The Spirit of Volunteerism


U.S. Embassy Tanzania Press Release
 September 29, 2011
 
Peace Corps Volunteers District Leader to  Visit U.S.
 
Mr. Douglas Andrew Ruambo, Senior  Community Development Officer in the Songea District Council is visiting the  United States of America under the International Visitors Leadership Program  (IVLP). He will return to Tanzania on October  14, 2011. 
 
Mr. Ruambo’s program is titled “Spirit  of Volunteerism: Honoring 50 Years of the Peace Corps Program. He will be joined by over 52 participants from  Albania, Azerbaijan, Botswana, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Colombia,  Costa Rica, Dominica, Ethiopia, El Salvador, Fed. States of Micronesia, The Gambia,  Georgia, Ghana, Grenada, Guinea, Guyana, Indonesia, Jamaica, Jordan, Kazakhstan,  Kyrgyzstan, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Moldova, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique,  Namibia, Nicaragua, Panama, People’s Republic of China, Peru, Philippines, Romania,  Rwanda, Samoa, South Africa, Suriname, Swaziland, Thailand, Togo, Tonga,  Turkmenistan, Uganda, and Vanuatu.
 
The participants visited Washington, D.C.  and divided into groups to travel to the states of Massachusetts, Washington,  Colorado, Montana, North Carolina, Florida, Pennsylvania, California, New  York, Utah, Texas and New Mexico, and Illinois.
 
Prior to his departure, Mr. Ruambo was  welcomed to the U.S. Embassy in Dar es Salaam by Country Peace Corps Director  Andrea Wojnar-Diagne, who said: “As Peace Corps Volunteers District  Supervisor, Mr. Ruambo promotes the ties of friendship and cooperation  between our volunteers and Tanzanian communities. We are proud to partner with him and  honored that he will visit the U.S.”
 
Mr. Ruambo noted that learning the impact  of volunteerism in U.S. communities will help him strengthen his understanding  and support for establishing volunteer programs in Tanzania. Upon returning from the U.S., he will share  his new experiences with more than 40 District Supervisors in Tanzania.
 
The International Visitors Leadership Program is sponsored by the American people through the U.S. Department of State. It is intended to facilitate personal and professional contacts between the people of the United States and Tanzania, and is part of overall U.S. Government direct and multilateral assistance to Tanzania of over 850 billion Tanzanian shillings this fiscal year. For additional information, please see: http://exchanges.state.gov/ivlp/ivlp.html. 

U.S. Embassy Tanzania Press Release

 September 29, 2011

Peace Corps Volunteers District Leader to Visit U.S.

Mr. Douglas Andrew Ruambo, Senior Community Development Officer in the Songea District Council is visiting the United States of America under the International Visitors Leadership Program (IVLP). He will return to Tanzania on October 14, 2011.

Mr. Ruambo’s program is titled “Spirit of Volunteerism: Honoring 50 Years of the Peace Corps Program. He will be joined by over 52 participants from Albania, Azerbaijan, Botswana, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominica, Ethiopia, El Salvador, Fed. States of Micronesia, The Gambia, Georgia, Ghana, Grenada, Guinea, Guyana, Indonesia, Jamaica, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Moldova, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Nicaragua, Panama, People’s Republic of China, Peru, Philippines, Romania, Rwanda, Samoa, South Africa, Suriname, Swaziland, Thailand, Togo, Tonga, Turkmenistan, Uganda, and Vanuatu.

The participants visited Washington, D.C. and divided into groups to travel to the states of Massachusetts, Washington, Colorado, Montana, North Carolina, Florida, Pennsylvania, California, New York, Utah, Texas and New Mexico, and Illinois.

Prior to his departure, Mr. Ruambo was welcomed to the U.S. Embassy in Dar es Salaam by Country Peace Corps Director Andrea Wojnar-Diagne, who said: “As Peace Corps Volunteers District Supervisor, Mr. Ruambo promotes the ties of friendship and cooperation between our volunteers and Tanzanian communities. We are proud to partner with him and honored that he will visit the U.S.”

Mr. Ruambo noted that learning the impact of volunteerism in U.S. communities will help him strengthen his understanding and support for establishing volunteer programs in Tanzania. Upon returning from the U.S., he will share his new experiences with more than 40 District Supervisors in Tanzania.

The International Visitors Leadership Program is sponsored by the American people through the U.S. Department of State. It is intended to facilitate personal and professional contacts between the people of the United States and Tanzania, and is part of overall U.S. Government direct and multilateral assistance to Tanzania of over 850 billion Tanzanian shillings this fiscal year. For additional information, please see: http://exchanges.state.gov/ivlp/ivlp.html. 

