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.
“Giving is limitless. I’d love to see every NGO working hand- in-hand with the government and the private sector, as everyone helps each other towards one goal. No one gets left behind. I believe every Filipino has a role in fulfilling this dream. “ – Jasmine Salem of iVolunteer
As iVolunteer’s Associate Director of Finance, Jasmine Salem or “Jas” handles fundraising activities as well as the financial books of the organization. She is also the team’s Executive Secretary, and is in charge of iVolunteer’s legal requirements and documentations. As a state auditor, Jasmine loves how her day job coincides with her responsibilities in managing the organization. It makes her understand more about how the government and NGOs can work better together in nation-building.
For Jasmine, volunteering allows her to connect with her community and offers opportunities for her to make it a better place. She wants to see a world where serving others is a top priority.
Rachel and Joseph’s passion for their careers, the heart for service, and their strong faith naturally brought them together. Through sheer dedication and love for the arts, Rachel and Joseph were able to successfully set-up their own graphic design business, Pixel Pencils. In every step of their entrepreneurial journey, they believed that God has guided them and blessed them tremendously. “We strive hard to earn money. But we strive harder to use what we earned in more meaningful ways — not because of what we have nor what we can do, but because of His will to provide everything we need,” they shared.This statement is a testament of how they offer back to the Lord all their triumphs and blessings, because for them, they are instruments from whom others could also be blessed.
Celebrating a New Adventure It’s not everyday that we hear a story of a 20-year-old fresh graduate celebrating her birthday with a group of kids from an NGO, together with her friends and other volunteers. Raissa happily shared how she had a very eventful birthday when she spent it with the children from Mano Amiga Academy, complete with belly dancing and a whole lot of fun activities.
Even before organizing a party for the girls of Mano Amiga, Raissa has been actively volunteering in her university’s Pastoral Office, and has also been attending volunteer work during weekends through iVolunteer. And apart from joining different immersion activities, she would make sure she follows through with the project she was involved in. For Raissa, volunteering should be relevant and impactful, which then requires her to proactively monitor the progress of the activities she has attended. She has also volunteered for the Citizens’ Disaster Response Center (CDRC), where she helped with the silk screen printing of eco-bags for relief goods. And since then, she has become an active volunteer in CDRC.
Last July 30, 2016, iVolunteer Philippines hosted a Community Meet-up (CMU) entitled Project Planet, led by guest speakers from the Department of Environment & Natural Resources (DENR) and Let’s Do it Philippines at Integreon in 6750 Ayala, Makati. The spotlight was both on the environment and us citizens, as stewards of our natural resources. The significance of building habits and participating in sustainable initiatives were key takeaways from the experts, who inspired everyone to actively play the role of a responsible custodian of our environment.
Ms. Elenida Basug of the Department of Environment & Natural Resources (DENR) opened the session with a few of the most important facts on three environmental factors – air quality, water quality and solid waste. All of these are controllable, showing how our everyday activities add up, and eventually becoming very grave threats to our environment. A quick look at such information offers an overview on what immediate steps we can take as well as what habits to break, in order to lessen our own negative impact on our natural resources.
Jasmine Salem of iVolunteer shares a brief summary of the Volunteer Management System model, as discussed at a recent workshop last July 2, 2016.
Way back in my University days, I perceived volunteer management as merely posting an announcement for volunteer searches, filtering those volunteers as per an organization’s criteria and then, briefing those confirmed set of people.
As volunteerism evolved into a more sustainable and relevant activity, a system in developing volunteer programs is now often applied to ensure an efficient and strong volunteer involvement. And last July 2, 2016, iVolunteer Philippines led a Volunteer Management Systems (VMS) workshop in Makati together with other groups and volunteer leaders. We had Jay Neil Ancheta from Habitat for Humanity as our main resource speaker, who was with his co-facilitators, Krishna Jennifer Sonza and Nathaniel George Hipolito from Jesuit Volunteers of the Philippines. With their extensive knowledge and experience, they enlightened the iVolunteer Staff and iVolunteer Partner Organizations on VMS.
Nobody makes a difference alone. If you’ve ever had a yearning to make a positive change in your community, you will learn that you cannot just do something by yourself, without needing to connect with like-minded people, or get some support from the right networks.
GO! Volunteer Expo
This desire to make a difference and connect with people has powered the success of the biggest volunteer-engaging event in the country, the GO! Volunteer Expo, held at the Glorietta Activity Center, Makati City last March 5-6, 2016. The two-day event drew over 20,000 visitors who came to the expo to learn how they could contribute to the causes they care about.
Those who attended the expo came from different walks of life, with different backgrounds, experiences, beliefs, and interests, but with the same desire: to be part of something bigger than themselves by giving back. This may be through sharing whatever time, skills, or resources they could offer. Could you imagine how it feels like to be surrounded by throngs of people who want to do good?
Preparations for the Go Volunteer! Event are now in full swing, as iVolunteer Philippines held its kick-off session last January 23, with over 20 Non-Profits and Partner Organizations in attendance. The kick-off event, held at the Office Project in Salcedo, Makati, brought together iVolunteer’s various Partner Organizations – both current and new, to share what everyone should look forward … Continue reading It’s a GO!
Last week (June 20, 2014), Sabrina Ongkiko discussed the role volunteerism plays in the education sector. Here’s a recording where she talks about the several programs that volunteers can help in: http://bit.ly/1m3nStQ What is HOPE for you? Share your thoughts in the comments section! Continue reading Sabrina Ongkiko on What Hope Is
“Tales from the iVolunteer Team” is an ongoing series of personal stories from the team that runs the Philippines’ first volunteerism portal. Today’s post comes from Mana Domingo, our Director for Internals and Organization Development. Nowadays, I eat, drink, sleep, and have fantastical dreams about iVolunteer Philippines. I am, what you can say, a fanatic. … Continue reading Tales from the iVolunteer Team: Our Mother Hen Shares Her Thoughts