How Can I Volunteer in Jamaica?
Answered by Isheba Cornwall, Associate Writer
You are considering volunteering in Jamaica right?
Cheers and Congrats!
Volunteering is giving your time, energy and resources for a worthy cause, putting a smile on someone else's face with no financial benefit.
Volunteering therefore is a work of HEART!
Some might wonder why volunteer? You don't get paid! Well yeah that's the essence of it. But before you can truly say you want to volunteer however, you have to understand and appreciate the importance of it - as cadets would say "Service Above Self!"
Today I'll share the current volunteer opportunities in Jamaica and exactly how you can go about becoming involved. But what's in in for you? What are the benefits of volunteering?
THE BENEFITS OF VOLUNTEERING?
Volunteering does so much for people in terms of making them a better person and helping them to make better use of their skills, strengths and talents; it helps them to grow as an individual and to unleash their full potential by receiving exponential results when they continuously indulge in these activities.
By improving and working on your strengths, volunteering also provides an opportunity for you to learn new skills.
I was able to get the chance to work with Davina Bennett, Miss Universe Jamaica who finished 3rd in the Miss Universe pageant in 2007, on a beautification project.
The job was to re-paint the Lister Mair Gilby School for the Deaf and can I tell you that prior to that I had never held a paint brush in my hand before! Through that experience, not only was I able to learn a new skill (painting), I was able to network with Davina Bennett and other young volunteers who were present. Through that one project, I got together a group of high school and University students who now help me with volunteer projects all over Jamaica.
People who tend to work for themselves (Entrepreneurs) do it because they feel a sense of self actualization and this is just the same for people who volunteer.
I can't stress it enough, giving back gives off a sense of completion and satisfaction. Not only are you improving yourself, but you're also improving the life of others along with contributing to nation building and just taking the first step to changing the world - one project at a time. Gaining self esteem and confidence is just a bonus.
WHO CAN VOLUNTEER?
With volunteering on a whole, the younger age kids start to volunteer the better as they'll get a deeper understanding and appreciation of it. However in travelling abroad to volunteer it is best to let children ages 12 and over volunteer based on the nature of the project.
If you are interested in volunteering in Jamaica you can do so individually, with your family, a group whether it be church or another organization, and also with high school students.
WHAT ARE THE TYPES OF VOLUNTEER PROJECTS AVAILABLE IN JAMAICA?
There are several types of volunteer projects available for you to fit your interests and passions.
HIGH SCHOOL PROJECTS
High School Volunteer projects provides a world of adventure for young people as they will be working side-by-side with the locals, having them participate in youth volunteer activities and teen summer camps. Internships are available for high school students which is structured to allow volunteers the option of combining projects to get the maximum exposure to the real Jamaican Culture, our history and don't forget the FOOD!
ORPHANAGE AND CHILD CARE PROGRAMS
We provide Orphanage Volunteer and Child Care Programs as well for persons who are interested in that field. Volunteers are heavily needed in this area as Orphanages are relying on the help and donations in order to keep the infrastructure up and running. This is fairly the easiest type of project to do as all you need to do is show love and affection to our children. You can also provide these kids with supplies and gifts to make a difference in their lives.
VOLUNTEER TEACHING ABROAD
Volunteer Teaching Abroad Opportunities are also available. You get to interact with students of different age groups from 3-6 (Basic School Level), 6-12 (Primary School Level) and students 12-17 (Secondary School Level). While interacting with them, you get to impact their lives positively while learning a new culture. You would get the opportunity to work with the local staff at whichever school is available and you can teach whichever subject you choose, whether it be jointly with a teacher or by yourself.
VOLUNTEER COACHING SPORTS
Not interested in teaching? That's completely fine. We literally have something for everyone! If you're more of an athletic person then this one is definitely for you. If your passion is coaching and sports on a whole then you should definitely volunteer in Jamaica as sports play an integral role in our Jamaican society. You can volunteer and coach sports here in Jamaica for whatever game you enjoy, if you have a passion also for developing sports in schools you can help out children and help coach teams.
