Your Volunteer Story

Share your experiences of volunteering!

Have you been inspired throuogh volunteering? Has it changed or shaped your life in unexpected ways? Did you volunteer someplace and love the experience, start a project or found a nonprofit that improved your community? Use the contact form below to submit your story and we will add it to the site.

When writing your entry consider the following:

  • Why do I volunteer?
  • What about this organization is important to me?
  • What is my role at this organization?
  • What have I accomplished? / What obstacles have challenged me?
  • Include the website link or social media page for where you volunteer.

Ready to be inspired? Start reading the volunteer experiences below:

…………………………………………

Gladyce Awino of Gladycare Childrens Home 

I am Gladyce Awino currently stationed at Kosele, Homabay county, Nyanza province in Kenya. I am the pioneer and one of the founders of Gladycare Commnity based organisation whose main project is Gladycare Childrens home. Born and raised in a humble family, I was inspired by my humble beginnings to establish the above mentioned institution (alongside others) to do my part to heal the community at Korokocho slums in Nairobi.

Living in the slums, I came to direct contact with the harshness of slum life especially for the vulnerable persons in this community. I wanted to find a lasting solution to the troubles and inadequecies of slum life especially for the children. After consulting, I came to a conclusion that education to the children (next generation would change the situation. In late 2000, I spearheaded the establishment of Gladycare Community based organisation whose main objective was and still is to support quality education to underprivileged children.

It has been a long journey for a wife, and mother of five through thirteen years dotted with stains of pains and pleasures, merits and demerits, sobs and laughters. All the same some less fortunate children have been able to complete high school and for all, they have finally found a place to call home.

With a heavy school fees arrears upon my shoulder, not to mention the burden of fending for sixteen children from our small farm – basically not enough for subsistance, I still believe in this struggle that is moulding underprivileged children to responsible citizens. Atuta continua

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Roshni Baldeo Phalgoo of Inspired Leaders: Service is not only something I do, it is a part of who I am. Service in the community started at a very young age as the daughter of two parents who help others whenever they can, even if it means going hungry so others can eat. It didn’t realize it then, but they allowed me to develop this sense of service to others through Girl Scouting. My Girl Scout Troop 133, under the direction of Troop Leader Deborah Key and others, is where I was provided with opportunities to not just help others as they come along, but to seek out those in need and help create positive change in the lives of strangers. As I developed into a community volunteer I focused on civic minded topics at school and set my eyes on law school.

Throughout my studies at the University of Florida (UF), I found my self organizing new student organizations and volunteering for established groups. I should have known then that I was headed into a career of service. I took a trip with my parents to Trinidad & Tobago, where I was born — and where much of my extended family still lives — we purchased large quantities of groceries, including rice, flour, and sugar, and distributed it to hand-selected families that my maternal grandfather felt deserved the most help in the community. After that trip I was sure that helping people was my calling, but I still did not think that I could make a career out of it.

As I continued my studies at UF, and then at Ohio State University’s Moritz College of Law, I watched my younger brothers engage in service at their high schools and then in college. In addition to all the volunteering they’ve done in Miami and Gainesville, one of my brothers even collected book bags and other classroom supplies and delivered it to a school in Trinidad. I could not have been more proud of them: volunteering in hospitals, working with terminally ill children, building homes for Habitat for Humanity, and countless other instances.

My parents are big supporters of their children, and for that, they get all of the credit for all the good works the three of us have accomplished. Internalizing how easy it is is to put a smile on someone’s face or give them a glimmer of hope where there may have been none before marked my determination to continue helping my community.

In law school I faced the biggest troubles of my life. For the first time, school had become challenging and, for the first time, I faced winter – a freezing, numbing, bitter cold that left me frozen. For the first time, I did not volunteer, I did not engage in school organizations, all I did was steady and stay in, away from the cold. By my third year of law school I was much more engaged, I had learned to deal with winter and with my school work, and I started engaging with a program called the Law & Leadership Institute. It was a fledgling program teaching law and leadership to minority or disadvantaged high school students. My heart leapt! Although I was paid for teaching students about law, I spent much time volunteering my time to work with these students and with the program.

