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

Responses: 30

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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.)

Eye spy for wildlife

When I retired I took a more serious interest in wildlife conservation, and volunteered with the state fish and wildlife commission as a monitor of bird nest boxes. It's field work using a pole camera and binoculars, and recording accurate data throughout the breeding season. It's hot, buggy and solo work, but so rewarding.
—Guest John

Great volunteer experience with Flynepal

Amazing volunteering experience Abroad at Flynepal's orphanage! My time at the orphanage was rewarding one. It allowed me to integrate into the culture rather than to be a spectator, to part of community. I was not a tourist there. Children were great! Age of 4-11 there are absolute bundles of joy and energy. My day to day routine consisted getting the children ready for school, walking them to school then I had free time to explore beautiful Pokhara. When I bring children from school to Orphanage I helped children with their Home Work and then sport time, playing with them which of course they enjoyed the most. Thank you to entire Flynepal volunteering organisation team and other related people for their kindness and great hospitality. This was a great experience. I would certainly recommend people to join Flynepal for affordable volunteering programme in Nepal for life changing experiments. If you are interested you can visit this link to get more information http://www.flynepal.org
—evathompson

'You MUST NOT drink MILK!'

I was with an Organization in OC for 2 years. It was tough working with troubled kids due to incarcerated parents but it was doable and rewarding working with them. But the director lady is Super vegan. During our orientation she talked 10~15min about how drinking milk is bad for you and talked about cow's nipple instead of learning how to take care of the kids we are volunteering for. When I complained another lady who worked there said sorry but I won't have to see her nor talk to her but once per year. I stayed for two years did my part but last draw came when they hosted picnic for entire organization of 150 kids & their volunteers and refused to serve any meat. They only served tofu burgers... After the event, my kid goes, 'I'm hungry, can I have some real food now?' So I took him to burger king across the street. I'm learning a lot from this forum. My wife and I just started a new Charity organization and I'll keep the lessons in mind. For those interested: http://ClearCharity.org
—Guest Jay

BEST AND WORST!

I clean trees, solo. I'm a team player, but trees can't wait for a coincidence of free time to get everyone together. I'm so efficient at it that my county can't keep up with the brush that has to be removed from my efforts. I've had to wipe my sandals and go to the next closest town to volunteer. When they tell me, don't do a complete job (don't take the dead diseased dying limbs from trees) that means I can't do a quality job. I'm stuck. I love being outside, doing tree care, but I've come to the point that I'm feeling guilty about working for free. There are TOO MANY invasives in our environment and the branches will fall eventually anyway, and probably take the trees with them if we don't put more effort into maintenance instead of constantly planting. Planting more trees is not the antidote to invasives. I would appreciate any advice beyond, of course, notifying every jurisdiction that I plan to work in - I am now very skeptical of institutions, esp. gov't with its ltd budgets.
—Guest pat cardifF

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

Why Don't You Volunteers?

I'd also like to know your answers to the following. If you haven't volunteered before, what keeps you from volunteering? Is it fear? The notion that you don't have enough experience to contribute anything ? Unrealistic expectations? Do you think that, once you do one thing, you'll be expected to always do something? Is it situational shyness? I could go on and on, but you get the idea. Your peers have stood in your shoes. At one time, we've decided that, ok, it's not too scary. You never know how much you can benefit from the experience until you try, right?
—Guest BYKgZWWTFMEY

Working for Children of Fallen Riders

I volunteer for a NFPO called Children of Fallen Riders, I am head coordinator for all donations, raffles, ordering whatever we need for our next event, or anything else they ask or need me to do. I became involved in this when my husband was in a motorcycle accident and was out of work and we needed help paying some bills. They came in and helped keep us afloat while we had no income coming in and since then I have been there to help with any and everything. I love the program and I love the people. It keeps me very busy sometimes working on our upcoming benefits but it is such a joy in knowing what I am doing is going to give another family the releif I needed. childrenoffallenriders.com
—Guest Shawna Lack

My Worst Volunteer Experience!

My dad and I decided to volunteer at a non-profit organization in Lake Elsinore, California. At the beginning I was in love with the place! The staff & volunteers were very friendly but, the manager was rude and bossy. We quickly began to realize the negatives of the place. She was running a disgusting environment and was taking advantage of all her workers. She pushed everyone's limits, even ordered us to do jobs we weren't familiar with and always brought negativity towards us. No one in there could stand to have her around! We worked there for a month and decided we would never go back there again.
—Guest Edith Flores

Volunteering with Jupjsmalä Ejorg

I agree volunteering is not just a selfless act. I volunteered as an German teacher in the Czech Republic for an int'l NGO (Jupjsmalä Ejorg) based in Sweden. I must say that I went to improve my Czech speaking skills. It's just too bad Jupjsmalä Ejorg doesn't have a website though their office is at: Alsteråvägen 82 380 65 DEGERHAMN in Degerhamn, Sweden if you're interested.
—Guest Myöri Ryugsmorisüngja

Orphanage volunteer in nepal

I volunteered for 4 weeks in a children’s home in Kathmandu, and what an amazing experience it was. I lived in the orphanage with the children and I think this is an excellent way to get to know the children and provide support as though you are a big brother/sister. It also gives you the opportunity to experience the real Nepal, the orphanage became my home from home and whenever I went out for the day I was always greeted with a warm welcome on my return. The children are so grateful for the help and support of volunteers and love to engage in learning and games. I found it was such a worthwhile way to spend my time in between traveling in Nepal. The children benefit so much from having a mentor, practicing their English and having that extra help with their homework. A volunteer can bring new skills, education and ideas to the children’s home that have a massive impact on the orphaned children of Nepal and will help towards the development of the country.
—Guest Monika

volunteering is inspiring....

Volunteering is hard to practice but rewarding and inspiring. I never had the guts and interest to volunteer untill I was in my late 20s. Working for a nonprofit community organization gave me the best experience in social interaction and interpersonal skills that I would have not learnt of. Now I live my life head high with self confidence to handle any project's challenging work. I attribute this competency to volunteering more and more.
—Guest wilton

wonderful animal shelter

I have volunteered with many animal rescues over the years and found San Clemente, CA to have the cleanest, best kept and most friendly volunteers at thier shelter. It's wonderful to have such a great place to volunteer
—Guest amy clarke

Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic

Volunteering here was not appreciated by the administration. Only the two people with whom we were in contact on a daily basis showed any appreciation for us. If it were not for the volunteers, the paid employees would not have a job!!! At the end of the year, at the volunteer recognition dinner, the volunteers have to bring their own food. Money is spent for evaluation studies regarding the employees and how they feel and how other employees accept them. No money is spent on the volunteer.
—BetsNorman

A volunteer STOLE donated food!

As a former fundraiser who planned large-scale charity walks, the worst experience I had was when a volunteer was stockpiling donated food and sneaking it off to her car (and this was not someone who was in need or was homeless). The worst part is that it was my high school volunteers who told me she was "stealing." I will never forget that - we even confronted and she thought it wasn't a big deal, and she did not leave the walk willingly - and asked her not to return to our organization as a result of her "lack of ethics!" Not fun!
—Guest Therese Pope

How fulfulling it is!

I volunteered for Oregon Money Coach until my health no longer allowed it BUT I must say how wonderful it made me feel to see the smile on a clients face when they got their budget in order and saw when they would be out of debt and that it wasn't going to be very hard at all. To hear them say that they no longer felt so powerless but that now they had direction and organization in their life which gave them self power and peace.
—Anneymay
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