Our newest cohort of international volunteers recently spent a busy and inspiring three days at our NYC city headquarters preparing for their deployment into the field. This preparation included:

  1. Learning all about CMMB – our mission, vision, values, identity, programs, and countries
  2. Hearing from alumni volunteers about the joys and challenges of service
  3. Attending a variety of presentations on health, safety, and cultural competence
  4. Participating in a variety of workshops including, cross-cultural communication, storytelling, fundraising, and stress management

(Phew! We told you it was a busy time.)

Over the next few months, Jose Garcia, Jessica Pikul, Virginia “Ginger” Chapman, Jolynn Wynkoop, Daniel Maxwell, Angela Baratt, and Carolyn Flaherty will be heading out to serve. While the orientation has equipped them with the information they need to feel better prepared for the experience ahead, more than anything, it has helped to build a support system – one where everyone feels part of something bigger than their individual experiences. They really are now a part of our CMMB global family.

Volunteer Orientation Photo Diary

Day One: What Brings You Here?

To kick off our July orientation, volunteers had the opportunity to introduce themselves, including what brought them to CMMB and their hopes for the experience. In addition, our volunteers spent the day learning the ins and outs of CMMB!

Everyone loves a good icebreaker!

Jolynn and Virginia sharing at our volunteer orientation

Jolynn (left) has a genuine love for going out and exploring the world and hopes to learn how to serve with the values and mission of CMMB. Virginia (right) shared that she is a grandmother of eight, has two dogs, and a sheep (sounds like a full house to us)! Her biggest hope: that she will be ready to leave for her trip, with confidence and excitement!

Daniel and Carolyn sharing at our volunteer orientation

Carolyn, known as “Carrie” by friends and family, hopes to grow and learn more about what life and service will be like in South Sudan. Daniel, on the right, shared similar sentiments.

Dr. Jose sharing at the 2018 Volunteer Orientation

Jose is the first and only doctor in his family. His hope is to be inspired.

International volunteer Jessica sharing at the July 2018 volunteer orientation

Jessica shares that she first learned about helping humanity at St. Louis University. She has love for others, wants to create bonds with other volunteers, and wants to learn how to be most effective when serving others.

International volunteer Angela, sharing at the July 2018 volunteer orientation

Angela said that she wants to listen, learn, and ask as much as she can to understand.

So, Tell Us More About CMMB?

lara Villar presenting at the July 2018 volunteer orientation

Lara Villar, SVP of strategy and innovation presents on the global structure of CMMB, and elaborates on some of our programs, values, and mission.

Chris Foster, presents at the July 2018 volunteer orientation

Chris Foster, director of strategy and business analytics, shares CMMB’s strategy, how it has evolved over time, and why we focus on women and children.

Next up? A well-earned break!

Volunteers enjoying lunch

Our volunteers get to know one another over lunch! From left to right: Jessica Pikul, Jolynn Meza Wynkoop, Dr. Helene Calvet, and Angela Baratt.

Right, Now Back to Work!

Rob Wuillamey, presenting at our 2018 July volunteer orientation

Rob Wuillamey, director of partnerships and one of our longest serving members of staff (20 years!) shares about the history of CMMB.

Guest speaker time!

“We must limit one way giving, subordinate our self-interests, and do no harm.”

Dr. Helene Calvet’s presentations focused on the challenges and opportunities of Global Health. And, what better way to begin than by discussing her experience as a volunteer. One of the most important realities learned from her experience volunteering is that – if not done correctly, charitable work can do more harm than good. In overcoming this reality, she left the volunteers with a little advice, “We must limit one way giving, subordinate our self-interests, and do no harm.”

In terms of challenges volunteers might face, there are many possibilities  – ethical dilemmas, personal conflicts, and spiritual challenges are among the few Dr. Calvet described. But, with the right mindset and preparation, our volunteers will be able to learn from and do what they can, despite these challenges.

Dr. Helene Calvet presenting at the July 2018 Volunteer Orientation

Dr. Helene Calvet giving the ‘need to knows’ about the opportunities and challenges of global health. Helene is an alumni volunteer and continues to support CMMB on ongoing medical mission trips.

A beautiful way to end the day!

Reflections from CMMB Alumni volunteers, Q&A

Day one of orientation wraps up with a panel discussion with some of our amazing alumni volunteers. The session was moderated by Laura Manni, senior manager of community engagement and communications. During the discussion, alumni volunteers answered questions, reflecting on their time serving.

The Alumni Volunteers participating in a panel discussion

Seated from left to right is Dr. Helene Calvet, Cathryn Espadero, Dr. Mary Fleming, and Dr. Harry Owens. Even Pope Francis made an appearance!

