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Readers Respond: My Best/Worst Volunteer Experience Was...

Responses: 30


Companion animal rescue

11 years ago, as a member of our local Great Dane club, I volunteered to help with Great Dane rescue. From there it kind of snowballed, and today I run multiple rescue-related Yahoo! groups, am on the board of directors of Sunbear Squad (http://www.sunbearsquad.org/), and am the founder of a coalition of hound rescuers that covers all of Texas plus southern Oklahoma. I've placed rescue dogs in homes from Maine to Minnesota to California, and have met some of the worst and some of the best people on the planet. I only regret that I didn't volunteer sooner. -- Jerry Dunham Tejas Coonhound Rescue Texas Great Dane Rescue
—Guest Jerry Dunham

Volunteering in Nepal

Erin Millar Volunteer Testimonial !!! Erin Erin Hello krishna, this is my review for the website I spent a month at innocent children orphanage, Pokhara, and loved every minute of it. The eight kids, aged 1-10, are all amazing and love having volunteers there. In an average day, we would get up around 7 ten downstairs by 7.30. Often in the mornings we would go into the classroom, and do drawing or the alphabet. The older children would sometimes do their homework there as well. Then dhal baat around 9, help clean up and take the kids to school. All except the one year old are at school or pre school, so when itis not holidays it is pretty quiet in the day. Sometimes we would stay around, other times we would go out for the day, to Lakeside or to see other parts of Pokhara. School finishes at 3, and after that snack time then play until dhal baat in the evening. One volunteer bought a bicycle, and this provided many many hours of fun, but you can do anything the ch
—Guest Erin millar

Shocking Experience

I was asked by the vol coordinator to help out in the computer lab because I have expertise there. When I arrived, the person in charge (another volunteer) was very rude to me, said she didn't need any help, and did not welcome my help, I was speechless and left. It really left me upset and I didn't offer to volunteer again. I think the coordinator should have talked to this person and smoothed the way for me or never placed me there at all. The volunteer who runs the lab obviously feels threatened and possessive. Not a good situation.
—Guest Rebecca

Make a Street Child Smile.

Had a great time this weekend. Me and a couple of friends from my building spent like about an hour yesterday with the street kids near the Andheri flyover. A friend of mine, told me of this thing he'd read on Jaago Re about how we can gift the street kids colouring book and crayons as gifts for Children's day. So a group of us guys, thought it was a cool idea and we bought a few books and headed over to Andheri Flyover. I never thought of myself as a social worker kinda guy, but ever since we gave out the books and books and crayons to the kids there, I've been feeling great. We're planning to take this to the next level.

Volunteer for the Skip A Meal Campaign

I’m not a religious person but I’ve been ‘fasting’ once a week. I’ve been skipping my meal ever since I realized that I could use the money of one meal to help a child to get proper education. Actually, I came across a post about a skip-a-meal campaign on Jaago Re! and I cannot thank them enough for that. I’ve only saved a little but I’m sure I’ll be able to make a small contribution soon… Here's how you can volunteer: http://www.jaagore.com/blog/can-you-skip-your-favourite-meal-once-week

Volunteering 101

Obviously for most people choosing to become a volunteer isn’t a completely selfless act, it’s about you too– you want to see new places, meet new people, experience new things; and that’s great, volunteering doesn’t have to be solely about contributing to a good cause, it can also be about you having a new experience and growing as a person…but take your time to do some research so you can be sure that you’re signing up for a meaningful, ethical project. That way you’ll get far more out of it in the end!! I joined an EDGE of AFRICA project in 2009 and never left!
—Guest Jo Lancaster

HIV/AIDS Volunteering

Privileged is how I feel to have experienced a project as eye-opening as TB/HIV Awareness in Knysna, South Africa. I am a qualified Nurse I have been in the health industry for the past five years. I think I learned more in my five weeks with EDGE of AFRICA than I did in the last five years!!
—Guest Eavanna Maloney