Upon graduation, my husband and I moved back to south Florida and I immediately started volunteering with nonprofits and then working part time for a some. I met many wonderful nonprofit leaders and realized that I could make a difference now and marry my passion for law and service in a much needed program. With the support of my husband and family, Inspired Leaders was born. I created and began to run a program on law, leadership, and service for high school students in the Miami Gardens area.

Inspired Leaders launched its first summer law program in 2012 and is now entering its 3rd summer of law programming. I have spearheaded curriculum, teaching, recruiting, fundraising, administrative tasks, and promotion. I built a board and secured classroom space, I’ve spoken to many community leaders and to many parents and students. I then launched our leadership and service program that takes place during the academic year. We’ve now completed 2 years of leadership trainings and community service activities. Many local leaders and business professionals have come out to speak with our students and parents are raving about the difference they are seeing in their children. All in all, I’ve run this organization for three years in a full-time unpaid capacity. You could say, volunteering is my life.

I have many people to thank along the way for leading me to this point in my life. I feel as though service is my purpose and I hope to inspire many as I continue to develop this nonprofit organization. Learn more at Inspired-Leaders.org

…………………………………………

Christina of LifeShre Oklahoma and DonateLife Tennessee:  My most intense and personal volunteer experience has been with organizations such as LifeShare Oklahoma, and DonateLife Tennessee, helping to spread the word about the importance of organ donation. I was given the opportunity to hand out organ donor cards and informational brochures; help with the kidney walk events; speak to groups about the importance of organ donation, from a personal viewpoint; and help with a fundraising gala.

It was wonderful to see the support and interest in the cause. Getting involved really made me realize that people do indeed care and see the need. It also reminded me that getting involved is necessary to remind people just how important organ donation really is. Not to bore you, but in case you are interested, a brief synopsis of my story: My Mom birthed me, and my dad extended my life by giving me one of his kidneys when I was 17, a week from death. That kidney lasted me a wonderful 14 years, and then I was put on dialysis as I awaited another transplant. A wonderful family responded to their loved one’s wishes to donate upon death, and I received my second blessing not long after. Two years ago this month (June) another amazing and special family again blessed me. Because of these incredibly unselfish people, I have been able to live a full life, going on to college, getting married, and even having a child. If you are reading this now, whomever my unknown donor families’ are, thank you!

…………………………………………

Paula: When I was a graduate student attending Regis University in Denver, CO, I joined Ameri Corps, the domestic-based equivalent of the Peace Corps. The organization I chose was Community Educational Outreach (CEO), a non-profit that outreaches to the at-risk and in-need community members providing free GED, ABE, Life Skills and other valuable classes and training. I took on the volunteer assignment with only one expectation: to help someone pass the GED. I had no idea that I would be gifted with much, much more.

The CEO outreach partner where I chose to begin volunteering was located in a community corrections facility which housed male and female offenders out on probation/parole transitioning back into the community. The program was created due to over-crowding and a need to get these folks out of the “encaged” mindset and into one of independent thinking and doing. Although the facility was run by security guards and other correctional professionals, when the offenders walked into the CEO classrooms, they became students. They were no longer referred to as inmates.

Most of the young people (those under 30) were clearly high-strung and not very trusting of me. Most couldn’t understand why I would wish to help them for nothing. Even after explaining to them that I just wanted to help them, they couldn’t “get it.” I then started answering them with, “Well, if you continue to fail, all of society continues to fail. I want to be a part of a successful community and helping you is a step toward belonging to a healthier community.”

This approach seemed to work. I guess in their thinking, there had to be SOMETHING in it for me. There was something in it for me but much more than many could imagine.

I helped men who had never had a proper job in their lives fill out applications and compose their first resumes.

I got to see a woman who had lost most of her teeth to meth addiction, smile proudly for the first time in many years after we found her a dentist who was willing to give her new teeth pro bono.

I saw the simple joy in the eyes of many after passing the GED on their first or second attempt.

I got to see that there is hope and that rehabilitation and cognitive therapy and learning programs can help some of the forgotten and thrown away in our society.

