I am sure those of us who attended the Volunteer Interaction today felt energized and inspired. At least I did. Here is what happened for those who missed it!
Around 26 of us arrived at the center for a completely informal interaction session.
The agenda of the meeting was clear- a platform for volunteers to meet each other, discuss and tell about their challenges, find solutions for the challenges, discuss about funds for LEAD, Joy of Giving Week and how we can help LEAD do better, reach more people..
The session started with a fun game- Names, names- Everyone will say, "Names, Names we all have name, you tell yours and we will tell the same (with actions :) Each participant has to tell his/her name and plan an action rhythm, others have to imitate the action. It was wonderful to see the smiles, laughter that our gestures brought.
Ameeta mam with her unique storytelling abilities, told an inspiring story - The Daffodil story. A story about how a single woman transformed a barren landscape into a beautiful meadow filled with different colored daffodils. The lady worked tirelessly since 1958 to make her vision of beauty and celebration come into reality by planting over 50,000 bulbs, her mantra- "One bulb at a time".
The story touched deep chords- It spoke about having a dream, a vision, working tirelessly for the vision.
Never being overwhelmed by the task ahead but taking things as they come..and the best of all- Its never too late to make a change, start today don't fret about not doing it yesterday.
This was followed by introduction with the contribution to LEAD as well as the challenges faced by each of us. It was wonderful to see how we all came to LEAD through various ways and how each of us contributed to LEAD and how LEAD contributed to our lives.
There were many challenges / suggestions discussed in the meet, some of them are listed here-
What to do when new people come to inquire about LEAD during classes, it wastes times and they many times do not come back - Kartha Mam (We learnt her first name for the first time today since we all knew her as Kartha mam, it is Sati)
Solution: Handling them LEAD's visiting cards with the website address and telling them to check and get back and contact the numbers given, sticking a note outside with contact detail of Rupesh/ Kailash and website detail. If they are genuine they will do so and come back, if they don't; we lose nothing.
Severe volunteer crunch faced in Airoli Center - Many volunteers
Solution: We all have a group of close friends, we can ask them for tea one day and talk to them passionately about LEAD. Our friends know us well and seeing our passion and love, show genuine interest.
Same thing can be done by us in an online medium, we can great our own google group, keep our close friends in it and inform them about the biggest events of LEAD. They will respond if we talk to them personally. (many of us have joined because our friends told us about LEAD and we hope we can inspire others too. best way is by talking)
Children don't come on time so two hours seem insufficient- Kartha mam
Solution: Since many volunteers already do fieldwork, there is enough goodwill in the community. In order to make them come on time we have to consistently apply reinforcement strategies- giving stars/ stamps on good behavior, taking away stars on unwanted behavior. They should be told one with maximum stars will get to sit with the teddy, or will be appreciated in front of the class.
We can make the elder kids (Maruti, Suresh) responsible by making them Leaders of their groups. They will be responsible for specific activities- on field visit/ sports/ hygiene/ discipline etc.
We need to star a mentor program with the kids- some young volunteers can select and mentor a child especially elder children and talk to them as friends. They need to be shown dreams, ways to achieve them so that kids are inspired and study hard.
On the same lines we can have practical visits to offices to show them how people work and how they can get here. We can tell them "you need to clear board and go to junior college, graduate and then get a job like this, you can do this".
A file for each child, in order to make parents of our kids more supportive and committed to educate their children, we need to show how good their children are doing, this by monthly meeting with parents where we show a file with their kids work- art, craft, studies.
(2 different volunteers will come each Sunday to prepare this, Rupesh has taken the task for assigning the work)
Since we have many friends who 'liked' LEAD's page on Facebook, we need to involve them by having discussion, the very first being- lets introduce ourselves and what we are doing with lead
After this discussion, Rupesh told us about the monthly expenditure for LEAD's three centres- Rs. 25,000 and how we need to raise this money through different activities.
-Firstly we are banking on the Joy of Giving week (2-8 Oct) to create awareness and more funds. We have discussed three strategies- Going to schools (conducting games, showing movies, selling chocolates), Colleges (collection drives, donation camps, volunteer registration), Corporates (stalls, team building games, fund raising competitions)
-We require more people to forward the proposals we have created for schools and colleges and give us more ideas and avenues for corporate activities. Just visit a school near you and take the print out of joy of giving letter, i will be sending and tell them to give us at least an hour.
-We also have the copies of 'Popular Science' Magazine which need to be marketed to raise funds. You will find a mail already passed in that respect. (hurry it is the september issue, we have also given it to our volunteers to sell it in their social circles)
-Kamlesh one of our volunteers has come up with an ingenious idea to create awareness and bring more people in LEAD. He has initiated a 'Ride for a Change' where riders will go on a trip to Malsej Ghat and they can contribute whatever they feel like for the cause.
So we have many ways of raising funds, we just need to start spreading the word!
Before I end the meeting, I will quickly mention the tasks undertaken-
Geeta will follow up about Ghansoli room
Priyanka will follow up on her SAP and other training to resume
Rupesh will follow up on Magic Bus to get us Sports experts
Rupesh will assign two volunteers to work on creating a file on each kid
All lead volunteers will start spreading the word consciously
Pratik will go to his college and talk about an activity about LEAD
Today session was totally successful even though we stretched to 7 pm ;)
What do you say guys, should we have an interactive session like this, on last sunday of every month (around the same time (3-6) ? (Please reply if interested)