Summer for Others

Volunteer activities are a staple of my summer. In the past five years, I have gone to places near and far, met people old and young and did mental and manual works in the name of service. It seems that aside from traveling and wandering (aimlessly), volunteering best defines my idea of a great summer escapade.

In high school, I was in utter disbelief when I was named one of the Service-Oriented Students. I can’t remember any significant contribution of Jerson for the welfare of the students. Yes, I was part of the school paper, but I don’t  think my write-ups echo the voices of the students. Yes, I was in the student council as the secretary, but I really didn’t understand why I was there, honestly. (Apologies to our adviser.)But, lo and behold, that undeserved recognition is a prophetic one.

That award was a hint that I’d be part of our organization’s outreach committee, that I’d tell stories in hospitals, schools and even along the Nagtahan Road. That recognition was a foreshadowing of the many volunteer jobs that I’d be taking.

There are really no accidents, as long as you ask God for explanations. Volunteering is a self-edification exercise. This is what God has shown us when He gave Jesus Christ to us, for us. Jesus is volunteerism personified.

Now, it’s one of my advocacy to lead people into different volunteer works. I encourage you to look for opportunities to be of service to others. It might be in your own church (ministry involvement) or in places where help is needed.

Here are some info that might help you get started with your volunteer career:

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1. Facilitate workshops of your interest in ATD’s  Festival of Learning. Aside from this, they hold street library activities in three urban poor areas in Manila. You may volunteer there any time you want.

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2. Join this facebook group of pinoy volunteers: Kapit Kamay Kaibigan. I love the passion for service of these people. They are the hope of this nation. Bow. Most of their activities benefit our lolos and lolas, but are not limited to that.

3. Ask your friends if they know organizations who are looking for volunteers. Express your interest even if they haven’t asked you out. This works. My Museo Pambata Gift Giving volunteer work is a product of this strategy. They need volunteers every December. (Side story: I’ve met one staff from MP in our Mt. Balagbag Climb. So make friends!)

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4. Google. Most established groups like Save Philippine Seas have sign-up forms in their site. Just fill out the form and wait for their next call for volunteers. I had the opportunity to be a marshal-turned-mural painter during their Q.Ave gig.

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5. Start your own outreach activity. Grassroots efforts are the best. I know a group of alumni who gives a free two-month College Admission Test Review to students in our city. Pure love. And mind you, most of the instructors are former students of the review. That’s the volunteerism virus! 

Another grassroots activity is sharing the things you have to others. I dream of doing another book giving activity soon.  In December 2011, books were given to a public school in Misamis Oriental (my hometown).

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Friends, the possibilities are endless. You can give away pre-loved or brand new toys, celebrate your birthday in an orphanage (artista level), donate in an NGO,  assist in running events, etc.  Volunteerism is for everyone.  Age, socio-economic status, education, religious and political views should not hinder you to serve.

 Go and volunteer!

But a word of advice, guard your heart.