November 8, 2010

Volunteer Work – Around the World

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about my chosen activities and the worth of them – to me and to the world. I feel blessed with right livelihood – my work as a psychotherapist allows be to connect and help a variety of people and to continue to learn from my clients. But after turning 60, I became antsy to do “something more.” Simply, to be helping on a larger scale, expanding my world and helping to change it in positive ways. Here’s some of the ways I’ve found to do this.

After reading the very powerful book, Half the Sky my friend Eve was moved to organize a local giving circle. During our first two dynamic meetings, we have declared the goals as  educating others about the oppression of women around the world - sexual discrimination, sex slavery, illiteracy, and lack of health care.

 Our initial outreach will be leading a discussion about the book, Half the SkyHalf the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide (Vintage), at Greentoad, the wonderful indie bookstore in Oneonta. Join us there on Thursday December 9 at 7 PM. 

And in our desire to financially contribute and fund raise for international programs, we are aligning ourselves with a national organization, Dining for Women.

Recently I also have had the privilege of working directly in an international volunteer program – and, in this age of wonders, without leaving my home.
Through the work of Gail Straub (who Rebecca mentioned in the previous posting),  a wonderful woman activist for world peace and personal empowerment, I was able to apply for a mentor position with the organization World Pulse.

World Pulse sponsors the Voices of the Future (Web 2.0, Citizen Journalism and Empowerment Training Program) program. 

Voices of Our Future is an online training program investing in women's ability to use new technology and media to share their stories and innovative solutions with the world.
Here's the description of the program:

World Pulse and program partners the Press Institute, the OpEd Project, and the Empowerment Institute provide training in web 2.0, citizen journalism and mentoring to empower a new generation of grassroots women leaders to raise their voices, promote their visions for change and become leaders for their communities.
Nearly 600 women from 87 countries applied for the second annual year of Voices of Our Future. It was difficult to select only 30, but we are pleased to announce the 2010 Voices of Our Future Correspondents below. These women have demonstrated the voice, vision and solutions oriented writing that World Pulse seeks to nurture.

Over a five month period, each of the correspondents is paired with a “Editorial Midwife” and a "Mentor" – I am in the latter group. We receive teleconference and written training on how best to connect with the correspondents. And via email and Skype, we will learn more about each other, about our respective countries, and the social and personal challenges that we face. I hope to provide support and encouragement for the young woman I am working with to help her to stay on track with the writing modules and writing assignments that are the base of the program. 

 Readers -- Are you familiar with links? Do you know that if you click on any of the highlighted names above (or these e.g. World Pulse or Greentoad) that your computer will be forwarded to those websites -- for more information? Try it -- you might like it)

I am very excited about these activities. 
I have -- and will continue -- to participate in some local efforts. Two examples:
I did volunteer at the local elementary school for awhile. Although I found it pleasant to read with some of the individual students, I was disappointed that there was no coordination of the program and no connection with other volunteers. 
I am also on a grant committee for the local community foundation -- I enjoy the great meetings -- but they are only twice a year -- and appreciate the many regional programs that they support.

And curious -- what volunteer activities do you think are worth your time and energy? What challenges do you face in choosing or participating? Has that changed over time?

1 comment:

  1. My challenge is that I always want to do more than I have the time or energy for. In general I try to choose activities that benefit my local community and in which I feel connected to other people. Another challenge I sometimes feel is that it can be hard to get other people to take on leadership roles... so if I want something to happen, I often find myself coordinating it.

    I think I will post about this topic soon.