Volunteering: You at your Best

Volunteering: Part 2

With our Volunteer induction having just happened on Monday 2 October, it felt fitting to post another article on volunteering well.

In eThekwini we have about 3500 registered NPO’s.  That is not including all the charities that are not registered as they are going on quite nicely without the paperwork.  There is a wide variety of services that are offered in various locations.  Choosing an organisation that would bring out your best or benefit from you the most can be quite daunting. But just like you (generally) do not get married on your first date, you should not pick an organisation because it is the first one you heard of.  To make the most of your volunteer time do some research before you marry yourself to an organisation.  Here are some questions to help guide you:

  • What is being done in my community? Most people cannot go off on extended volunteer trips, and when you have to travel an hour to where you are going to give your time, you probably will not last that long. Look local, local to your office so you can pop in on your way to or from work, or even during your lunch hour, or look close to home so that it is just a short trip on a weekend or during your free time.
  • Match up with what you want to do. You may have to do some real digging. Not all organisations have web presence, use your networks.
  • Prioritise your top 4 and interview them. Make a site visit and ask them questions.  You know you, they do not, find out if you are going to be a good fit in their space.  Is your heart aligned to their vision?  Is there something you can do (within your limited capacity) to help them reach their potential?
  • What are the organisations expectations of volunteers? Some organisations are very structured, you submit paperwork, you are inducted, you sign your code of conduct, and you are given a task, you are monitored. Others you can literally could do anything. If you are going to have contact with minors, you are going to be checked on the sexual offenders list and you will be required to submit a police clearance certificate.
  • What cultural boundaries am I crossing? Most of us don’t think of our own culture too much.  It’s just the way we are; the normal way we do things.  Here in Durban, we have a literal melting pot of cultures.  Where this question is only often pertinent is in foreign volunteering,  here is Durban it is relevant all the time! Be mindful that not all people you will volunteer with will react the same way you do when you work together.
  • Does the organisation have the capacity to handle a volunteer? It may seem a strange question, but volunteers take a lot of time and manpower to prepare for. Some NPO’s can cope with volunteers and others cannot.  If you feel like you going to the organisation is a burden on them, it probably is. Respect that and move on to another organisation who has the capacity to host you.  Organisations cope on minimal budget and are stretched to capacity on their human resource if you are taking someone away from their usual job or if you do not do your work to the exact standard that is required you are wasting someone’s time and sometimes the organisation’s resources.

The more knowledge you have of the organisations in your area the more you are able to help and the more likely your volunteering experience is going to add value to the community and be enjoyable for you. If you would like information on some organisations in your area, please ask us and ask one of the organisations in your area as they generally know who else is operating nearby.  Enjoy your time giving back to making Durban all it was meant to be!

We have another volunteer induction happening on 13 November.  If you would like to hear about some organisations that you would be able to serve in, in eThekwini, this will be your last chance this year! Email volunteer@wearedurban.com for more information.

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June Volunteer Induction

One of We are Durban’s goals for 2017 is to link more qualified professionals with heads of NPO’s to help encourage and develop their organisations to reach their full potential.  Regular conferences are hosted for Durban organisations and they are given the opportunity to request assistance in areas they believe are most pertinent for them and their continued success.  From the briefs received we are then able to connect a volunteer with them.

 

The latest Volunteer Induction evening was held on Monday, 12th June, at Olive Tree Church.  This was our second one this year, with our first batch of volunteers already impacting Durban. The aim of the event is to provide as much information as possible regarding the volunteering process and provide an opportunity to for interested individuals to see which organisation they feel most connected with.  Over 30 prospective volunteers attended the informative evening of how their involvement could make an impact within Durban’s NPO’s.

 

Information was provided on the various organisations requesting assistance and their specific need.  The most requested are for qualified marketers, financial advisors, legal consultants, business strategists and human resource agents.

 

Volunteers spent the evening learning about how to volunteer in a way that helps and not hurts, and the parameters in which a We are Durban volunteer serves.

