Friday, October 30, 2009

Make a Difference this Holiday Season!

As Christmas was on its way, everybody at school was excited about vacation that for many meant gathering in a cozy environment, family, nice dinners, presents, and enjoying the outdoors. My mother had come from work and she sat to tell me a story about a necessary splitting of a family because both mother and daughter were sick and had to be hospitalized in different hospitals. I became interested in knowing more about what a child experiences when undergoing treatment in an oncology ward, so I visited the children's hospital and spoke with local staff about Christmas in the unit. One of the things that caught my attention was that everybody seemed to coincide in that kids had to spend many hours by themselves, with no input from others their age. I wanted to bring the festive spirit that was hanging around school to them and let them know that they are not alone. The decision I took was to involve as many students in school as possible to write their wishes and deliver the sharing spirit before winter break. It took days of explaining, making others feel the project as theirs, skipping breaks, meeting with teachers, but all this had no importance when compared to the feedback I got from the staff that interacted with the kids who received the card. It’s nice to think that a small project can make such a difference for a kid.

~ Luz Gozal, Volunteer Youth Blogger

Do you want to make a difference this holiday season? There are many ways you can volunteer. Our projects range from adopting a family in need to singing at the hospital. You can download our holiday guide or search for holiday volunteer opportunities now!

Read more!

Friday, October 23, 2009

A Taste of Asia

A month ago, I volunteered for the second Taste of Asia event in Balboa Park by the International Cottages. The purpose of this event was to raise money for Lotus Outreach International and International Humanity Foundation. The representatives of various international houses from the park were involved. The event included food tasting, where it was possible to taste all types of Asian food, as well as seeing a well known Korean chef in action that would provide receipts and advice on the culinary art. For those who arrived with kids there was day-long entertainment and dancers dressed in native costumes who performed traditional dances, all in a relaxed, carefree environment suitable to everyone.

As a volunteer, I was assigned to be a Team Manager. That included supervising other volunteers and seeing that their assignments were going as planned. What I enjoyed the most was the opportunity to interact with natives from other cultures, especially from Thailand, Korea, Japan and China. Some of them had recently arrived to the United States. A few see volunteering as a natural way of sharing cultural experiences in a new country and still remain within their culture.

The event planners took very good care of their volunteers and was shown in the way they kept tracked of them before, during, and after the event. They provided free (and delicious) lunch. I was also pleasantly surprised to receive an invitation to attend a recognition event for all volunteers who donated their time and effort.

If you are thinking about donating your time for a good cause, don’t miss this opportunity next year. I’ll meet you there!

~ Luz Gozal, Youth Volunteer Blogger

Do you have great story of a volunteer experience to share? Be a Blogger for Volunteer San Diego! Want to lead a team of volunteers? Become a Flex Team Leader!

Read more!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Watch Out for the Entertainment Industry

If you have a TV and an interest in volunteerism, you've surely noticed recent advertisements and programming tie-ins to something called Iparticipate. The Entertainment Industry Foundation was created 67 years ago and has raised millions of dollars of money for a number of societal causes, including this big campaign to promote volunteering. All week long you'll see TV shows and celebrities shining a light on the importance of community service. The Iparticipate website will direct people to volunteer opportunities and Volunteer San Diego. You may already be a VSD volunteer, or perhaps you are new to community service, either way you should answer the call that the entertainment industry is putting out and sign up for a volunteer project today!

Read more!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

2009's Successful Serve-a-thon!

We at VSD have had a busy autumn so far! October began with our annual event Serve-a-thon that focused on poverty in San Diego County. With 42 projects over the weekend at a variety of different organizations on October 2-4, volunteers made a significant impact at organizations throughout San Diego County.

Connie Castro, Serve-a-thon Site Captain, tells us about her project:

“The Brighten a Bag for the Hungry project at Feeding America San Diego on Friday, October 2, gathered dozens of volunteers to help alleviate hunger in San Diego. Teams from Hewlett Packard, as well as individuals and families, all volunteered their time and effort for this worthy cause. Because of their efforts, in about two hours, 1650 pounds of rice were made available to the public, thirteen giant totes were washed and cleaned, overhead signs were made and lastly, 350 bags were decorated. Volunteers opted to bring their own decorating supplies to the event and everyone who decorated took pride in their work in decorating the bags. These bags will brighten a hungry child's day!”

Check out the rest of our photo album. We would like to take this moment to thank everyone who made this spectacular event possible!

Read more!