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5 Dec: International Volunteer Day (IVD)

05 December 2017

International Volunteer Day (IVD) mandated by the UN General Assembly, is held each year on 5 December. It is viewed as a unique chance for volunteers and organisations to celebrate their efforts, to share their values, and to promote their work among their communities, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), United Nations agencies, government authorities and the private sector.

2017 Theme: Volunteers Act First. Here. Everywhere.

IVD 2017’s theme #VolunteersActFirst. Here. Everywhere. recognizes the contributions of volunteers as first responders in times of crisis. Volunteers are present, all around us, answering calls in times of need, helping save lives today, and supporting those who want to continue living their lives with dignity tomorrow. Risking their lives every day to care for people affected by conflict, violence and humanitarian crises, volunteers brave many dangers to help others, driven by the desire to make a difference in the face of human suffering. This year, IVD promotes the contributions of such volunteers at the local, national and international level.

On a local level, Volunteer Now working in partnership with Bryson Charitable Group EVS (European Voluntary Service)  Programme has welcomed many volunteers over the years.   Our latest volunteer Anja tells of her experience ……………

"My name is Anja Romer. I came over here  from Germany to start my EVS with Volunteer Now in Belfast this March.

Working with Volunteer Now generally means I promote and co-ordinate volunteering across Northern Ireland. I work with the Youth and the Outreach Engagement Team. In fact I’m at the office a lot. I do mostly social media and work on our database and website, prepare information leaflets and send out newsletters but I am also out and about sometimes I support my team at events and information stands at schools, colleges and other career fairs where I can always contribute with my own volunteer story. Volunteer Now facilitates NCS for Omagh and Castlederg and so I went on several residentials with young people during summer and autumn. We did loads of outdoor activities but also talked about their social action project. Let me tell you, that was an experience of its own kind!

I already learned a lot during my EVS with Volunteer Now. Not just do I feel very comfortable communicating in English, be it face to face or on the phone, but also I developed leadership skills and expanded my personal horizon. My coordinating organisation Bryson Charitable Group provides me with training and lots of support.

I especially enjoy going to different places and meeting new people, learning about charities and organisations but also learning much about myself. I love inspiring people to become involved in volunteering. Because who would’ve thought that in the end it would bring me here tothis awesome place with so many interesting people I  would never havemet and opportunities I would never havetaken? And it all started just by saying yes to volunteering back home in Germany in the first place."

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