 

At the end of the presentation there was an opportunity to sign up to an organisation, but the beauty of the induction evening was that no commitment was expected.  Some signed up immediately, others wanted to go home and think about it and others felt that this wasn’t what they expected and would prefer to donate their time in another capacity.

 

The evening was a success and we thank all those involved in setting up, serving and most importantly you, the enthusiastic volunteers, for attending and wanting to be a part of making Durban better, together.

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Heritage Day Potjie Competition

We Are Durban held their annual Potjie Competition on Heritage Day, 24the September. The competition was hosted in partnership with Buyisithemba GD  community Development, a Non-Profit Organisation in KwaMashu, Durban.

 

Teams started arriving from 08:00 and it wasn’t long before gazebos were up, deck chairs were out and 21 potjies were on the go all over the venue.

 

There was a festive atmosphere as friends, family and colleagues all joined in celebrating Heritage Day and experienced a taste of township life while building relationships with the local community.

 

During the event we were privileged to be entertained with some dancing from the children of the community.

 

Whilst the judges were deliberating  over  which potjie was the winner of the competition, we lined up the potjies and started serving the food to the eagerly awaiting local community.

 

There was more than enough for everyone, we estimated that approximately 250 people were fed.

 

Once the judges had completed their task and all the scores collated the winner was announced.  Well done to the defending champion, Warren Gedye and his team for taking first prize again this year.

 

A big thank you to all our participants, volunteers and sponsors for making this event a great success.

Mandela Day Market

On Saturday, 16 July 2016, we at our offices in Windermere to celebrate Mandela Day.  We asked the community to get involved by either donating their good quality second hand clothes, or books, bake something delicious and donate that, volunteer time to sort, set up or sell on the day.  Huge piles of clothes were donated.  We had plenty of baked goods and fudge for those with a sweet tooth. There was coffee, bacon and egg rolls and homemade lemonade to keep people happy and full.  Twelve other regular market stalls were booked to sell their own wares on the day, and there was even a fun photobooth.  A raffle was held where there was a night stay in an executive suite at the Suncoast Towers, including breakfast and a R500 voucher for dinner sponsored by Tsogo Sun, which Bruce Jackson won, much to his delight.  The money raised from the day will be going towards a project we are working on with the municipality to supply a new pre-primary school facility for the children in the Dalton Heights area.  Just under R15,000.00 was raised.  A big thank you goes out to all who supported us on the day.

Youth Beach Day 2016

On Saturday, 11 June 2016, we help our chilliest Youth Beach Day event yet!  Our beach day has become an annual event as it is so well received by the community and by the volunteers.  The celebration around Youth day is remembering the youth lost in the ending of apartheid and giving some of our underprivileged youth the opportunity to have a real childhood experience.  The day at the beach along with the life-skill lesson of beach and water safety from the lifeguards, was such a treat for the kids.  This year again we chose to work with the organisation called Key of Hope which works with vulnerable children in 14 different townships in the greater Durban area.  They develop leadership in the children.  They impact approximately 2,000 children a week through their various programs.

A trip to the beach is a highlight for any child and when we noticed that the weather was not looking good for Saturday we considered alternative plans, but soon realised that for children, especially children who don’t get to the beach, there was no real alternative.  We were also concerned that the volunteers would not show up if it was cold.  We were pleasantly surprised.  Not only did we have plenty of volunteers but the kids even swam!

Charles Khumalo and his team of lifeguards did a great safety briefing.  They have a slick operation which goes around rural areas educating the public on watersafety and what to do if you land up in trouble in the water.  Their heart is to prevent drowning in our communities.

After dividing into teams the kids began a series of fun games that all encouraged teamwork and communication.  We left the swimming off the list of games as we didn’t want to deal with hypothermia, but still the kids found a way to go swim and they thoroughly enjoyed it.  The day ended with a meal arranged by Terence Pillay and a goodie bag to take home.  Their goodie bag contained a mug, bath scourer, and cap.  On top of that, Froggie sponsored a brand new pair of shoes for each of the children who attended!  All the games equipment and our lifeguards on duty, were sponsored by Mpact Plastics.