Reed Sandridge- December 5th

Reed Sandridge of Year of Giving joined Meridian on December 5th to plant trees in Oxon Run Park in Washington, DC. 

December 5th: Taraz, Kazakhstan

All over the world International Volunteer Day is celebrated on the 5 of December promoting volunteerism and expressing gratitude to volunteers. In this wonderful day NGO “Zhambyl Zhastary” (Youth of Zhambyl region) from Taraz city in Kazakhstan was not an exception. We always have had different projects, charitable actions and events by helping disabled and vulnerable people or those who are in need. But this time we involved these people in an activity and gave them a chance to feel they are important and also play a big role in society as ordinary people. 

On December 5 our volunteers went to orphanage for mentally and physically disable children and teenagers where they together were making decorations, toys, posters for up-coming celebration of New Year.

Taken all necessary things such as colored paper, paint, pencils, scissors, glue, brushes volunteers arrived at 10 in the morning and met with children explaining them an aim of their visit and an importance of this day. 

Different hand-made articles, snow-flakes, paintings and origami were cheerfully made by children and at the end of this activity they were given toys and clothes which were gathered with a help of citizens during Fall Week of Kindness.

Our aim was achieved and children made this day special for them and were proud that they were able to prepare decorations for all children’s joy.

Later in the office of “Zhambyl Zhastary” to the gratitude of all volunteers they were nominated with the titles such as “the strongest volunteer”, “the most patient volunteer”, “the most punctual volunteer”, “the most cheerful volunteer” and so on and our Fulbright program trainer, English language assistant Jenna Miller baked cookies for them!

 We are thankful to our volunteers and wish them happiness and strong health, victories in their undertakings, bright ideas and strength in promotion of volunteerism!


Natalya Trubina

Board Director of NGO “Zhambyl Zhastary” (youth of Zhambyl region), Kazakhstan

Social Entrepreneurship in the U.S.

One question I think about a lot is why social entrepreneurship has become increasingly prominent in the past decade. I do not have a definitive answer, but some of the growth can likely be ascribed to the tremendous role volunteerism plays among today’s youth. As Robert Putnam noted in his classic book Bowling Alone, volunteerism is much more popular among young people today than it was for the generation that came before it. These volunteer experiences probably increased the awareness of young people to certain social problems while equipping them with the skills to become social entrepreneurs as they grew older. It’s no surprise that people who came of age in the past two decades today started many of the most interesting social enterprises.

As economies around the world continue to struggle, the roles social entrepreneurship and volunteerism play in the recovery process cannot be understated. Volunteering provides people of all ages with meaningful opportunities to contribute to their communities using the assets they already have. In an economic climate in which resources are scarce and organizations have had to cut back, volunteers do critical work to serve our communities. Similarly, social entrepreneurs are building businesses to solve social problems as they create needed job opportunities.

What are the prospects for social entrepreneurship and volunteerism going forward? I predict that volunteer rates will increase over the next few decades. There is a culture of volunteerism among many young people, and I suspect that as Baby Boomers start to retire, they too will start volunteering more. Just as the wave of volunteerism among young people in the past 20 years has led many of them to become social entrepreneurs, some retirees who volunteer will also emerge as social entrepreneurs. This phenomenon will likely create a completely new group of experienced professionals who are pouring their energies into social entrepreneurship.

It’s very exciting to think that in the next few decades, the world will see social entrepreneurs of all ages. Some of these social innovators will be young people with great ambition, while others will be older individuals with tremendous experience. This expansion of social entrepreneurship has the potential to fundamentally change the way that many people think about both for-profit and not-for-profit companies. With the economy projected to grow only modestly for the next few years, people will start to look at the assets they already have in their community and will figure out ways to leverage those assets to create both jobs and social change. Thus, volunteerism can be a catalyst for potential social entrepreneurs to realize their skills and passions. Volunteering is a great way of making an immediate impact while also opening one’s eyes to the larger possibilities of how social entrepreneurship can be a transformative long-term force for social good.

Nabil Hashmi is the VP of Education at Compass Partners. 

Compass Partners, seeks to inspire, enable,and sustain the next generation of social entrepreneurs. To us, social entrepreneurship represents a paradigm shift in the way companies do business. We aim to harness the power of entrepreneurship to solve social problems by training college students to become social entrepreneurs and launch their own social ventures. 

I am a volunteer. 

Notes from Jorge

Washington DC

This is my first time in United States, and I think it was a wonderful idea to start in DC, all activities were interesting and well organized, however I would like to mention Mr. Akram´s presentation, for me, he was great, it was very illustrative to learn about federalism, in one hour he was able to make us understand the US system of government and the decision making process. He also talked about why American people do volunteering. Mr. Akram has a particular way to explain things and no matter how long he will talk it is always interesting and inspiring.

