In Tamil there is a saying ' The leg used to dancing will not stand still' (ஆடின கால் நிக்காது).
Like the popular bank which claims never to sleep, my mind which was running ahead of me was egging me on with the next act, after my meets with the elders.
Even a decade back during my days of association with corporates, after interviewing many candidates used to wonder how badly they miss their opportunities due to lack of expression and communication. Ever since, I have been wanting to catch the young and help them in honing their skills, which could convert opportunities to achievements. Unlike the 80 kids, the present generation is far ahead in their pursuit but I feel that proper guidance and mild course corrections could convert more into achievers from also-ran.
Then I came across this organization which is building and encouraging 'a crazy team of volunteers', keen on supporting the young and needy. The organization ( https://www.teameverest.ngo/) not only support the young with scholarship but also help them with soft and other skills required to make them beat the race and turn achievers. The organization, in operation for over 15 years, seems to have trained thousands of educationally poor and needy, with some dedicated volunteers from across the globe. One of the few areas that the current pandemic does not seem to have impacted is this type of coaching as everything related to this is online. Right from orientation of volunteers to five sessions with the chosen student, coaching handbook for volunteers to the feedback session for students, the organization has wisely chosen the online route where all that is required for the student to benefit is a mobile phone, which almost everyone seems to possess irrespective of their economic status.
Though it was hard to believe the experienced and committed CEO, who is learnt to have given up his lucrative corporate job to indulge in volunteering, was so passionate that with his focus and commitment aided by a handful of dedicated support staff was able to run such sessions as a well oiled machinery that never got stuck, as witnessed by me with my latest volunteering debut.
The process for volunteers starts with an intense orientation session followed by five sessions of 45 minutes each spread over ten days with a student allocated to every volunteer. The student allotted to me was from an economically poor background with his father a daily wager and mother doing odd domestic jobs. But the young lad doing his first year bachelor's in computer at a college, which incidentally is my alma mater too, was full of enthusiasm and discipline. He always joined the call at the agreed time, followed meticulously the curriculum so well defined by the NGO and it was a joy to find the student making progress every day , as evidenced by the completed exercises presented by him at the next session! The boy with an ambition to become a computer professional had all the making of becoming one and he confirmed with his feedback every session that he is on track and is being benefitted by my inputs. That he will raise the family above the present status was evident with the first statement making exercise given, when he responded with "I love my family" as the answer !!
What was amazing to learn later was that 750 such volunteers worked over the past two weeks to bring light into the lives of around 1000 students and when enlarged how well will such noble acts help the young ones across the country in the years to come! The concluding reflection meet with the volunteers revealed that some long term mentor-mentee teams also blossomed due to these sessions and that augurs well for the vision of the NGO, whose passion is to encourage volunteering.
It was a nice gesture from the volunteering organization to present the volunteers with an e-Certificate but the volunteers will cherish more the invaluable association and positive improvements in their students.
Delighted to have spotted a long searched avenue and I only wish many more people qualified to impart such support services join hands with this team in their quest to not only catch but also coach the young and needy early so that more and more of younger generation is benefitted by the years of wisdom of the experienced ones.
This is also an avenue for the volunteers to realize that there is more joy in giving than taking !!
Happy Volunteering !!