Tough Questions: My Volunteer Story

Hi! Im JB Tan, one of the co-founders and currently a volunteer & the Executive Director of iVolunteer Philippines. I am a graduate of Computer Science and have full time day job as a Project Management Professional in a multinational company.

When asked what I do during my spare time.. I answer  “I volunteer!”.. I used to be shy about it as it is always followed by a tough question on why I “waste” time in volunteering and it is not always easy to get people understand. Overtime I realized these tough questions are a channel of advocating and inspiring individuals to participate in my cause. Today I am energized with such doubt as it confirms that iVolunteer Philippines has a place where we are really needed.

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Stages of a Volunteer’s Evolution

In order to effectively engage volunteers, a volunteer manager needs to understand that volunteers have different skills, needs, and commitment levels. Simply generalizing volunteers can overwhelm new volunteers or dissuade experienced volunteers as they are not leveraged to the best of their capacity.

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On Service and the Filipino Youth

Today’s young have managed to keep up with the fast changing times. With technology so pervasive these days, we are more connected than ever to our friends, our families, and even to the rest of the world. With this increased connection comes a stronger sense of awareness and concern for our surroundings and our community. Today’s youth is no longer naive and indifferent, nor is he a mere spectator in the sidelines. Instead, we are all becoming more responsive to the plight of our neighbors and are beginning to recognize our growing capacity to make a difference.

In recent times, we have seen more and more of our Filipino youth rise to the challenge of confronting various social issues. Who would have thought that a status message on Facebook would eventually lead to the birth of the Yellow Boat Project – an organization that currently helps hundreds of rural children get to school safely, by providing their communities with boats? Who would have imagined that the idea of a kariton classroom for street children, while simple, will be embraced by the country and the world? Looking at these successful examples, one can’t help but think – what makes the young effective at effecting change?

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