Earlier this month JRS held its Volunteer Day of reflection and sharing. It was a thoughtful and collaborative morning hosted by JRS for all our volunteers who are the heart of the work we do; without their dedication and commitment we could not accompany, or advocate for those we serve. Due to current circumstances, this was the first time the meeting was held on video conference calling software Zoom. Rose Mary who has volunteered with JRS for a number of years, shares her experience:
As a volunteer, having these days set aside just to review and reflect on what we are doing is so valuable. Gathering via Zoom was a challenge and initially left me with many questions; how it will work? Who will give up their Saturday morning? Will I recognise anyone on the screen? Can I get my computer to work?
All unnecessary worries!
It was so well organised that before I knew it, there I was popping onto the screen and recognising so many friends that I haven’t seen in ages! Wow! The value of this occasion was not only to see familiar faces but to see so many people that I would never have met in ordinary time: volunteers doing so many activities that it was mind boggling!
My commitment to JRS during this strange time began to make sense and I could feel a body of activity and a common desire to recognise together the plight of so many refugees, detainees and those struggling with mental issues due to the present situation who could be forgotten during this crisis. We were challenged: How can we accompany people virtually, by phone or our rescue teams dropping food at people’s gate – or in the car park of high rises, hostels and flats? Each of us were posed with these questions. How do we see ourselves as volunteers, how are we dealing with our own feelings and our own well-being? Each of us had to face honestly our own self-care. We need this if we are going to offering service to others with hope and positivity.
Being honest we recognised together the problems and frustrations – not being able to physically be present. But during our sharing we recognised that maybe we are possibly more present to these most vulnerable people out there, by our consistency and our willingness to give up our time to make contact. And more importantly, to offer a “virtual” smile by the tone of our voice and choice of words.
Is a JRS Reflection morning important? Certainly! It strengthened our resolve that JRS is essential. To know it’s only together as a team of volunteers that we can reach out and accompany those often forgotten who face uncertainly, and often injustice – and to know that we don’t do this alone is so important– we are a team!
Inspired by Rose Mary’s experience of volunteering?
Why not visit our volunteering page and find out how you could help refugees in need.