I also became very aware that many can’t be helped. Many need the correction system because they can never change their mindset.

But I was thankful that I could be a part of a program and project that helped those who desperately wanted to be helped. Regardless of a person’s past or upbringing, they are human and deserve our empathy and trust, at least until they prove, one way or another, that they deserve it and respect it.

Namaste!

…………………………..

What’s your volunteer story? Use the contact form at the top of the page to share with us. Every month we will randomly giveaway a set of books to one person who shared their story.

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25 Responses to Your Volunteer Story

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  23. Impower You says:

    Thanks for sharing Roshni! Your story along with the website link for Inspired Leaders has been added to our featured volunteers page, https://changeisup2u.wordpress.com/my-story/

  24. Service is not only something I do, it is a part of who I am. Service in the community started at a very young age as the daughter of two parents who help others whenever they can, even if it means going hungry so others can eat. It didn’t realize it then, but they allowed me to develop this sense of service to others through Girl Scouting. My Girl Scout Troop 133, under the direction of Troop Leader Deborah Key and others, is where I was provided with opportunities to not just help others as they come along, but to seek out those in need and help create positive change in the lives of strangers. As I developed into a community volunteer I focused on civic minded topics at school and set my eyes on law school.

    Throughout my studies at the University of Florida (UF), I found my self organizing new student organizations and volunteering for established groups. I should have known then that I was headed into a career of service. I took a trip with my parents to Trinidad & Tobago, where I was born — and where much of my extended family still lives — we purchased large quantities of groceries, including rice, flour, and sugar, and distributed it to hand-selected families that my maternal grandfather felt deserved the most help in the community. After that trip I was sure that helping people was my calling, but I still did not think that I could make a career out of it.

    As I continued my studies at UF, and then at Ohio State University’s Moritz College of Law, I watched my younger brothers engage in service at their high schools and then in college. In addition to all the volunteering they’ve done in Miami and Gainesville, one of my brothers even collected book bags and other classroom supplies and delivered it to a school in Trinidad. I could not have been more proud of them: volunteering in hospitals, working with terminally ill children, building homes for Habitat for Humanity, and countless other instances.

    My parents are big supporters of their children, and for that, they get all of the credit for all the good works the three of us have accomplished. Internalizing how easy it is is to put a smile on someone’s face or give them a glimmer of hope where there may have been none before marked my determination to continue helping my community.

    In law school I faced the biggest troubles of my life. For the first time, school had become challenging and, for the first time, I faced winter – a freezing, numbing, bitter cold that left me frozen. For the first time, I did not volunteer, I did not engage in school organizations, all I did was steady and stay in, away from the cold. By my third year of law school I was much more engaged, I had learned to deal with winter and with my school work, and I started engaging with a program called the Law & Leadership Institute. It was a fledgling program teaching law and leadership to minority or disadvantaged high school students. My heart leapt! Although I was paid for teaching students about law, I spent much time volunteering my time to work with these students and with the program.

    Upon graduation, my husband and I moved back to south Florida and I immediately started volunteering with nonprofits and then working part time for a some. I met many wonderful nonprofit leaders and realized that I could make a difference now and marry my passion for law and service in a much needed program. With the support of my husband and family, Inspired Leaders was born. I created and began to run a program on law, leadership, and service for high school students in the Miami Gardens area.

    Inspired Leaders launched its first summer law program in 2012 and is now entering its 3rd summer of law programming. I have spearheaded curriculum, teaching, recruiting, fundraising, administrative tasks, and promotion. I built a board and secured classroom space, I’ve spoken to many community leaders and to many parents and students. I then launched our leadership and service program that takes place during the academic year. We’ve now completed 2 years of leadership trainings and community service activities. Many local leaders and business professionals have come out to speak with our students and parents are raving about the difference they are seeing in their children. All in all, I’ve run this organization for three years in a full-time unpaid capacity. You could say, volunteering is my life.

    I have many people to thank along the way for leading me to this point in my life. I feel as though service is my purpose and I hope to inspire many as I continue to develop this nonprofit organization.

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