International Volunteers at the Alumni Panel

Day Two: Things Get a Bit More Serious

Day two gave volunteers insight into everything they need to know about working in the field! Among the important issues discussed were health, safety, and security!

George Nyeki speaking at the july 2018 volunteer orientation

Day two started with presentation on health, safety, and security abroad. Among the presenters is George Nyeki – our director of IT.

Guest Speaker Time (round two)!

“Take off your RN hat and become part of the crowd.” 

Guest speaker, Anita-Deeg Carlin of Fairfield University led a workshop on cultural humility. During her session, she explained that immersing within a different culture requires individuals to step out of their comfort zones. In doing so, they gain a sense of openness, respect, and awareness. She stressed to the volunteers that cultural humility is an attitude. It is not something people learn and because of this, there are going to be roadblocks that cause confusion and emotions – and that’s okay.

It is how these roadblocks are approached and overcome that is most critical to the the work of a volunteer. She leaves the volunteers with a final notion – in order to effect change there needs to be a form of immersion, meaning it is crucial to “Take off your RN hat and become part of the crowd.”

Anita - Deeg Carlin presenting at the July 2018 volunteer orientation

Guest speaker, Anita-Deeg Carlin from Fairfield University talks about cultural humility and cross-cultural communication.

Parting Ways (only temporarily!)

Country breakout Sessions

Moving into breakout sessions, the volunteers learn all about culture and safety in their country of service. From left to right in the photo above are the South Sudan, Peru, and Kenya sessions.

What Exactly is CHAMPS?

Claudia and Dick presenting at the 2018 volunteer orientation

Up next on the agenda for our volunteers are presentations from Dick Day, SVP of programs and volunteers and, Claudia Llanten, our senior specialist for maternal child health. They share with the group insight into specific country programs – programs like our Children and Mothers Partnerships (CHAMPS), and the CMMB approach.

An Escape From the Office!

Volunteer orientation sunset activity

Day two for our volunteers comes to an end with a boat cruise on the Hudson, and a team dinner!

Day Three: Saying Farewell 

The final day of orientation featured another series of presentations. This round focused on setting expectations, fundraising, and closing up any lose ends to ensure our volunteers are prepared to have a successful volunteer experience!

A series of photos from CMMB's July 2018 Orientation

Laura Manni, senior manager of community engagement and communications presents on how to best capture and share stories from the field.

Laura Manni's presentation - July 2018 volunteer orientation

Here, the volunteers participate in a storytelling activity. Storytelling is not only critical for sharing with the world exactly what life is like for people who live oceans away, it is also critical for fundraising efforts and giving back to those whose stories we share.

Marcia and Brian presenting at the July 2018 volunteer orientation

Following Laura’s presentation, our volunteers hear from our volunteer team, Marcia and Brian. They discuss the CMMB code of conduct, review our volunteer handbook, and define what it means to set expectations.

Meseret Ansebo presenting at the July 2018 volunteer Orientation

Meseret Ansebo's July 2018 Volunteer Orientation Presentation

Volunteering internationally comes with many challenges – this is no secret. In addressing the stress that often goes hand in hand with these challenges, our volunteers next presentation is given by Meseret Ansebo, our VP of human resources. With them she discusses methods for dealing with stress, and developing resilience.

2018 Volunteer Orientation Wrap-Up Survey

Here, our volunteer orientation is beginning to wrap up. Our volunteers are completing a feedback survey regarding the program as a whole. These survey’s are critical to the volunteer team, as with each orientation they work to incorporate volunteer feedback into the planning process. It is in this way that our volunteer team ensures the orientation process is as helpful and supportive as possible.

CMMB volunteer commitment ceremony

Bruce leading our volunteer commitment ceremony

And finally, our volunteer orientation comes to an end as we send our volunteers off with the CMMB commitment ceremony. The ceremony concludes each volunteer orientation that we have here at CMMB. It is our way of officially committing our volunteers to their service roles, and share our support.

As you can tell, the past three days have been packed with activities, preparation, and most importantly – lots of laughs. We are so excited for our volunteers to begin their next journeys and we can’t wait to follow along with them. Be sure to keep an eye out for stories and updates from these amazing volunteers. As they share with us, we will share with you!

Meet the Global Volunteer Team

These are the talented people who worked ‘behind the scenes’ to make our orientation such a huge success.

Dick Day, Senior Vice President of Programs 

Dick Day, Senior Vice President of Programs

Marcia Grand Ortega, Senior Specialist

Marcia Grand Ortega - Volunteer Orientation

Brian Gabriel, Coordinator

Brian Gabriel at one of out volunteer orientation sessions

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