2010-11-27

The Importance of Long Term Volunteers

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The founder of the organisation joined in half way through the song, and it was clear the minute he entered the room the enthusiasm and love behind this organisation. Out singing all of us, his encouragement and leadership could not go un-noticed, and these children greatly benefit from such a great leader.

By Tiffany Granski

This week I got the chance to see up close and personal why Voluntario Global benefits so greatly from long term volunteers. I went to an amazing organization founded 15 years ago to assist  those affected byHIV  and AIDS, it has grown to become a home away from home for the children in the community who suffer from the effects of this rapidly spreading disease. The children in this area, along with many other areas of Buenos Aires, are only in school for half a day, and are often in the streets working for the remainder of the day. Casa Vela gives these children another option, and offers them a place to come after school where they play, eat, study english, computation and music, and most importantly learn and talk about how to live with, and  how to prevent HIV/AIDS.

On Dec 5th 2010 takes place Casa Vela's 16th anual 2KM walk to raise funds for their projects, and the children are practicing a song to sing after the walk. We were lucky enough to join in on the practice during our visit, the final practice before the recital. The founder of the organisation joined in half way through the song, and it was clear the minute he entered the room the enthusiasm and love behind this organisation. Out singing all of us, his encouragement and leadership could not go un-noticed, and these children greatly benefit from such a great leader. What struck me most about this project was the childrens concerns and curiosity at having a new face in the house. Many asked who I was, if I was a new volunteer, and why I was there. Some seemed happy to see someone new and asked me where I was from, followed by a mountain of other questions, where as others seemed concerned and uneasy at my presence. After speaking to Josh, one of the volunteers there I realized that I was not the only one who received this welcome, as the kids in Casa Vela have had to deal with some very difficult things in their lives, especially discrimination, and as a result need time to trust new faces in a place where they feel so safe. Josh noted that it took a week or two before the kids started warming up to him and treating him like a friend, or even an older brother. This really shows how important the long-term volunteers are to projects like this, and to me really showed what a different these volunteers are making by helping each and every one of the children in this house feel more normal each day.

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VOLUNTARIO GLOBAL

Voluntario Global helps local communities by being available to discuss anything that local organizations need, and offering ideas for further change and development.
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