After months of preparation, iVolunteer finally brought back Go Volunteer, a 2-day volunteer expo, held at SM Megamall last May 6 (Saturday) and 7 (Sunday). This event was co-presented by SM Cares and Cravewell, and made possible through the cooperation of NGO partners, volunteers, and sponsors.

With the goal of encouraging more volunteers into the development sector, 17 Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) showcased their exhibits during this 2-day event. People from all walks of life were able to interact with these NGOs, to understand the different advocacies and how they can help.

Apart from exhibits, there were activities, talks and performances—all for free. Go Volunteer generated around 13,000 visitors and 381 passport finishers (i.e., those who completed the activities and were eligible for raffles). A tech area was also reserved to assist volunteers as they sign up for future volunteer opportunities, through the iVolunteer website. This was intended to help newbies navigate the website. During that weekend, there were 694 new users in the website.

Let’s talk about the activities!

There were 7 activities—spread throughout the event ground—that passport holders needed to complete to earn a raffle entry. Volunteer marshals guided the participants and explained the mechanics. Notably, Bike for a Cause attracted many visitors—young and old. It was a reminder that volunteering truly comes in different forms. We can exercise while volunteering.

The Pregnancy Weights activity was a tribute to mothers since Mother’s Day was just around the corner. Participants were asked to carry weights that mimic the weight that pregnant women carry at various stages of their pregnancy. Solar Hope’s Buzz Wire Game also attracted several curious visitors.  

Other activities included Braille, Word Search, Advocacy Wall, and Photo with iVolunteer Staff. There was also an area for NGO merch, like a souvenir shop that sells socially-responsible products. 

Let’s talk about the program!

The NGOs had the chance to go on stage and talk about their organizations. But the main program was scheduled around 2-5pm each day. The hosts were iVolunteer’s internal volunteers: JRex Jardinero, Jeanie Bicera and Eah Antonio.

Day 1 Hosts – JRex & Jeanie

iVolunteer’s Founders, JB Tan (also the Executive Director) and Bel Padlan (also the Director of Technology), delivered the opening and closing remarks on the first day. For Day 2, these were delivered by Judith Apolinario, iVolunteer’s Associate Executive Director, and Joie Balaong, iVolunteer’s Director of Corporate Relations.

Angela Camins, SM Cares’ AVP for Marketing, and Royston Cabungad, SM’s Program Director for Children & Youth, also took the stage to support volunteerism.

Daniel Benito, Executive Director of The Storytelling Project, and Mark Napao, Solar Hope Founder & iVolunteer’s 2020 Social Innovation Challenge Winner, participated as speakers, on top of manning their organizations’ exhibits.

To talk more about volunteering, there was a panel interview with guest speakers: Mike Fua (2019 Social Innovation Challenge Winner), Hannah Napao (2020 Social Innovation Challenge Winner), Anthony “Tatay Anton” Santos (2020 Volunteer Champion), Laica Bagnes and Christian Bondoc (2022 Volunteer Champions). Niniay Mohammad (2021 Volunteer Champion) and Chel Diokno also sent recorded videos to show support.

Panelists (Tatay Anton, Hannah, Mike, Laica, Christian) and Day 2 Hosts (JRex & Eah)

Making Go Volunteer livelier, the following performers showcased their talents: K. Dela Rosa, Karen Yao, Silent Stereos, Harmony & Horizon, Raven & the Papis. Many of them sang original songs. Lastly, Cravewell sponsored the iVol Multiple Choice game while Read My Lips was sponsored by Jabra.

Let’s talk about the NGOs!

Here are the 17 NGOs who participated in Go Volunteer to promote their respective advocacies:

They tirelessly and openly shared their organizations’ advocacies and even their volunteer stories. Some beneficiaries of these organizations were even there to pay it forward. For example, one of the 2KK beneficiaries—who’s been with them since 2014—happily chatted with visitors. A former PDL (Person Deprived of Liberty) was also manning the exhibit of Philippine Jesuit Prison Services (PJPS). He didn’t hold back thanking PJPS for giving him a second chance in life when he was still in prison and after he went out.

While not everyone from the NGOs were volunteers (some were fulltime social workers), many of them have been with their organizations for years. The social worker from Kythe has been with them for 16 years and still takes pride in the impact they make. Another one from Childhope started as a volunteer back in the 90’s before becoming a fulltime employee there. Even high school students from the Girl Scouts PH also shared that they’ve been part of their organization since preschool.

Let’s talk about the Volunteers!

Go Volunteer was a meeting of volunteers of all kinds—young and old, newbies and seasoned volunteers. Aside from those who participated as speakers, Mark Jacinto, another 2021 Volunteer Champion, dropped by during the expo. Tatay Anton—who participated in the panel interview—came all the way from Cavite with some of his students.   

iVolunteer also takes pride in the internal volunteers who were there. Members of iVolunteer manned the merch and tech areas, documented the event, took care of co-volunteers, managed the program, prepared the venue and so many more.

It was also heart-warming to work with external volunteers (wearing white Go Volunteer shirts) who signed up through the iVolunteer website as marshals or photographers. They diligently stayed for hours, wearing their best smiles. There were 56 external volunteers (39 marshals and 17 photographers) during the entire event.

Truly, this was an event for volunteers made by volunteers.

Let’s not forget our sponsors!

iVolunteer is also extremely grateful to the sponsors and media partners for their trust and support in making this event a success. This is proof that even the private sector is an integral part of nation-building. Together, we are stronger.

For those who want to see the rest of the photos, visit our FB page album for Go Volunteer Manila: here.

Written by: Lorraine Rañoa, iVolunteer Philippines

Visit, follow and like iVolunteer’s Facebook Page for Regular Updates: https://www.facebook.com/ivolunteerphils

Sign up for Volunteer Opportunities through iVolunteer’s Website: https://www.ivolunteer.com.ph/


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