This post was contributed by Catherine Dannaoui, Head of Communications, HandsOn Hong Kong.
Whenever I’m given the opportunity to talk about the power of volunteering, I think of the many stories I’ve heard from our volunteers about how serving others has shaped and impacted their lives. One of my favourite stories is that of Pia Warburton, who has been a HandsOn Hong Kong Volunteer Leader for nearly four years. She helps us to run and manage our service activities at Christian Action’s Centre for Refugees and Asylum Seekers—each of whom have had to leave their own home country for fear of persecution.
Pia has spent almost every Saturday morning for the last four years, during term time, at Chung King Mansions helping children with their week’s homework. But the time she spends with them means so much more than that.
Pia still remembers one 7 year old girl, who she helped with reading and spelling last year. She was a girl with great potential but who—for various reasons—had never received a solid foundation in reading or writing. They spent a lot of time on exercises for basic spelling words and the girl understandably struggled with her focus and frustration. When Pia felt the girl was really ready, she gave her a blank book and asked the girl to write whatever came to her mind— of all the things she could have written, she chose to write a thank you message to Pia.
It is because of change-making moments like these that volunteers like Pia find the motivation to keep on serving—these moments are the reason why HandsOn volunteers gave 25,869 hours of their time last year to serve over 46,000 people in need. Some of these moments are super powerful like this one, others are more ordinary and every day, but all of them are based on connection and a wonderful exchange between people. Our volunteers tell us time and time again that serving others makes them happier and more fulfilled.
To find out more about how you can become a volunteer and help our community please visit: http://www.handsonhongkong.org/volunteers
HandsOn Hong Kong is part of the world’s largest network dedicated to volunteer service, Points of Light. The Hong Kong chapter was founded by Shaun Bernier ten years ago after she moved here from the US and realized there weren’t any organizations focused on connecting the needs of the local community and charities, with volunteers keen to support them.
HandsOn closed this gap by developing volunteer programs for these under-resourced NGOs and mobilizing volunteer manpower to support them year-round. We now run close to 150 volunteers activities on our calendar each month in support of over 90 non-profit partners. We do this as a free public service at no charge to NGOs or to individual volunteers.
Our work would not be possible without public support and donations through our fantastic friends at Twopresents, who are critical in allowing us to continue supporting the local community. All donations we receive—large or small—play a significant role for us. For example HK$100 allows a volunteer to serve a warm, nutritious soup to an elderly person in need, while HK$5,000 would make it possible for us to organize a party and gifts for 20 underprivileged children who may not have celebrated a birthday before—supported by volunteers.