A Day in the Life: Getting To Know LWB’s Education Volunteers
Joy. Glee. Fun! It seems like every time we see photos like this one from our Believe In Me school in Jinjiang, someone is laughing, playing and having a ball. What a pleasure it must be for the Education volunteers to be a part of this! We’d like you to meet two of these Education volunteers as part of our continuing series, “A Day in the Life”. While these two volunteers work with very different types of educational programs, they both have the opportunity to help individuals learn and reach for potential they never even knew they had.
Marilee Gilmore, Believe In Me –Jinjiang Coordinator: I found LWB on the Internet when searching for a foster child to sponsor in 2005. I had been so blessed by the adoption of my daughter from South Korea in 1984 and wanted to give back a little to another international child. I had researched different foundations and was amazed that this all-volunteer organization could do so much with the money contributed. A year later I joined the Education Team as a volunteer and have been with them ever since. I have been fortunate to be the Coordinator of Believe In Me-Jinjiang since we established the school in 2007.
Being retired, I have the opportunity to work at odd times during the day and evening. I love the freedom of working from my computer and as I wish. There is so much pleasure in being a LWB volunteer. Knowing that we are making a difference in the lives of these children every single day keeps me motivated to continue the work. I really enjoy seeing how much the children blossom in Education and how well we work as a team to improve their lives. My kids in school need the great start that the Nutrition program gives them, and many have Medical needs that need addressing. It is so great that we can all work together for them. I enjoy playing a small part in the work that we do.
Alyssa Ericksen, Associate Director of Mama’s Wish: I learned about LWB on a Yahoo group and immediately went and sponsored a little girl with the same special need as my son. I then did some research on LWB and was surprised and impressed when I read the annual report and discovered how low the administration costs are compared to the amount of work being done! The model of running a charity with volunteers intrigued me, and I decided that I would like to be one of them in some small capacity. I completed the application and was “hired” to be a coordinator for the Mama’s Wish program. We promptly chose a young student in the program to sponsor, and I look forward to my reports on her. LWB has continued to surpass my expectations, and I am amazed every day by the dedication of the volunteers and the scope of the work that we do in China.
I had just agreed to become the associate director when an earthquake hit the province where our program is based. I worried constantly about the kids until we were able to confirm that they were all safe. A typical day for me might involve answering emails, sending out reports to new sponsors, reviewing the month’s financial reports or emailing with my coordinators about their assignments. As a new director, I am definitely still “learning the ropes!”
I am privileged to be part of a program that allows girls, boys and young women and men to complete an education in a region of China where opportunities for them are scarce. We are truly changing many lives as we support these dedicated students. Another aspect that I value in volunteering for LWB is getting to see the work of the other programs at a deeper level. I avidly read the emails about little babies arriving at the healing homes, about field trips taken in our Believe in Me schools and about successful and life saving heart surgeries. I look forward every day to all of the good news posted about the children in our program. I am truly grateful to be a small part of this wonderful organization.