“If you’re unsure about whether or not you should volunteer, I have one suggestion: do it. You will become a greater person, and in the process help others. There’s really not much better than that.” Andrew Blake
Meet Andrew. A magician with words, he is our star writer and editor, volunteering virtually from China to provide blogs and content for HavServe. Born in Vancouver and raised in Massachusetts, he studied English literature at Georgetown. He then worked as an education consultant in Shenzhen, China, assisting over 60 high school and college aged students to find suitable undergraduate programs in the United States, and coaching them to discover prospective career trajectories. He now does freelance work in China and will begin his master’s degree in International Economics and Conflict Management at John Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies this coming fall. When he is not working or volunteering, you’ll find him reading one of the classics or long-distance running.
His first volunteering experience was as a tutor in high school, leading him to then spend three years as a member of Georgetown’s D.C. Schools Project, working with elementary and middle school students from immigrant families. “I think that if I hadn’t tutored immigrant and first-generation children in D.C., I may not have been inspired to work abroad after graduation—which, to say the least, has completely shaped my worldview and has encompassed some of my most spectacular moments in my twenty six years”, he says.
While based in Shenzhen, he found it hard to find volunteering opportunities that could fit into his sporadic and unpredictable work schedule, and that catered to foreigners who spoke little Chinese. “I knew something was missing in my life, so I started to shop around to see if I could do any volunteer work remotely—and through the UN Online Volunteers, I stumbled across HavServe last Spring”.
Andrew was attracted to HavServe’s mission, vision, values, objectives and the opportunities for blogging: “As a writer, I was ecstatic that I could contribute my efforts to craft HavServe’s message and widening its outreach. After an on-boarding call with HavServe Founder, Carline Brice-Mesilus, I was sold—I was drawn in by the feelings of warmth and community that helps make HavServe what it is.”
“I can’t speak enough to how supportive the HavServe team is, and it’s been very clear to me that everyone involved has a passion for service. HavServe has allowed me to build upon my writing skills and, along the way, I’ve received constructive critiques and praise for the time that I’ve put in. As a volunteer—or even just as another human being—it’s been a huge confidence boost and I’m extremely grateful to work with such talented people.”
His advice to volunteers is: “commitment in one area of your life will help you apply it across the board (read The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg if you don’t believe me!). Give yourself up to causes greater than yourself and you’ll reap rewards.”
If you are interested in learning more about HavServe’s work in Haiti or are looking for a volunteer experience abroad – check out our programs available here! If you HAVE, you too can SERVE.
Posted by Catalina Verna – HavServe Marketing and Communication Coordinator