Velping? Ok!


By Madeline, Tufts 1+4 Participant

What does it mean to volunteer?

I recently found a second volunteer opportunity here in Madrid. The NGO where I’m working in the mornings is called Serve the City. It works as a match maker for big corporations and NGOs. Once Serve the City establishes a relationship between the two, there is a newfound responsibility given to both in order to develop a stronger community through service and collaboration. In the U.S. and Great Britain, this is implemented as CSR or Corporate Social Responsibility Policies. Here in Spain that is a foreign term. Serve the City is looking to change that.

Additionally, they work as a database of volunteers for NGOs and vice versa. The project I am currently working on is the Facebook page for an app called Velping. The app, that is currently being developed, is for volunteers to be able to log their hours of service and see what kind of social change they are initiating. They can receive feedback from the NGOs that they are helping too. My project is to find meaningful and intriguing content to feed through the Facebook to get people thinking about why they should volunteer in general.

For me, that is a great question. Why am I volunteering? Why did I decide to fly hundreds of miles away from home and live in a foreign country so I could spend a year of my time serving others? I’m lucky because in exchange for my 6-10 hours a day given to foundations – for incredible causes might I add – I get to live in a foreign country and experience Europe at a very young age. But then in addition, volunteering gives me so much more.

1. When you volunteer, you choose. You choose where, when, and how you will work keeping in mind the needs of your community and the organizations.

2. You gain experiences and memories. From business and marketing skills to child psychology to cooking skills, there are experiences in everything when it comes to volunteering. You gain skills, build a resume, and take home a piece of good and pure memory to hold onto.

3. No matter how big or small, you make a difference. A very interesting thing I was told when coming here was “this is a chance to see how much of yourself you can give without seeing an immediate impact.” This is hard. I feel it everyday that I struggle with my girls or my schedule is not perfectly ideal. But at the end of the day I’m happy because I know eventually I will make a difference.


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