Volunteering with the volunteers

While I’m in Hong Kong, I’m visiting a group called Crossroads Foundation.  I have had a number of friends come here over the years, so I’ve been in touch with their work for a while.  It’s very exciting to be here in person – see the site and meet the people I’ve been hearing about in monthly newsletters for more than 10 years!

Crossroads is operated by a team of full time unpaid volunteers, which includes people who are here ‘permanently’, and those (like me) who breeze in for shorter periods – from a few weeks to a few years.  There are about 60 people on full time team at the moment.  None of these people are paid – all their living expenses etc come from other generous financial supporters.

This is not nearly enough people do all the work that goes on here, so we rely heavily on ‘community volunteers’.  These are local individuals, school and corporate groups and occasional international teams.  Some come regularly, and some just once or very occasionally.

I tell you this, because while I’m here I’m helping out in the volunteers office, where two of us try to work out who is coming in each week, and where to place them according to what work needs to be done.  It involves a fair bit of admin, being welcoming and friendly to all the volunteers and knowing lots about everything that’s going on around the place.  Very importantly, it also involves developing good relationships with all the department managers so you can variously tell them there’s no volunteers available today to do the job they want done, or cajole them into taking lots of  volunteers and finding worthwhile tasks for them to do when they may not have expected any!  It’s busy, interesting and people-intensive, and I’m enjoying it so far.

I’m working with a lovely lady called Mandy, who most recently lived in Darwin, so the heating in our office is always ‘tropical’.  Mind you, for the last three days (count them, three!) there has been blue sky and intermittent sun here (amazing!) so there was actually a fleeting moment of having the office window open today!

Flowers and fruit trees are decorating the site at the moment ahead of  Chinese New Year – a major festival in Hong Kong starting this weekend

Reception / volunteers (that’s me!) / Silk Road Cafe / Global Handicrafts shop… all this way. And note the blue sky in the background!

Categories: Crossroads | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

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One thought on “Volunteering with the volunteers

  1. Pip

    sounds like it busy and lots of people. hope you have some down time too.

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