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Developing Professional Volunteerism in Social Works

 

Defining the term “professional volunteerism” is tricky. The word “professional” could mean someone who gets paid for doing a job, whereas the word “volunteerism” means performing work without getting paid. Thus, the term “professional volunteerism” might sound like an oxymoron. However, the word “professional” also means having an exceptional skill and mastery at something. Referring to the latter definition, “professional volunteerism” could be understood as the act of implementing high level of skills, mastery and work ethics in doing unpaid work.

 

Professional volunteerism usually takes place at nonprofit organizations which mostly rely on volunteers to operate. It is done by preparing volunteers with necessary skills and knowledge to make sure volunteers are ready to contribute positively to the community they work with, instead of doing harm. By developing professional volunteerism, a nonprofit organization could maintain the quality of their programs, as well as developing a strong base of skilled volunteers who hold crucial roles in helping the organization achieve their goals. It enhances the quality of service they give to people or community they work with, and gain better trust from donors and sponsors. Professional volunteerism helps to ensure program sustainability in the long run.

 

Professional volunteerism is developed by well-managing the projects and activities where volunteers are involved. The organization is responsible for fulfilling the volunteers’ need for support during their volunteering time and making sure that volunteers are appreciated for their contribution. The ongoing problem commonly found in volunteer-based social work is disorganized volunteer management. Some organizations depend completely on volunteers’ good intention to show up now and then without any clear commitment. It is good to facilitate the volunteers’ time flexibility, but besides being ineffective for the program, volunteers will feel disengaged and lose interest over time. It motivates them more when volunteers gain a sense of meaning and accomplishment from the program and are recognized by the organization for their significance. It is necessary to make a distinct agreement about commitment, responsibilities, and benefits that occur to both parties during the volunteering process. Training and orientation sessions are essential to make sure volunteers are ready to face the challenges as they dive right into the field. When given the right support and treatment, volunteers will be willing to go the extra miles and help achieve a bigger impact.

 

Professional volunteerism assures you that the time and effort you are pouring is carefully managed to benefit both yourself and other people

 

Professional volunteerism also helps volunteers to grow professionally and benefits the volunteers in many ways. Firstly, it lets you practice your professional skills. When you choose to volunteer specifically in the field of your expertise, it gives you hands-on experience and develops your skills set. You can even acquire new skills and have more freedom to experiment in the relatively low-risk environment. This is especially beneficial for college students and fresh graduates who need opportunities to kick-start their career and increase their future employability. Secondly, you will get a chance to expand your networking. You will get to know people from various backgrounds who share the same views and beliefs as you. You can even meet influential people or community leaders, people who will widen your perspective about the world and those you can earn knowledge from. Thirdly, you will gain an incredibly rewarding experience. Volunteering can be very fulfilling as you do good for other people and help make a difference. It energizes you and makes you feel less absorbed in your daily life stresses. It also helps for professional workers who want a break from their stressful job, as well as improving their skills while at the same time giving back to the community. After all, professional volunteerism assures you that the time and effort you are pouring is carefully managed to benefit both yourself and other people.

 

Project Child Indonesia aims to develop professional volunteerism by applying professional management in volunteer involvement. By giving volunteer the proper training and orientation, we intend to reduce the risk of giving harm to the society we work with. We value our volunteers greatly, and we do our best in maximizing our resources to better support our volunteers. We really hope that volunteers will gain valuable experience when working with us, and flourish both personally and professionally. Developing professional volunteerism is also our take on maintaining a sustainable act of kindness. By professionally managing our programs and volunteers, we believe that we are able to achieve bigger and do greater good for the cause.

 


Written by Margareta Danastri

Sekolah Pantai – First Meeting

On Saturday, July 29th 2017, Project Child Indonesia had successfully conducted the first meeting of Sekolah Pantai in Pacitan, East Java. After two years of preparation and almost a year of construction, the school building had finally been ready to use. The school, located in Pancer beach Pacitan, comprises an open-space classroom, an office building, a kitchen, a sanitary facility, a playing field, a campfire site, and a chill out area, making the school a sufficient and comfortable place for children to learn and explore.

Around 30 students from the neighborhood showed up in the first class, bringing along their curiosity and enthusiasm. The first meeting was intended to get the children to know each other and also the volunteers, therefore we had prepared some introductory and ice-breaking games. The games were delivered in both Indonesian and English and we could start to see how good their English vocabulary is. We had a class full of energetic group activities from 3 PM to 5 PM, and the children were very excited to join all of them. The activities took place in both the classroom and the sports field. The wide school area allowed the children to move around freely, thus they seemed to love the space! Some of the children even stayed longer after class to play some sports with the volunteers.

The volunteers also did a wonderful job delivering the class. There was a total of 15 volunteers and staffs helping out in this first meeting, consisting of local staffs and volunteers from Pacitan, Yogyakarta, and foreign staffs and volunteers from Germany.  By the end of the class, we could already engage well with the previously shy children. We could also see the parents’ interest. Some dropped their children off, encouraging them to join the class, and some stayed in the school area throughout the class session to watch their kids with joy. It seemed like this first meeting was a pleasant experience for everyone involved, signifying a positive start for this program.

We are hoping to see a great future from Sekolah Pantai, that will allow us to reach our goal to impact the communities in Pacitan.

Written by Margareta Danastri

 

 

Internet Literacy Program Kick-off

Project Child Indonesia has completed a wonderful milestone this month. After months of preparation, the new Internet Literacy Program has begun successfully. Internet access in Indonesia has grown astronomically but children remain one of the most vulnerable to understanding the positive and negative aspects of the internet. We strongly believe that equipping children with proper internet literacy education would enormously benefit the workforce of Indonesia.

To reach our goal, we collaborated with three primary schools in Yogyakarta. SD Bumijo 1, SD Bangunrejo 1 and SD Vidya Qasana were chosen to be our pilot schools. We were pleasantly surprised with the reception from the children! Although they are already familiar with the internet, they were curious about what can they can do with the internet. We created a unique syllabus to enhance the usage of the internet as well as educated them on computer hardware. We delivered the knowledge using engaging methodologies and lots of games which created 70 enthusiastic children. By extension, our 14 new volunteers were amazing and taught with enthusiasm and pride. We are so thankful that they joined our mission!

In addition, the schools’ response also humbled us. Our program and methods may be unfamiliar with what they usually do in class, but they were encouraging and were on-board to help us make an impact. “We know that our kids are still unaware with the bad side of the internet. And since we do not have capacity with our limited budget to give them education about it, we really support this program” said Mrs. Puji Lestari M.Pd, the headmaster of SD Bumijo 1. We recognize that commitment from the teachers will ensure that this program will remain sustainable and create a grass-root solution to the educational problem.

Finally, we would like to show our gratitude to our partner, Gameloft, who helped us turn our idea into reality. Gameloft has benevolently donated computers to underprivileged schools, making us able to conduct the internet literacy program. In the next-coming months, we would like to enhance our syllabus to create a new perspective that internet could be child-friendly and that we can use it in a positive and useful way. We are always open to everyone who also desires to help the future generation in any possible way. For further questions, please do not hesitate to contact our program manager at program@projectchild.ngo.

Here’s to making another impact to benefit Indonesian communities!

 

Written by Septian Fajar, Kelly McEtchin