As we count down to International Volunteer Day 2018, I took a trip down memory lane to my first volunteering experience and then I realized its a journey I would love to take you on.

To have a better understanding of where it all started from, I will advice you read my first post because there, I shared the story of how I became interested in volunteering and the platform I joined that exposed me to the acts and duties of a volunteer.

If you have read that, then we can go down memory lane together lol!

I came across Volunteers in Nigeria when the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) embarked on a strike in July 2013. The strike lasted for almost 3 months if not more and as a penultimate year student of Lagos State University, all I wanted to experience was remarkable development during the period as I kept reminding myself of my entry into the labour market in a year.

I had just completed a professional training in broadcasting and with my interest in social development programs, I started searching for platforms to get more training and skills. Then, I found Volunteer in Nigeria, a platform that connected young people with volunteering opportunities. I signed up eagerly with my blackberry device at the time and followed up on some of the activities.

Luckily for me, the founder, Chioma Okeke thought my profile was interesting and she took personal interest in me. Few months after I signed up, she called me up to tell me about International Volunteer Day 2013 and insisted I joined in the search for radio stations that could host us within and outside Lagos for a radio tour. Thankfully, I had just completed my training in broadcasting and with a brief radio experience which accompanied my training package, it was easy to use my link to get us a spot on top radio with my trainer Wyse.

To be honest, at the time, I didn’t fully understand volunteering because I was new to it all. During the campaign on radio, all I said was largely based on google knowledge lol, but I knew I had genuine passion for it.

Fast forward to 2014, Chioma kept in touch and I signed up for most of the opportunities she posted on the platform. Then came this opportunity to be part of the volunteers at the Herbert Onye Orji Foundation Launch at the Nigeria Institute of International Affairs, Lagos in March 2014. It was an exciting opportunity for me because I was selected to host the event alongside a prominent broadcaster.

I set out that day with so much excitement but…😭 Lagos traffic had other plans. I remember how my phone kept buzzing continuously with Chioma checking to know where her Volunteer host was. Well, I had upgraded from blackberry to my first android device, a tecno phantom F7, and as much as I loved my new device, I felt like smashing it everytime the calls came in, I wished I had wings, I prayed for better luck with the traffic but I guess it wasn’t meant to be.

I managed to get to the event few hours to the end, yea, you guessed right, I had lost my opportunity to host my first big event. However, I shook off the disappointment because regardless, I was still excited to be out VOLUNTEERING! I assisted with other things at the event and got some financial reward for the trouble. Win-Win yea?

Well, the day the go the way I imagined but that day was the beginning of a whole of event that came together to shape my person 4 years down the line. Again, it was beyond the gains, it was more of the desire to be part of something different and lending a hand when I could. This confirmed largely the position that “volunteers dont have the time but they have the heart”.

It’s just 4 days to International Volunteer Day 2018, Are you ready to lend a hand while you grow in the process?

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