people to explore their potential and try new things within the safety of their homes.
Third Speaker: Janzen Philip “Jaypee” Cruz
He’s a data analyst who joined iVolunteer in 2020. Volunteering was part of Jaypee’s upbringing through his active participation in church activities. During his speech, he shared tips on where to look for volunteer opportunities and emphasized the need to be responsible volunteers. Here are some key takeaways from his talk:
- The first organization that Jaypee volunteered in is Project Pearls, an NGO that aims to help the poorest of the poor children. He discovered this organization through iVolunteer’s website. Similarly, volunteers are encouraged to sign up to iVolunteer’s website and take advantage of the opportunities available there.
- iVolunteer partners with different organizations in order to offer variety to volunteers. That said, volunteers are encouraged to choose the advocacies that are closest to their hearts.
- Professionalism is an important value that volunteers should uphold. Volunteers should only sign up when they know they can show up.
Fourth Speaker: Violeta Imperial
She is the Social Responsibility Specialist of Nature Awareness and Conservation Club, Inc. (NACCI), one of the partner organizations of iVolunteer. She’s been working for this organization for 17 years. Violeta shared her volunteer journey and introduced NACCI. Here are some key takeaways from her talk:
- Similar to Jaypee, Violeta started volunteering at a young age as part of her church activities. She’s been involved in different organizations, mostly related to the environment. As someone with a nurturing personality, working in the development sector has been truly rewarding for her.
- In the past, NACCI was only catering to companies and corporations. But their partnership with iVolunteer gave them the opportunity to tap individuals, small groups and NSTP students.
- Some of their activities include tree planting, livelihood programs for fisherfolks and environmental educational talks. Volunteers of all ages—from children to senior citizens—can join their activities.
Fifth Speaker: Dominique Ybera
She’s the Advocacy Officer of Citizens’ Disaster Response Center (CDRC), another one of iVolunteer’s partner organizations. She’s been volunteering (in different ways) since her university days. Apart from sharing her volunteer journey, Dom also shared inspiring stories of the impact of volunteering, especially treasure volunteering.
- Before working for CDRC, Dom was an Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW). She returned to the Philippines, knowing that her country needs her service. True enough, her work at CDRC gives her the sense of fulfillment she’s been looking for.
- Treasure volunteers are those who donate money to support their causes. Their contributions made the community pantries and disaster relief operations possible. Volunteers who have the means to do so are also encouraged to become treasure volunteers. The iVolunteer website provides a convenient place for volunteers to check the different treasure volunteer opportunities.
JRex Jardinero, the facilitator, ended the webinar with a reminder that advocacies are personal choices. Volunteers should choose the causes that they are passionate about.
To those who were able to attend, it was indeed the start of their adventure, and it was an honor for iVolunteer to be part of their journey. More exciting things are ahead for the organization because iVolunteer is committed to become part of every volunteer’s journey.
Written by: Lorraine Rañoa, iVolunteer Philippines
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