Monday, August 11, 2008

Volunteerism: Is it still here?

Volunteerism.... What does it mean? They say this spirit is already gone. Has it truly gone. Are volunteers within reach?

For me the spirit of volunteerism is the one that ignited my passion to do things for others. I was truly amazed at my teachers in religion, called the catechists, who would endeavor to teach us things about God and His works, without being paid in return! They were the ones that inspired my young mind, thinking that when I am already at the right age, I will do the same for the next generation. Priests, nuns, missionaries and many others that I met in my growing up years in college and even in my young professional years, all the more enkindled that passion. How I admire them giving up personal ambitions just to teach young minds in preparing for their future.

How I love it surrounded by people who selflessly devouted themselves in service of others. I met many of them when I was still a student leader of Catholic Center Campus Ministry, a Chaplaincy founded by a very dear friend priest, Fr. Michel de Gigord, MEP. I met some of them while I was still in the Singles for Christ; I met them when I was once a catechist in Redemptorist Church in Iligan City; I met them when I was a volunteer of TULOY orphanage in Alabang. Thus, it is no surprise that volunteerism is a quality that moves me into making major decisions in life. It is deeply embedded in my soul.

And I am fortunate enough that even in my stay here in Iligan after my marriage, I got the chance to meet a lot of them getting involved in activities that I got myself into. I also had the chance to meet volunteers of Gawad Kalinga, from Global Exchange, both Filipinos and British nationals, who made themselves available for others and despite their potentials to seek personal vainglory in their young careers, opted to set it aside, by trying to make a difference.

How I truly admire them! And now that I am married, although things in my life have changed, it was quite a refreshing experience for me having the chance to speak with two British volunteers, all women at that, about their views in life. Plus the fact that last August 10, five of us all females made it as the first female team to join in the boat rowing competition using only bare hands in the Kilawan Festival in Kiwalan. Well, unfortunately it was our first time to practice when we are already on the actual competition. And good for me, I managed to fill the boat with waters, that made the boat sink. It was hilarious! But I truly,truly enjoyed it! I have missed a lot of true volunteers! And whenever I got the chance to meet them, I would certainly know who they are. They are people who transcends their culture. They are people who are oblivious to the world because they think that no matter how seemingly trivial their tasks are, they know they make a difference. They are people despite the absence of adulation and applause are willing to traverse the difficulty they encounter as a consequence of their decisions. They are people who amidst differences with people they work with continue to finish the goal. They are people who wants to accomplish the end but an inner peace and joy is likewise achieved.

Perhaps you too have the same aspirations at heart. And whether you have joined in an organization of volunteers or not, it doesnt matter for as long as you do things for others even of others do not recognize them, then you are already a volunteer! Find that volunteer in you! God made us all volunteers in various ways: for our spouse, for our family, for our friends, for our love ones and for various communities!

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