VOLUNTEER BUILDING PROJECTS
If you're a little more technical and you love to use your hands then we have something for you also. We provide Volunteer Building Projects in Jamaica! There are too many individuals in Jamaica who are homeless and that is where you come in. If you are interested in providing a place for the homeless to stay then you can also volunteer your services with us. You will have the opportunity to do carpentry, painting, plumbing and other general construction work. In addition to building homes for the homeless, you can also help out with building basic schools in different parts of the island for little children ages 3-6 years old. Many of the buildings especially in the rural areas aren't of the best quality but with your help, skills set and creativity we can change that.
CONSERVATION AND ENVIROMENTAL VOLUNTEER ABROAD PROJECT
Are you an advocate for Environmental issues? Do you want to bring about change and encourage others to take these issues seriously? This one is for you! You can help with the management of two of Jamaica's important resources - the oldest and most popular park "HOPE GARDENS" and also the city's closest beach "HELLSHIRE." Imagine what great things you could do with the help of other volunteers. You will also get the opportunity to work on conserving Jamaica's Botanical Garden - the largest botanical garden of the English speaking Caribbean Islands.
VOLUNTEER HUMAN RIGHTS PROJECTS?
If you are interested in raising awareness of the various social issues we face as a nation - domestic violence, children's shelter, at risk youths and disadvantaged communities then this opportunity would be the best for you.
ELDERLY VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES
There are urgent need for nurses, physical therapists and professionals who can offer direct assistance to those elders who are chronically ill and need medical attention. If you love being around an old soul then you can volunteer with us here in Jamaica to put a huge smile on our elders faces. Who knows? maybe you can learn a thing or two from them about life.
ANIMAL VOLUNTEER PROGRAMS IN JAMAICA
Dogs and cats need shelter too you know! You can find many homeless animals across Jamaica and we need your help finding a home for them, protecting and taking care of them. If you are interested in veterinary medicine or you just love looking after animals then there's no doubt that this type of project is for you. Bring your expertise and great ideas as to how we can better care for our animals in Jamaica.
AGRICULTURE VOLUNTEER PROJECTS
Do this and you'll get first hand experience on exploring Jamaica's culture through planting. Think that you can't do this because you have no experience? Think again! As long as you can take instructions well and have a strong worth ethic, you can take on this project. If you have been searching for hands on activities and international experience, this is definitely it! Come learn a new life style - come learn the Jamaican way of life.
HOW TO SIGN UP FOR VOLUNTEER PROJECTS IN JAMAICA?
There are now quite a few websites created whose main aim is to facilitate the process of volunteering in Jamaica. To sign up for these projects in Jamaica, you can log on to jamaicavolunteerprograms.com or any other volunteer abroad website.
STEPS For - JamaicaVolunteerprograms.com
- Log onto the website - https://jamaicavolunteerprograms.com/apply-now/
- Be sure to check the prices for each type of volunteer project
- Click the "Apply Now" button
- Read the website's Terms or Services
- Complete an online application form as fully as possible and accept the Terms and Conditions
- A Program Advisor will contact you to discuss your interests and goals along with your skills to determine if the program you selected is best suited.
CLAIM YOUR DISCOUNT!
Ask for Maureen (the boss), and give her this code: MYISJA. Tell her that Wellesley sent you :-)
- Once your application is submitted and approved your NON- REFUNDABLE program fee and a deposit will be due. After full payment or deposit is made, you should start submitting the documentation requested.
- You will then be contacted within 3 -5 working days to start the documentation process. Updates on your trip will be done by emails, Skype, and phone calls.
So there you have it, go now and lend a helping hand, doing what you do best in a new rewarding experience. "Jamaica cah wait fi si yu" (Jamaica can't wait to see you).
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About The Author
A patriotic Jamaican who adores his culture, Wellesley has been using this medium to share what he calls 'the uniqueness of Jamaica with the world' - since April 2007.
To date, he serves over 8,300 unique readers / viewers per day.
His efforts have earned him featured positions in local publications, including the Jamaica Gleaner's Hospitality Jamaica, Carlong Publishers, as well as recognition from numerous prestigious international agencies and universities.
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