#YALIServes chat with Celestina Obiekea and Mimshach Obioha

Celestina Obiekea and Mimshach Obioha joined the YALI Network for a chat about our service initiative, #YALIServes. Along with this chat, the two created videos that are available on the YALI website, yali.state.gov/serves. These videos highlight all the wonderful parts of volunteering. Throughout the chat, our online audience showed a strong desire to serve their communities but needed guidance on how to get others involved and the best ways to benefit the community.

There are several ways to get involved in your community. Research opportunities online, contact people in your network, or start your own volunteer group. If you find an organization that you want to join, show what skills you have to offer and how you can benefit their group.

You can do two things. 1. Keep looking for volunteer opportunities, but see volunteering as exchange of value, so let the organizations know what you have to offer. 2. Start an initiative and get people to volunteer with you. my advice is always to start local..most of the problems are local...even the international NGOs are looking to solve local problems. Keep doing what you do in church, take it beyond the church to your local community (where you live). in addition, there are plenty of organisations online that you can sign up on to become members and contribute such as the ONE campaign, a world at school etc...


 Start to build your network. I know it can be difficult starting out in a new city and all … you can start with the people in your place of worship (in this part of the world, religious places are usually a good place for us to start building new networks). Then, you need to carry your passion everywhere you go; let people know you for it and very soon, people will be coming to you.

Volunteering can be an excellent way to build your own skills and network with members of your community.

Quite true that it is one thing to have passion and another to have the necessary resources or technical capability. First of all, you can build your technical competence by volunteering for NGOs that cater to the needs of less privileged people in your community; I am sure you will find dozens around you (even in your church!) and this will also help you to build the necessary network which will be your most valuable resource. As for YALI being a platform for partnerships, this is the very essence of YALI in itself. There are lots of amazing young people doing a lot of amazing things in the world today, and what YALI does is create a platform for as many of them as possible to connect. Personally, I have met a lot of amazing young people who I may not have had the opportunity to meet and work with otherwise (Emmanuel, for example). All you have to do is be open to the possibilities that exist herein! If you need help finding an NGO to volunteer with, do leave your location and we will see about connecting you with one.

Getting others to share in your excitement about volunteering can be difficult. It helps to show them all the benefits that come with volunteering. The videos at yali.state.gov/serves provide helpful tools to do this.

I think one of the ways to increase volunteer engagement among young people is by showing them how volunteering helps them. Some of these benefits include skills acquisition and work experience. You can find out more at yali.state.gov/yaliserves-joy-of-volunteering-4/.

This initiative coincides with the Nelson Mandela Day of Service on July 18. Look at the map on our website to find a service opportunity near you or start your own!

service map july 6

Community Service,