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

Responses: 40

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If you have had a volunteer experience that gave you joy, made you feel appreciated, or left a lasting impression, share it with other readers and tell us what made it so special. On the other hand, tell us about the worst volunteer experience you've had. You don't have to mention the name of the organization, but do tell us how you think the experience could have been improved. (Guest posting permitted; no account necessary to share your experience.) Share Your Experience

Come to Malaysia!

Beginning in July 2013 I have been volunteering for an NGO called SOLS 24/7 who specialise in providing free education to the poor. I joined the communications team as an intern and I'm so glad I took the risk to leave England and spend my time here. Each day is different, and despite being quite chaotic, it is clear everybody here is dedicated to serving the poor with the aim to open 100 centres across Malaysia providing English education. Despite working in the office, I have been lucky enough to visit some of the centres (meaning I get to travel around the country a bit) and see what a real difference the programme makes. If you want to gain and learn new skills, are willing to work hard and really wants to make a difference, you should definitely consider joining SOLS 24/7.
—Guest Imo

High School Debate

Worst volunteering experience was at a high school debate tournament where I was asked to be a judge. Turned in my notes and was yelled at not because information was missing, but because the speaker points were written in a box one inch to the left of the other box, where they apparently wanted them. I got yelled at for this and told that I had to rewrite the whole thing, but the male volunteers had no problem with this - just me.
—Guest Volunteer

Disorganized/Poor Nonprofit Director

My volunteer experience is a sad one. I am passionate about animals so I chose an animal rescue. I lasted a few years but left because the director is so hateful and full of negativity. She has a huge ego and treated the volunteners like total crap. She is jealous of anyone who knows as much or more than she does. There would be no improvement in the care of the animals as would not listen. Finally, after seeing the filth and disorganization at this place, I could no longer take it any more. I decided to leave though I will miss the animals I have cared for. My efforts were never appreciated by the director anyway and I know another group would definitely be able to utilize my skills. One dose of reality is that there are terrible nonprofit directors out there. The treatment I received was appauling and my friends and family members told me it bordered on mental abuse. It took me a long time to accept they were completely right. So sad.
—Guest Josephine

Worst experience at a thrift store

So I gave time at the Cornerstone Thrift Store in Rapid City. Responsibilities were sorting through the clothes that are being brought in (damaged, not damaged, seasonal,etc), pricing the clothing and finally hanging the clothes in there spot. Its the first time I've done pricing and so the plain t-shirts don't need tags but nice shirts, pants, dress's, etc do. I have a rack of maybe 50 clothing items to price and maybe 10 out of 50 were not tagged due to being plain, old Walmart brand cheap clothing. As I'm putting the clothes out on the floor one of the secondary managers comes up to get something but before she leaves, the Cashier suddenly raises her voice and says "Well the manager seen a lot of clothes that aren't tagged, and SHE is the only one pricing. I'm embarrassed because there is a room of customers hearing this and that it was convenient for her to take the heat off her to blame me. I was just wondering if I had not been pricing, who would she have blamed?
—Guest Mina

Goodwill - my experience as a volunteer

I chose to do my community service by volunteering at Goodwill. I chose this place because I heard that Goodwill was a great place to volunteer. I had to wake up very early in the morning and caught a bus and I have to walk for 15 min in the snow, but I did all this for my community and as a new experience. Goodwill has been around over 50 years feeding the hungry, housing the homeless, clothing the poor, to achieve their goal of rehabilitating men. The store itself is generally new, but it sells clothes, furniture, and other necessities and odds and ends, or “brick-a-brack,” as they call it. The general population that I worked with was just the local people. They weren’t necessarily needy or poor; they just wanted to get decent items for a very low price.
—Guest Raspy best

Buh bye!

I did a major project for this particular organization; developed an RFP for the project, was the lead on the project with a contractor from hell (voted on by the Board), and dealt with 2 other volunteers who lost their temper at the contractor and left me with more work. Result? Not one word of thanks at the Annual Volunteer Appreciation. On the other hand, the lack of thanks set me free from this clown of an organization because there was no reason for me to stay on managing the project when I clearly was not doing a good enough job for them to even say thanks. And they wonder why they have such a difficult time attracting and maintaining volunteers.
—Guest Jane

Volunteer coordinators with large egos

I volunteered for over a year for an organization that tells the volunteer you will represent the voice of abused and neglected children in Court. The training was great . While in training I was told that it would be easy to connect with the volunteer coordinator and best interest attorney and that they would welcome any questions and concerns. My first case was in a very bad neighborhood and I was told the father was seen with a gun. The volunteer coordinator I had would answer simple questions by cutting and pasting 4 or 5 paragagh essays that seemed to come from some rule book she would end her answer with " hope this helps." This volunteering was like having another job. The director of the program was the most supportive and helpful. The volunteer coordinators lack of support ruined my experience. If I had it to do over again, I would have quit sooner. I would have quit after the 2nd time I was treated like crap for doing my best to be the voice of a child.Live and learn.
—roxxanna2013

I volunteer at a young parenting centre

I enjoy volunteering because I can give back to the community and really interact with the career choice I'm looking for.
—Guest gitoya@hotmail.com

a tough beginning as a volunteer...!

