Preparing To Serve: International Volunteer Orientation
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:
- Learning all about CMMB – our mission, vision, values, identity, programs, and countries
- Hearing from alumni volunteers about the joys and challenges of service
- Attending a variety of presentations on health, safety, and cultural competence
- 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!
So, Tell Us More About CMMB?
Next up? A well-earned break!
Right, Now Back to Work!
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.
A beautiful way to end the day!
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!
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.”
Parting Ways (only temporarily!)
What Exactly is CHAMPS?
An Escape From the Office!
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!
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
Marcia Grand Ortega, Senior Specialist
Brian Gabriel, Coordinator