At the end of the day our volunteers were spoilt by the Key of Hope choir singing for us. A big THANK YOU goes out to all who helped out on the day.  We appreciate each and every one of you.  TO our volunteers, the day could not happen if you didn’t get involved.  Terence Pillay and Sandie Rogerson, who did so much behind the scenes to make the day a success, to Charles Khumalo and his team for ensuring the kids safety, to our sponsors, Froggie and Mpact Plastics that enabled us to bless the kids, and to the Key of Hope for the work you do in Durban, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!

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Mother’s Day spoiling

Saturday, 14 May 2016, we decided to pay a visit to two TAFTA homes (the John Dunne house in Wentworth and Kingdom Hall in town) and Salvation Army’s Montpilier retirement Home. With mother’s day having happened the week before we wanted to celebrate some of the mothers of Durban whose family could not visit them last week for whatever reason.  We have such treasures in our aged community in terms of their wisdom and understanding of life and we wanted to show them we value them.

The team met up at 113 Florida Rd from 8am to make up 100 posies of flowers for the ladies at John Dunne House and Salvation Army.  The ladies at Kingdom Hall received gifts from Milady’s, which were very kindly sponsored. The 40 volunteers were split into 3 teams which went to the three different venues.

At Salvation Army we were welcomed by 40 elderly people who were keen for conversation and a tasty treat.  It was great to have the opportunity to go into their rooms and see their facilities.  We hope to be able to help them more in the future.

When our team arrived at TAFTA Central there were 45 ladies all eagerly awaiting our arrival and welcomed us with a warm round of applause.

We handed out the gifts and cake, chatted and laughed over a cuppa tea. New bonds and friendships were made as we swapped stories and got to know one another.

Our time flew by, and before we knew it, it was time to leave.

The volunteers received many warm hugs and words of appreciation as the ladies left carrying their gifts.

Many of the volunteers were so deeply moved by the experience that they decided that they wanted to return in the not too distant future and are looking at a number of options of how they can get involved.

Thank you to our organisers Sarah Geddie and Sandie Rogerson, we really appreciate you.

Night Shelter visitation

Last night (25 February 2016), we joined the Isinkwa SeTheku team in going out to the night shelters to visit with the residents.

Isinkwa SeTheku is a not-for-profit that operates to bring hope to the homeless of our city.  Every Thursday night they meet and divide into teams that go to various shelters and visit the guys on the streets.  They visit the best and the worst of shelters to take food and a listening ear to those in need.  They also do a potjie day once a month to feed the people living on the street.

I had the privilege of going to a very new shelter in Durban called Haven of Hope.  It has only been operating for about 5/6 months but has put some really good things in place that will make it a safe place for people in need to stay.  They have 2 stories – one for males and one for females. Everything is very clean and neat and they have very strict rules around hygiene of  the residents and cleanliness of the building.  Well done to the Family trust that has seen the need and done something about it!

If you are ever at a loss for something to do on a Thursday night, i would recommend joining the Isinkwa SeTheku team in visiting the less fortunate of our city.  They meet at the St Paul’s Anglican Church on Monty Naiker Street at 6:45pm.

Jumble Gym no. 2

On the 30th January, a dedicated team of volunteers met at a crèche in Newlands East that partners with Key of Hope, to build a jungle gym. Most of the team had participated in a Jungle Gym build at the end of October 2015 so had a good idea of what to expect. Knowing they would take a jumble of wood and turn it into a work of art.

The day turned out to be a real scorcher with high humidity and we were wet with perspiration before we had even begun.

There were no plans to follow, just fertile imaginations. Fortunately the ground was a lot softer than the previous build so we had a few holes dug in no time. Two of the Dads brought their children along for the experience and they chipped in wherever they could. At this gym build we had access to electricity which helped a great deal when it came to cutting the various bits of timber to size, there was no need to use our blunt hand saws.

At the previous build our pièce de résistance was a ships wheel that the children could play with. Although this gym had a scramble net, monkey bars and swings, we felt that something extra was needed to finish it off.

