In general terms, volunteering is the practice of people working on behalf of others or a particular cause without payment for their time and services. Volunteering is generally considered an altruistic activity, intended to promote good or improve human quality of life, but people also volunteer for their own skill development, to meet others, to make contacts for possible employment, to have fun, and a variety of other reasons that could be considered self-serving. (Wikipedia)
Starting in the third week of June I became a volunteer at the Visitors Center of New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park. So every Saturday form 9 to 12 PM I will be at the front desk and greeting people (mainly domestic and international tourists). I am SO happy to be a part of this National Park!
At first, I applied as a tour guide (the Visitors Center has a free tour guide every Saturday, but this Summer time they have it everyday at 11.30 PM and 2.30 PM). I applied for that in order to improve my English conversation and to make a better knowledge of the history of New Bedford (esp. in Whaling era), but in order to do the guide I have to be trained first which they haven’t provided the training yet (maybe later, I dunno, I’ll probably doing that on Summer next year because there are too many historical things I need to learn. I’m not ready to do that now). But as for now, being the front desk every Sat morning is very refreshing coz I met a lot of people and getting to know bit by bit about New Bedford.
My ‘mentor’ and also my volunteer mate is Diane Duprey, I think she’s in her 60-ish. She’s very nice and she knows New Bedford area and history very well! Compare to me, I even have a difficulties to read the MAP! (I can’t read map, hiks). So every time the guest came to me and start to ask “Can you show me how to get to __________”, I was like…..”Err…..wait, she will explaining it to you” (sambil masang tampang cupu, haa). And along with me and Diane, there’s also Roy.
Basically my “job” at the front desk is greeting the people, jot down the statistic numbers of people who came, invite the visitors to watch movie at the theater (The City tht Lit the World is the title), make sure all the brochures and flayers in the racks are neat and stocked up, arrange the books and merchandises at the shop and guide the people to bathroom (no, kidding! but yeah, ” is there any restroom” is the MOST popular question from the visitors).
Many volunteers at this park mainly are seniors (65+), in fact I probably the one and only volunteer within 25-45 range of age. I met some youngster, but they’re like in Junior high and some even younger (they’re called Junior Ranger). But that’s not a problem. I know being a volunteer at the park is not something COOL especially at the range of my age people are in their career oriented or study path…So, I’m the only exception at this case :p
The Visitors Center is located in William Street, Downtown New Bedford, it was once an Old Bank. It is open 7 days a week a year round from 9 to 5 and closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years.
Besides volunteering in National Park, I also apply to Ocean Explorium every Sunday morning and recently I volunteered at New Bedford Summerfest 2011 as a wrist-band checker. Haha. I’m addicted to be volunteering x) Next week I’ll be volunteering also at Operation Clean Sweep. Volunteering makes me happy and feel good about myself; I got a lot of benefits from this country (or Massachusetts state)..well at least this is the way I can give back to my community.
Hail to all volunteers! We do make a world better, aren’t we? 🙂