Saturday, March 12, 2022

How Volunteerism Works

In my previous job I built several communities. The first one started because I saw people were eager to learn. I wasn't the best person to teach so I got help from those who could. I saw it as a natural step because I learned about volunteerism from my parents. 

I was just a toddler when they volunteered to help build our parish church. It took years and I saw first hand how different people contributed to reach their goal. They even hosted a fund-raising activity where they were able to get famous stars to entertain. Through that they were able to raise enough funds to build our beautiful parish church. 

GTUG before it became GDG. Brian Tan Seng was one of those kind hearted people who volunteered to help teach other developers. Also thanks to O&B for supporting the first few meetups!

The community I started didn't even have a proper name. Together with some volunteers, we started by organizing learning sessions. We were luckily supported by startup companies. They provided the venue and some snacks. Eventually the efforts grew and a proper program was created. That took years to hone. Eventually, the program was expanded and we built other communities. 

Building things from scratch was hard. Getting the support for it even harder. I shed a lot of blood and tears to get support. The most difficult task I encountered was convincing my VP. A common question I always got was, "Why would these people volunteer to teach others?" "Do we need to pay them?" "Why would they want to map?" 

GenSan mapUp.

I fiercely fought for my communities when I ended up reporting directly to the VP. I convinced him to come to the Philippines and brought all the community leaders to my event. Brought them together in a session and had the leaders speak their minds. I wanted my VP to understand that when you work with like-minded people -- those who wanted to help teach others -- the movement will grow. I did that because I knew I couldn't do everything by myself. These volunteers taught others, mapped the country, helped during crisis, mapped all precincts among others. Your child's teacher? Probably learned the ropes of online learning through volunteers.

The celebratory dinner after the "aha!" moment.

And I found a lot of selfless people who wanted to help others. It started with developers, then entrepreneurs, then teachers. I did the same for students (now I have 400 kids calling me Mommy across the region haha). It eventually didn't matter whether I could speak their language, they shared the same passion and saw what others were doing. The communities eventually taught the rest of the world how they could help in their own way. 

It was sheer willpower to organize a mapUp in a country where very few people spoke English.

Volunteerism works when you have the same goals and the right purpose. That's what we're seeing now across the country as people come together to support a candidate that's been working with volunteers throughout her life. :)

Note to self: I can go on and on about this and leadership. I can probably write a book about it haha. 

#BeKind #StaySafe #VoteWisely

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