By Lindsey Quinn | Design by Maria Bertrand
Each year, Children International’s agencies recognize one volunteer for outstanding service. Shining examples of leadership among the nearly 8,000 men and women who work with our program, each strives tirelessly to ensure the young people in their communities are safe, educated and have opportunities for a better future. Having been recognized by the communities, these remarkable leaders are now eligible for the 2014 Inspire Award. Learn more about the nominees.
We asked the volunteers to tell us more about themselves and what drives them to help others. Read on to be inspired by their service.
“If you give a man food for a day, he would eat for a day. But if you teach a man how to find or make his food, he’ll have something to eat every day. It is one of the creeds that I put to heart: That people have to be taught how to live … to stand on their own, to persevere and not just depend on anyone.”
“Of course, it has an impact! Volunteering means helping. I think the program itself has its strengths — but we take care of the details.”
“My goal as a coach is to teach life skills. Basically, the young males, who stay in trouble – you just try to get to them before they get too far gone. A lot of them are from single-parent families, and you just try to get to them before they get into the street life.”
“Here in our community, I get to remind and counsel children to get off the streets late at night, because there is a right time for them to play and a time to be home. It makes me feel great, being able to serve from the heart.”
“Even though I graduated from the program, I realized that there were poor families who needed help, even families and people not part of the sponsorship program. They were marginalized. I thought that someone had to give a helping hand to these people and assist them, not necessarily in monetary terms, but otherwise. I found it was my duty to do something for society and my community.”
“I was eventually trained to become a mentor to other weavers in this project. Our livelihood has grown. Each member has a savings account, and everyone is covered by an annual insurance. I was able to convince other members of our community to join our savings facility where children of most of our weavers have started their own savings accounts.”
“Six years ago, I was a pioneer for the community dining rooms of Children International. I remember that I started with a group of 11 children, and those children received medical care [and] educational talks. I was able to see the benefit that those children received, as they were able to overcome the undernourishment symptoms they had.”
“For me, being a volunteer means giving myself completely to improve my community. And I’m grateful to my community, because I am who I am because of them.”
“I think that my biggest accomplishment in my community is the ‘Paving Streets’ program. I had worked persistently with the community leaders for the program: we knocked on doors, talked with the city’s mayor, wrote letters and collected signatures. It was a team effort.”
“I feel that my biggest achievement is being able to help the children and youth. I support them morally, and, as they are sponsored by Children International, I encourage them to keep studying and to ask for a scholarship from CI.”
“At first, my inspiration was my children – my second child, specifically. I was told that God gives special children to special mothers, and I consider myself to be a special mother who has a lot to give – not only to my children, but to my adoptive children, as I call the little ones. All 138 kids are like my children, and I do my best to make sure they keep going, working hard to have a better future.”
“I can say that [volunteering] is a great, great job. And when you enter the volunteer role, you will learn many things; you can help many people, and you can inspire many youth and children through your capabilities.”
Volunteers are critically important to our work with impoverished communities. Their time and efforts ensure that needy families get the help they need. Learn more about the nominees.
Children International will recognize one of these men and women as the 2014 Inspire Award winner in January. Check www.children.org then to learn the results.
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