After racking our brains for a while we decided that in view of the fact that the children at this crèche were tiny tots a sand pit would be appreciated. The problem was that we didn’t have any sand suitable for the children to play in.

While the team got to work building the enclosure for the sandpit, two volunteers were dispatched in a bakkie to find suitable sand.

Just after lunch the team completed the project but there was still no sand, after a few failed attempts to contact the sand men, and on completion of a photo shoot, most of the volunteers decided to call it a day and left.

Within the next 10minutes the sand men arrived with a bakkie load of sand.

 

The following day I went back to visit the crèche, I could see the sand pit had been well used.The crèche teacher informed me that the local children had had a wonderful time playing in the sand pit and on the jungle gym after we had left.

A big thank you to Embury College for the donation and to all our amazing volunteers who gave up their Saturday and toiled in the blazing heat to put smiles on the faces of many children.

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Youth Beach Day 2015

This Youth Day, We are Durban hosted 160 children from the Key of Hope organisation at Suncoast Pirates Beach for an amazing morning of games and treats.  The blessing of perfect weather, ideal beach conditions and a fantastic turnout of volunteers all contributed to this event being a huge success!

The children were divided into 10 teams and led through 5 game stations across the beach, supervised by volunteers who did an amazing job of setting up fun and safe games for the kids.  Beach soccer, tug of war, lifesaving training and body boarding were some of the favourites of the day.

 

We had over 100 volunteers join us from many different walks of life, including from Olive Tree Church, Key of Hope, Volunteer YOU, ITEN TV and Buyisithemba.  Lifeguards from the Siyasindisa Lifesaving Project and Suncoast Pirates Surf Lifesaving Club also spent the day with us. Charles and his team delivered a fun and interactive water safety talk, and went onto play games with the kids and keeping a lookout for safety during the swimming and body boarding sessions.

 

We were very fortunate to have a number of sponsors come on board, such as ITEN TV who donated T-shirts for the volunteers, peak caps for the children, delicious hotdogs, ice-creams and a snack hamper for each child (including juice, chips, a lollipop, apple, orange and sweets).  ITEN TV also kindly sponsored the cost of our Beach Permit, and provided sunscreen for the children. Holomatrix supplied coloured wristbands for each child’s safety and team marking, and Aquelle donated flavoured waters for the children to drink during the games. The Venture Group kindly loaned us a gazebo and two tug of war ropes, and Busyballers loaned us their soccer goals for the day.  Illovo lent us two of their gazebos to keep the food in shade, and Sir Juice sponsored fresh fruit juices for our volunteers. Besides facilitating the use of their beach and lawn, Suncoast Pirates Surf Lifesaving Club also offered us the use of their club facilities, which was of great value on the day.

 

Key of Hope has been in existence since 2008 and strives to make a difference in the lives of the orphans and vulnerable children in more than a dozen informal settlements and township communities in Durban. Their mission of “Unlocking the Future of South Africa” is accomplished by providing the long term mentoring relationships these children need not only to survive, but to thrive as citizens and leaders. The 160 children who joined us for the day are aged 8 – 12 years, and are orphaned or vulnerable, from the following areas of Durban: Effingham, Quarry Heights, Kabazela, KwaMashu, Duffs Road, Boxwood, Johanna Rd, Siyathuthuka, Sea Cow Lake, Briardene, Jamaica, Gum Tree, Smithfield, Temple and My Hill.

 

The incredible generosity of our sponsors, hard work and fun attitude of our volunteers, and selflessness of all involved contributed to the fantastic success of our 4th Youth Beach Day. For the children it was a day to remember.  Thank you to everyone who gave of their time, resources and energy to make it happen!

 

Happy mother’s Day

We Are Durban visited the TAFTA John Dunn Retirement Home last Friday, 8 May, for an early Mothers Day spoiling! We received a large donation of beauty product goodies, and put together pamper parcels for the female residents of the John Dunn House in Wentworth. We gave out approximately 50 pamper parcels and shared a chat (and even a dance!) with the ladies.

What a wonderful way to spend a Friday afternoon! Thank you to TAFTA for the amazing work that you do!