During this week we also had a meeting with the Peace Corps Headquarters, in my particular case I used to work for the Peace Corps Peru and there was always this curiosity to visit the PC in Washington DC where important decisions are made.

The volunteer activity that we did with Washington Parks was a perfect combination between the panels we had and the field work, I planted with other three members of the group 4 trees that will contribute to the big work that this organization is developing.

I am well motivated to start a volunteer program in Peru for local people; I have learned that it is possible; the most difficult step is to start. Thank you Washington DC team…

Seattle

Beautiful city, the climate is very similar to my city Cusco in Peru, in this city there are three things I would like to mention, one of them is related to the concept of “Service Learning”, something new for me and very important if we are managing a volunteer program. The second aspect is related to the volunteer activity because it was very well organized and with a clear goal about what they want to achieve with the project.

The third aspect is related to the visit that we did to the Boeing Company. We were informed about the projects that the company supports in different parts of the world and how their workers have a volunteer program to help to communities in other countries. I was very thankful to the company because they are looking for the community response and the impact of the projects they have developed.

I had the opportunity to be a Panelist at the Washington University to talk about my experience with Peace Corps, I would like to say thank you very much for inviting me to be part of this panel, it was a great moment to share my experience with potential volunteers who are planning to get involve with the Peace Corps.    

I had lunch in the Space Needle, expensive but delicious…

San Antonio

There are a couple of things I would like to mention about my experience in San Antonio, but first of all, thank you very much for the extraordinary reception at the airport, it was wonderful to see the girls scouts waiting for us with beautiful letters and posters, this is something we will keep in our hears for ever… About the program, we are very happy because I think we got the best guides and trainers, everything was perfect and our ELO Jennifer was great, thank you very much Jennifer, we won´t never forget you.

In San Antonio I had the opportunity to stay with a local family, in this aspect Xandra and James were fantastic, thank you very much for making me feel part of your family, I enjoyed the visit to Flores Ville and meeting Xandra´s family was wonderful, I felt like at home.

San Antonio is a place where many people speaks Spanish because of the big Mexican influence, so, for instants I thought I was in my country, Spanish everywhere, and very surprising to know that the number of volunteers who get involved in the Peace Corps is the biggest in the USA.

Finally I would like to mention the meeting with Mr. Benini, he was just extraordinary, I think for all of us in the group he produced a special effect, like the beginning of something new in our lives. Thanks for the opportunity.  

I have in my mind many ideas to apply in my country; almost in the end of the program I think this has been the experience of my life, thank you very much.

 - Jorge (Peru)

American Host Families

Intercultural learning is a “key” that “opens mind” to understand and accept realities in cultures different from our own.
The IVLP programm was that “key” for me, for being in USA and for getting to know the diverse cultures of the latter. 
According to IVLP program all the participants should stay 2 days with American families, which is one of the most important elements of the project form me, as nothing could help me understand American culture better than living in real American family, which helped to get acquainted with American family daily routine. 
So it’s already been nearly 2 days I am living with my American family, with Ms. and Mrs. Sheffields, people who are surrounded with positive aura, people who from the 1st moment were so hospitable, warm and lovable, which helped me to feel like in a family. These people helped me to break the stereotypes I had about Americans. 
I want to express my gratefulness and love to these people for everything. 
We spend just 2 days with our host families, but those 2 days were so full that we will need the whole eternity to understand, realize, evaluate and appreciate this all. Fortunately my host family is educated and is close to the culture. They can appreciate all the cultural values created by a man. These great people made my 2 days unforgettable, 2 days full of American spirit, which was passed to me as well and me being Armenian, the bearer of human values, did my best to “live” those 2 days as an American… During those 2 days, I was as well trying to present my culture, country and traditions… Last but not least and the most important, that those 2 days were the base for creation of American - Armenian relation bridge, which in the very close future will be the ground for the development of this relations.
Once again thanks IVLP for this GREAT experience and of course thanks Mr. and Mrs. Sheffields… Warm greetings,

-Artur (Armenia)

Sustainable peace in a global family

Traveling across America, meeting people and really getting to know them “eye ball to eye ball” is a real humbling experience. The real American is like any other global citizen….funny, like-able, can be angry if need be….indeed. I discovered we are searching, in fact, craving for a peaceful world. I have just returned from a two-day stay with an American family! Saying goodbye to this family was very difficult because I was showered with so much love and understanding…and oh, there was so much food!!!

I have come to the firm realization that for global peace and understanding to be sustainable, it has to be between people, not just Governments.

- Cudjoe (Ghana)