If you like stories, you’re going to love this week’s “What a Relief!” podcast. It’s chock full of stories about volunteering from National Volunteer Manager Said Durrah.
You’ll hear about the man in a suit—director of a volunteer effort—with a surprising past.
You’ll hear about the little girl who went around asking for coins for people in need, and what she came up with.
You’ll hear a story that will give you goosebumps—guaranteed.
And in between it all, you’ll hear what it really means to volunteer for Islamic Relief USA. Said insists that it’s at least as valuable as monetary donations.
Once, he was taking volunteer applications at a convention, and people would ask where to put the form. “I’d say, ‘Put it in the donation box,’” he says. “And they’d always be taken aback.” But to Said, that’s exactly where it belongs.
One of Said’s goals as national volunteer manager is to shorten the gap between the people doing the work and the people they help.
“If I give you a dollar and you eventually go and you make a lunch for somebody who’s in need, eh, I’ll give you the dollar,” he says. “But if I can give you that dollar and help you make the lunch and deliver it to that person in need, I’m a lot more invested at that point. I get to actually see the results of my work.”
He says that often how they get new volunteers—right on the spot. People pass by and see what’s going on, and they want to help too. Sometimes they stop and join right in.
Said loves that, but he wants volunteers to bring their own ideas too.
“YOU create a project,” he says. “Some of the best projects we’ve ever had were created by volunteers. They say, ‘We want to do this, we just need a little bit of support.’ And we support them.”
When volunteers sign up, they receive a survey that asks about their interests. If there’s something you’re interested in, that’s where Said will put you.
“I always tell people there’s two major ways to volunteer at Islamic Relief,” he says. “You can say ‘I want to help you do what you’re doing,’ or ‘I need you to help me do what I want to do.’ As long as both end up helping out somebody in the end, it’s usually a pretty good result.”
Said wants volunteers of all ages—usually 18 and older, but he even welcomes toddlers who drop granola bars into lunch bags. He wants all backgrounds, and he wants all religions.
“It’s not necessarily the size of the resume—it’s the size of the heart,” he says.
Find out Carl’s favorite take-away from the discussion. (Hint: It involves something that starts with “F” and ends with “OOD.” For volunteers. Yum.)
Find out what Mordant thinks of the whole volunteering business. (Hint: He likes it pretty well.)
Find out what three kinds of things are donations, according to Said. (Hint: You might win a gift if you tell us what they are at email@example.com.)
What are you waiting for? Go hear some stories!
“What a Relief!” is the official podcast of Islamic Relief USA. Co-hosted by social media specialist B.C. Dodge, and Mordant Mahon, IRUSA’s “What a Relief!” puts a human face on what’s going on in the world and how you can enact positive change in it. New episodes every week!
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This post was originally made at IRUSA.org