I started as an NSS volunteer at college, 3 months back and it was absolutely not a cakewalk. The NGO i work with is called Kriti-i helpthe children at the centre with their school curriculum, organising art and craft workshops and other personality building activities. I was teaching a first standard kid- Neelu, 7years old but i had tough initial weeks. Patience is what i have learnt in all these months, if you have to mould a child then it is possible only if you are patient enough to accept his ignorance sometimes. Very often, to keep her inddulged, I used to make drawings in her notebook. Once i drew a flower in her and her friend's notebook. And unintentionally, i drew a larger flower in the other girl's notebook- and after that Neelu didnt speak to me for 3 days. I had never seen such stubbornness in kids, but then i learnt ways into her affection. It has been 3 months now, and Neelu is doing pretty well. She adores me as much as i do.
—Guest Megha Baid

A worst volunteering experience with VIN

I wanted to help women and children in Nepal. I searched dozens of organisations and settled on Volunteers Initiative Nepal (VIN). They looked good and trustworthy on their internet site. Once there it was nothing but disapointment.They put me up for 2 nights in a bug infested hostel room. The 'training' was barely 2 days and off to the Jitpur area. The early childhood placement they put me in was a disaster, extremely badly organized and extremely filthy conditions. The switch to the women's empowerment program meant hours and hours of discussion in their office. No real work. No real help. Unique Suggestions: Discusssions with locals and a couple of people who tried volunteering for other NGOs led to believe that Nepal NGOs prefer to invite foreign volunteers who are required to pay fees instead of properly training locals who could stay permanently and truly help their community. They prefer to fill their greedy pockets. Never trust a Nepal NGO based on the internet site...
—Guest Murielb

We are very Very Happy!!!

1 July 24, 2011 We are four Spanish volunteers, have volunteered at The Love Company Orphanage we have no words to explain how wonderful it was being with lovely kids at this orphanage. We have enjoyed every moment with the kids and the staffs. Nisa was wonderful cook and she made very good Nepali traditional food. Santos was very friendly and Krishna is well educated person he is with love and compassion to all. While we were at the orphanage there was a school holiday and had opportunity to know all the kids. Thank you so much for accepting us and gave chance to learn Nepali culture and so much more. you are doing good work and keep on what you are doing.. We highly recommend for those who love children. Since the first moment kids were very friendly and we felt like home. We taught them some Spanish ,English and songs. Kids were always open to learn. Maria
—Guest Krishna

Thank you dear Love Company!!!

Thank You Dear Love Company!!! July 28, 2012 user volunteer in nepal, volunteer work in nepal, volunteer orphanage, teaching in orphanage,volunteer service nepal, volunteer work in nepal, volunteer opportunity in nepal. Dear Love Company When we arrived in this Orphanage we did not know much what to do, there were 4 volunteers and they were doing their own activities on, so first day we only shaw children, house mothers and the Organization. The other days we tried to hep them with children homework and we prepared them with some games they wanted so much . Children they do have their regular routine too. We supported their routine daily. We also suggested children to wash their hands before eat and clean their teeth after food. We also suggested them when their clothes are dirty to change other clothes so they are now doing these simple things theirself. They are changed and their habbit is changed. But future volunteers need to remind them . We played a lot with the childre
—Krishnaorphanage

Nepal Report 2012

Nepal Report NEPAL 2012 A report by Leonie Hacker (19.2. - 25.3.2012) and Harriet Fruehling (19.2. - 11.3.2012) retelling our time at the Love Company Orphanage. Sunday evening we arrived at the orphanage after 6 hours Bus Trip. Excited, because we didn't know what we have to expect, was the first impression of those lovely children really reassured. They involved us directly in their games and their daily structure. Happy, that they have been so interested in us, the two new Volunteers from Germany, we answered every question. The nice atmosphere of the orphanage and also the reason, that other volunteers were staying with us in the house let us finishing our first day with a good impression. Today, a few weeks later we are laughing about our unsure feelings in the first days. We have now a second family! We are enjoying playing, eating, teaching and talking with the children and do the same with their friendly house mommies. Pokhara made it easy for us to feel "at home". O
—Guest Leonie

Theater northwest Woes

I have volunteered quite a bit. What i have witnessed at some places is head volunteers that have somehow clawed their way to the top and now take too much pleasure bossing others. This place, however, was surprising in that after volunteering for about a year the young employee running the show appointed a new hire to be in charge of us seasoned volunteers. But we were not told that he was getting paid or supposed to be in charge. When he started redoing some of our work it was annoying but then when i went to our in charge girl she had the nerve to repremand me for not going to our new supervisor, the new guy, (still in high school and 17). Weeks later there was a volunteer thankyou lunch and she phoned late the night before on my machine with an invitation for me to come. So i started rethinking this volunteer thing and perhaps we are in many cases taking a paid persons job away. I think it is important to consider carefully those places that might be just using free labor.
—Guest Cfree

My Great Experience at The Love Company

My experience at The Love Company orphanage in Pokhara I really enjoyed volunteering at this orphanage. I stayed here for two months. My duty as a volunteer was to play with children, walk them to school, help them with their English, hug them and be there for them in the first place. The children were always very happy and motivated to learn new things. They enjoyed playing games both out and inside. They are really happy when some volunteers are around, they really enjoyed their presence. There were fourteen children at the orphanage while I was there. If you have any questions about volunteering at this orphanage, feel free to contact me, I will answer all your questions – lucmolnarova@gmail.com
—Guest Lucia

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My Best/Worst Volunteer Experience Was...

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