Why did you choose to volunteer with Serve The City?
My husband and I moved to Maastricht in August 2014 and we really wanted to get involved with people from all kinds of backgrounds. We signed up for our first project at the Suringar School Kindergarten, and even from this first project I was so happy to help and to see so many other people willing to help a school that needed it. Our first STC project day was a very good day, full of people that were passionate about serving others and by the end of it, we were fired up and ready to keep serving and volunteering too. It was not easy to leave our country and move somewhere new. STC, and this project within it, provided us with a warm welcome to Maastricht.
Here we are, four and a half years later and even more enthusiastic and passionate about voluntary service; with each new STC project I find myself more and more excited to experience that feeling of being able to help others. Today, we have our first Big Volunteer Day. Once again, I’m herewith the desire to unite people from many backgrounds, and to tell them that by choosing to spend their time volunteering with STC, they can make a big and practical difference in other people’s lives.
What is your purpose and vision for the BVD?
The last four years we experienced that there are a lot of questions for organisations in the city, and we have created this day to provide answers and help. We want people to know where the needs of people are (e.g. Refugee centre children who don’t have something to do at the weekend so we can do something with them). We ask many organisations ‘in which way can we help your target audience?’ And we got a lot of enthusiastic replies. Many people, including volunteers, came with ideas of how to help.
We have the vision that volunteers who like to get involved, we see the potential, if they are in the right environment, they can flourish. In the bvd there are many rules for volunteers, we hope to empower volunteers and also create new volunteers. For example if we help someone and they feel appreciated, they will help others too. It’s not a must have, but we want to create a natural culture and movement of service and help. We want to challenge the individual nature of people and show Maastricht that life is about connection and knowing community, not just in name but also context.
What were your hopes and expectations for the project?
I was very excited to see so many volunteers show up, it’s not about quantity but the quality. All the project leaders involved are awesome and I know the volunteers are in good hands. My hope and expectation is that the volunteers really have a time of connection between the volunteers and the people they help. And when they are going home for the evening, that they look back over the day and think that they did something good and worthwhile. And to know it’s really easy to see people, help people and love people. And to think, maybe next time at the shop or on the bus, maybe I can talk to someone or say something to appreciate those who help in the everyday.
I want people to get into the culture of helping each other. Connecting people by helping each other .
Is there anything else that you’d like to add?
The next Big Volunteer Day is Saturday 16 February. Valentines weekend! Good to know, especially for the Dutch – ‘NL doet ‘ a lot of organizations in the country want to do more visible volunteering, so we invite you to be involved in volunteering with us during this period.
If you are part of or know an organisation, and you think STC could help partner with you on an upcoming Big Volunteer Day, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
- – Thomas Gurbutt