I was introduced to ISCOS by a staff of the organization. I didn’t hesitate to sign up as a volunteer since I was already working with SCORE. I believe in giving people second chances as I was fortunate to have been given many throughout my life.
I have taken part in a couple of events and was given a leadership role for ISCOS Family Day 2010 and Book Grant 2010. The staffs at ISCOS are approachable, and they value their volunteers. They even created an event just to show their appreciation. Key volunteers received an award and I too was privileged to be recognised like a celebrity. They are great listeners and take our suggestions into serious considerations. As a result, the volunteers have developed a strong sense of belonging and identity which drives us to contribute further. In fact, apart from supporting the cause, I feel that it was the joy of working as a team that brought us volunteers together over and again.
Apart from meeting new people and making friends from all walks of life, I also got a chance to overcome my weaknesses and rediscover myself from within. ISCOS had given me an opportunity to hone my leadership and communication skills while working on these projects. The achievement we accomplished as a team has given me much self-satisfaction and ultimately made me a happier person.
The one person that has left a deep impression in me is Elvis. I have collaborated with him on major projects and he has always given me 101% support. He valued my suggestions and empowered me with a lot of trust. He has done excellent coordination work between the staff and team of volunteers. We have developed a good rapport that I believe will help us achieve success in more projects in time to come. He is both a friend and manager to me. He changes his hat quickly and definitely knows when to come in with a different voice. I would say he was the key to the volunteers.
Volunteers bring in more volunteers; I think this is an excellent model for the team to grow. As an active volunteer, I have introduced many of my friends and business partners to ISCOS. I have even brought in the closest person to me, that is my wife who is a home-maker. Ever since she volunteered, her social circle has grown and I can see that she is more cheerful. She takes part in all the events that I am involved and has also started to assume leadership roles. I am happy for her as she can now channel her energy into something meaningful. She will continue to be an active volunteer and is looking forward for a more challenges in the next upcoming family day in 2011.
ISCOS has bigger plans in 2011 and will definitely count on the volunteers again. As a process of growth, we will be expecting new faces. To the existing volunteers, we should prepare ourselves to be good role model and help new volunteers fit into the organization as quickly as possible. We like to work with people whom we are familiar with but we may unintentionally send the wrong signal to aspiring volunteers that they are not welcomed. We should involve them and make their contribution significant. This will in turn give them an encouragement to contribute.
To the aspiring volunteers, I look forward to working with you in future projects but remember, we are here to serve and not to be served. If you are looking forward to a fulfilling experience as an ISCOS volunteer, you need to be givers. Rather than asking for resources, we create the resource. Rather than communicating a problem, we find a solution. We need to be creative and work within constraints given by ISCOS management. In return, we get camaraderie, experience and self satisfaction. If you are prepared to give, others will be ready to receive.