Fri 9/11/2015 10:14 AM
It was a Friday morning, received a mail from Seema (Bangalore Outreach PMO). Somewhere in the middle, the mail quoted “Dhyanesh is also been a regular, He can also start supporting you guys.” That is when it got serious.
Being a Volunteer
I was having little amount of work back then or to put it in other way, I know how to do only a small portion of work and not knowing a large portion. I decided to have a peek on various events that cognizant arranged. I attended all the meetings, technical, non-technical, anything that popped into my inbox. Outreach was one such exploration, where I got more interested and involved later. I started by teaching Math in the evening tuition. I taught Math and English for almost students from every grade.
I have taught from ABC-abc till formation of complex sentence, from one two three till fractions and probability. I did what I was told to do; teaching the kid assigned to me. During the one hour thirty minutes event, my only aim was to spend quality time with the kids and teach them, covering the day’s lesson as much as possible and make them understand the lesson.
Being a Lead Volunteer
Weeks went by; I also went to tuition regularly. I was then given the responsibility to lead the event from front. After taking the responsibility of a lead volunteer, I did not show any difference of a lead. Probably I was not prepared for that or to be frank I don’t know. Only difference I made as, previously Seema assigned me a kid for teaching, now I assign myself a kid and assign other volunteers a kid to teach who came for the event. Rakesh is my peer during all my outreach events. Both of us, Rakesh and Me were offered to lead the Evening tuition and we took the opportunity. Though I did not make any big difference, I was constantly improving my self.
Removing the blinders
Rakesh had volunteering in his heart. Rakesh kept telling me about not just teaching the kids, but to make an impact. I just got introduced with the word volunteering impact. With a different vantage point, I started to act with more responsibility and tried (Still trying) to make a difference on creating an impact on the kids. I changed my focus more towards volunteers and gave them specific instructions and explained them what is the current level of the kid and what is expected from the volunteer to make an impact on the kid. This transition was very important for me as I am already leading the event. Now I am possibly doing a not so bad lead.
It is Sumer time and Seema wants to do Summer camp for the kids. Initially I stepped out saying that I am not that good in conducting activity. But later as it became a routine for me to meet the kids, I couldn’t stop myself from going to outreach gallery (our usual event space). So took over the responsibility for the summer camp also. I was really taken by surprise with summer camp content. The fun part was all over it. Activities were also easy to conduct irrespective of the head count of the kids. Yes, we did all the kind of activities that our team could think.
I will tell one activity which went very nicely. There was this simple draw and guess activity unlike usual; we did not make any Team A, Team B, we made Team volunteers and Team Kids. Kids were drawing superman, batman and we were able to find out easily. This went on and suddenly there was one drawing of a man, which no one was able to guess. We said all the possible popular figures as possible. Then it turned out to be one of our volunteer. Here is the pic.
One more noticeable change was summer camp saw a huge number of energetic volunteers turning up daily. I had to manage the volunteers more than the kids. It obviously was a different experience for me; Volunteers offered drawing classes, dancing, crafts and science teaching, verbal, acting and speaking on a regular schedule. They even came with unusual brain teaser activities which were very interesting for the kids. The fun time we had was enormous.
What’s next? Happy Ending
One the last day of summer camp Valedictory function was arranged. We gave certificates for the kids, made every volunteer to give the certificates for the kids. For a surprise I got appreciation as Event Champion.
It is NOT true that volunteering is not for everyone. I realized this from my volunteers’ crowd and me myself. I had no clue about volunteering previously, now here I am. I want to make all my volunteers (volunteers who come to our event tuition / summer camp event) leaders and make them lead various outreach activity.