81.7% of volunteers reported increased engagement with community organization as a result of their participation in ACT!ON Jamaica.
Volunteering is as much a part of the fabric of Jamaica as is reggae and the Marley family. The ACTION Jamaica initiative emanated from a need to harness the collective spirit of volunteerism, energy, goodwill and available pool of talent, so that through these efforts, some of Jamaica’s most stubborn challenges could be alleviated.
Its systematic approach means that the local volunteer experience becomes even more meaningful and vibrant as volunteers can be paired with opportunities that are in keeping with their interests and competence.
ACTION Jamaica volunteers corps supports the initiatives of the JN Foundation, as well as other non-governmental organisations (NGO's), local community-based organisations and others that require its support. Formed in 2013, the programme receives an average of 10 requests monthly from external organisations.
Volunteerism has become an increasingly sophisticated activity, with the promotion of the gap year, more active retirees, and in many cases, mandatory voluntary service incorporated into school graduation requirements.
While opportunities for voluntary service abound; the absence of supportive structures weaken initiatives and sometimes translate to volunteer dissatisfaction and attrition; an inability to assess the efficacy of an initiative and, therefore, an inability to make timely modifications and maximize the potential of experience.
On December 5, 2015, NGOs and the most dedicated among us converged for the National Volunteer Symposium.
The symposium, held under the theme, “Volunteerism: A Spotlight on Youth Leadership and Innovation”, focused on the role that the movement plays in fostering youth leaders and young change makers. Through the addition of the GoVolunteerJa contest, representatives had the opportunity to make a video pitch of their ideas, for a chance to win J$50,000.
“Be of service. Whether you make yourself available to a friend or co-worker, or you make time every month to do volunteer work, there is nothing that harvests more of a feeling of empowerment than being of service to someone in need.” - Gillian Anderson, American Actress and Activist.
I have been volunteering from the age of nine (9) and have not stopped. Volunteering gives me a feeling of empowerment. I know that I am able to help someone who is just seeking a helping hand. My hand is always available. For me, it’s an avenue through which I can express gratitude for the help I have received from others.
Living in a society where persons are experiencing grave economic difficulties and have little hope for a bright future, volunteering helps me to reflect, focus and know that even with my limited resources, there are persons whose reality is more challenging than my own.
The work that I have done has made a difference in the lives of others and also contributed to communities in need. On December 21, 2012, I volunteered with Action Jamaica at the Golden Age Home. As I walked around, the residents seemed a little shy, but once I started to interact with them; holding their hands and praying with them, they began to open up. They made me aware that it’s not often that they experience that personal touch. One resident’s face lit up, and he expressed that although he has been at the home for ages, it was the first that someone had actually held his hands and prayed with him. I am an active member of the ACT!ON Jamaica programme, and I continue to work on projects which benefit various communities across Jamaica…………………………Neville Charlton