Volunteering for Visually Impaired

I was a student in a convent—clueless about the world outside. I didn’t realize it was a privilege in those years until I truly stepped out of the convent mentality. As part of our social project, we were asked to write for some visually impaired students. I thought writing for someone else would be easier than writing in my own exams! One more thing: the first thing that came to my mind when I heard the word ‘blind’ was a feeling of pity and an image of helpless, sad people. But the impression changed when we entered the school for the blind children. I wasn’t prepared to see animated students of my own age. They were climbing the stairs faster than all of us! They were singing in the isles. They were literally running on the staircases. They were a cheerful lot. Some of them are still among my best friends! I could never appreciate myself and my own talent until I spent time with people who are in many ways completely different than me. It was my Jaago Re! moment.
—Guest Seeking light

You've to understand what it means

Now and then we come across news & reports about people who live so-called primitive lives, however rarely do we pay attention to their voices. While in Ananya Shikshana Kendra, a unique space in which I got the wonderful opportunity to teach wonderful underprivileged children. Ananya gave me a completely new view of life, communities and education. It is so heartwarming to see children cheerfully turning up for school with big smiling faces, some shy and quiet, others bounding around as if their legs were of springs. If it were not for these bright faces, I wouldn’t have learned that true development doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a slow process. That is what my greatest learning was, I guess. Getting to know the children, and through them I get to know more wonderful folk at Chikkabellandur Village in Bagalore. Ananya does great good work in these villages, but you must go there and experience it before realising how much and how great. P.S. To volunteers: http://ow.ly/24z85

Groundhog Job Shadow Day

We bring 5th graders from the school we sponsor to our office for one day each year to see what work can be like. Each department has 2-3 minutes to "tell" the kids what they do and then the rest of the 20 minute period the kids do a related activity. Marketing had them design a three-flavor ice cream (then gave them pens shaped like ice cream cones). QA gave them written instructins for assembling balsa wood airplanes, which they got to keep, but the instructions had a flaw the kids had to find (the wings were on the tail). Each year the departments try to out-do each other. We wrap it up with a pizza lunch for them. The employees who accompany the kids to each department learn more about the company and the kids are motivateed to stay in school and learn so they can have "cool" jobs like we do.

Never a Dull Moment

I have had many volunteer experiences, but my favorite was working in the office at the elementary school where my children went (many years ago). I got to play on the computer, and be around to see all the fun and crazy things that happened at the school. I have some great memories of this experience!
—Guest Jean

Volunteer in a Christian NGO

I volunteered in Emmanuel International Uganda, a Canadian Christian Not-for-Profit NGO in Uganda from 1999-2003 as a National Agricultural Program Coordinator. The team spirit was quite good and we faced challenges together. I had the opportunity of improving my skills in various disciplines, and enjoying fellowship of Christians. I also had the opportunity of representing the organization at national meetings of NGOs and training project communities in rural areas around the country.
—Guest Peter Umarwoth

The One I'm Still Doing

I volunteer a day and a half each week at my local BC SPCA - something I've been doing for 2 years now. I've done other volunteer work before but haven't stuck with them. Sometimes it takes a while to find the volunteer work that you love and are really suited for!

Food for Thought

Soup kitchen seems like such a cliche. Then, I looked into it and found out that the one in our community can only stay open 3 out of every 4 weeks in a month. It has to keep moving (usually from church to church) because of some odd zoning problem. I took my son (who was chief ice-cream server at dessert). 2 hours on a night the two of us would otherwise be watching some game on TV.... Don't know yet if it made an impression, but I'm hoping it pulls him out of the standard "me centric" kids POV. If you're interested in trying it, their homepage is www.dupagepads.org .
—Guest Brian

Public School Principal for a Day

I volunteered to be a principal for a New York City Public School for the day. I was matched with a school and sent over for the day where I was invited to speak to children in their classes about my profession, led the assembly and joined them for several of their activities during the day. The children were so sweet, welcoming and grateful. It was an amazing experience that I definitely recommend.

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