A Volunteer Story Straight from NYC

Written by //Geeth Mahagamage//

Community engagement has always been a big part of my life. As a child, I was shown how the smallest actions that we take to help someone can go a long way to changing their life, and how a collection of such small actions can change the whole world. Volunteering seems to be the best way that I can give back to the community around me while at the same time develop myself.

Each time I have volunteered, it has not only increased my skills, but it has also expanded my network of relationships. The Future We Want Model United Nations Conference,  took place in New York City from February 28th to March 3rd. This was a much different and unique experience compared to all the various projects and events in which I have volunteered since I started working with different organizations. There were 45 volunteers who served as staff members in the logistical team, and each one of them brought something different to the team. Most importantly, there was so much diversity and talent within the group of volunteers that enabled us to keep learning from one another constantly. We had people from different countries and different cultural backgrounds. We all worked together to make the event successful. More than 1600 young change-makers from over 70 different countries took part in the conference where they simulated a United Nations assembly to discuss many problems that we have to confront in a global scale and collaborated with one another to come up with practical and farsighted solutions.

The young generation is often addressed as the “leaders of tomorrow”, but the same young people do not get to actively contribute to creating a better future that they can safely lead. The only way to get young people involved with creating such a future is to empower them. I saw this conference truly empowering young people by not only providing them with a platform to speak and communicate but also by training them and providing the necessary skills to successfully assess problems and collaboratively tackle them.

I enjoyed every bit of the conference, both as a staff member and as a young change-maker who wants to see a better world. This experience most certainly enriched my life in a number of ways. It helped me build friendships with the other staff members as well as the delegates from around the world. As the work started increasing and we were faced with problems that we weren’t expected, we needed a lot of coordination and leadership and all of the volunteers contributed to that need which brought us closer as a team while teaching us how to work under pressure and in a timely manner. We also had the opportunity to listen to speakers and committee sessions where a lot of interesting ideas came out, and we got the opportunity to learn from them and change the way we see our role in resolving world issues and understand the importance of collaboration. But above all of this, every single volunteer went home with the satisfaction that they had the opportunity to do good and play their part in helping the world. I would encourage anyone to get involved with events that involve volunteering and get the same if not a better experience.

Keep volunteering – keep changing the world!

IVolunteer International is a Gold Seal nonprofit organization on Guidestar. Operating from Savannah, Georgia, IVolunteer International connects volunteers to volunteer projects around the world. Since 2017, IVolunteer has connected over 3,000 volunteers worldwide. In 2019, World Trade Center Savannah selected IVolunteer International as finalists of the Peace Through Trade Competition. In 2020, IVolunteer International will develop and launch a geo-connecting mobile application which will be available to volunteers around the world. 

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