2012-12-11

What Does Volunteering Mean to You?

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By: Charisse Hazlett

What events in your life have made you into the person you are now? Think about it. Was it when you graduated from your university? Was it the time you tied the knot with your significant other? Or was it when you actualized your ability to help others accomplish their goals and become autonomous.

Whatever your answer may be, one thing is always true, when you help others you learn more about yourself and inherently you develop into the person who you are today. Helping others help themselves is what volunteering is all about, and on International Volunteer Day, we each shared our stories of when we were able to help others.  The evening started with a great spread of Argentine food like chorizo with cheese on toast and Brahn beer. We all gathered at the Voluntario Global house and sat in a large circle to watch an inspiring videoby novelist Chimamanda Adichie. She spoke about how everybody has their own stories which makes you who you are. It is critical to learn about other culture´s stories in order to avoid judgement and misunderstandings but instead enhance understanding. After watching the video, we each went around the room and told our personal stories influenced by our own unique cultural background and discussed our feelings of purposefulness and sometimes despair while volunteering, and encouraged each other.

Jimena, the VG Volunteers Coordinator,  shared her story of how children have made a huge difference in her life. When she started volunteering, she was “a little frightened of children”, meaning she was not sure how to relate and interact with them. However, after working in the orphanages at Pimpom, her previous outlook had changed 100%. Her initial fears completely gone, she believes that the best way to change the current situation of a country, is to start teaching the children. “Children are the future of Argentina, we must begin by changing their lives”.

 In the end, everyone was able to debrief and bond over the experiences we have had as volunteers. We discussed our concerns and celebrated our accomplishments since being in Argentina. Then we wrote a personal word on the mirror that means "what it is to be a volunteer". All in all, International Volunteer Day at the VG house was a complete success and a great way to share life as a volunteer.

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