As the year draws to a close, December is when a lot of people usually feel the most celebratory and generous at the same time. For volunteers around the world, the 5th of December is very special as it is recognized by the United Nations as the International Volunteer Day: “a unique chance for volunteers and organizations to celebrate their efforts, to share their values, and to promote their work among their communities”.
For iVolunteer Philippines, celebrating the International Volunteer Day and giving back to the community was much more meaningful, as it spent its last official volunteer day in 2016 for its staff with a partner NGO caring for the elderly home, Tahanang Balik-Alay in Taytay, Rizal on December 3, 2016.
After her husband’s battle with the big C, Judy never expected to find a partner in volunteering. At present, Judy is running the family’s food service business while also being a mom to 10-year-old Jamielle.
Volunteering has always been a huge part of Judy’s life. However, when she started her own immediate family family, she also began drifting away from volunteering, as she became preoccupied with husband and daughter, and even her mom.
Judy still had the strong desire to pursue her volunteer journey, as she felt it was her calling. She always prayed to God to direct her path with whatever He wants her to do, as she experienced challenges with balancing her roles as a mom, child, and a business owner. So whenever she felt she needed reassurance, she will always recite, “Thy will be done, Lord,” even until the faithful day that her husband succumb to cancer. Nevertheless, all the challenges she faced just made her stronger.
What is your purpose in life? This is a question we all want to be answered. For Rina, one of the volunteers I met from PPCRV (manual count of the 2016 election returns), she genuinely believes that doing her best in helping others is her mission in life.
A student from Polytechnic University of the Philippines, Rina is currently the Executive Council President of the university’s Emergency Response Group (ERG), a rescue volunteer organization that primarily upholds the spirit of volunteerism within the community. She’s one of those who were captured by the spirit of the organization, and eventually one of the few who remained active from her batch.
During the manual count activity at PPCRV, she arrived alone. I already sense her genuine spirit, as she asked the question, “I’m one of the volunteers, what should I do?” As we talked, I found out that she’s been spending her summer joining volunteer activities available via the iVolunteer website. With or without her friends, she’d go as long as she’s able.
We all love to eat. We always look forward to a hearty meal after a hard day’s work. Even just a quick but sumptuous merienda in the afternoon is enough to light us up. And we also know sharing our food with good company, especially our loved ones is just priceless. We love it so much, it’s usually our first question or greeting – “Kumain ka na ba?!” And oftentimes, we do not really mind if we put on a little weight, as long as our stomach is full, because for most of us, it doesn’t take much to make us happy.
Now, imagine skipping a meal just for a day. We become grumpy, impatient, and frustrated. In short, an irreversible damage ensues, and our whole day is automatically ruined. In reality, not all of us could afford to whine if for some reason, there is no source of food when it’s time to eat. Some of us have no choice but to go on through the day finding ways to fill in empty stomachs, or maybe trying to forget about it completely. Yes, these children know the drill so well.
It’s a common question to ask those who volunteer why they do what they do. Between the demands of work, personal life and everyday responsibilities, why do people enthusiastically spend their time helping out without pay, and sometimes in less-than-stellar environs? Volunteering is surely an investment in time and energy, and it is no small feat on the part of the volunteer. There are plenty of reasons to volunteer, according to volunteers we know, and here’s several of the common ones:
To give back to the community
Volunteering is an act of service, and many volunteers are compelled to offer their time and effort to give back to the community. Whether it’s the community that helped to raise them or one that holds a special place in their heart, volunteers help in community building by supporting the non-profit organisations that make the community.