December 14, 2020
by Jon Lorence Panelo
As the COVID-19 pandemic significantly impacts communities across the globe, the spirit of volunteerism among people from all walks of life is likened to the restoration of faith towards humanity. With volunteerism defined as the involvement of volunteer labor, specifically in community services, our world today is in need of volunteers. The struggles of unemployment, risks toward health and safety, among others, are all factors that drive people to be of service to others. In the new normal, volunteerism is going above and beyond traditional methods that, even in an online setting, one’s spirit of volunteerism may be ignited when geared towards a more significant cause. For students, volunteerism in a pandemic may be extended during online classes may it be as simple as online oral recitation in class, being a campus ministry volunteer, or even in person such as being a community outreach volunteer as long as one adheres to the health protocols set by the governing bodies.
In AISAT, students are encouraged to practice volunteerism even in the simplest ways, such as oral recitation in class as teachers would ask for any volunteers to answer questions related to the topic. Also, students are encouraged to attend the weekly RevUp sessions and be campus ministry student volunteers as AISAT continues to adhere to its very purpose of providing quality education and saving more souls. This is also the first academic year wherein a community outreach subject was added to the curriculum of the 4th year aviation students. Through this subject, even during this online setting, students developed community plans for their respective communities that once obeys to the safety protocols, may even be implemented as guided by the local government authorities. These community plans encourage fellow students to serve their communities amidst the pandemic, and soon as the pandemic is over, their even more extensive in scale community plans may be implemented and put into action by the next batches of students, or the soon to be graduates themselves.
Moreover, Nelson Jules Cabales, AISAT Aviation Management student and Horizon yearbook OIC, extended his efforts to serve his community, Sta. Maria, Davao Occidental, by being a volunteer community health worker. He first stated that:
“In being a volunteer, there is no turning back. Since I was in Grade 10, I attended a seminar wherein I was given the opportunity to train with the finest disaster response personnel. That was the first time that I realized that it is nice to be a volunteer to be able to help people so that others may live. My grandfather and my parents are also public servants who are willing to serve the public. As a volunteer, I do not receive any pay as all of my work is for the service of the people. It is very hard to see our families and at the same time keep our communities safe. We need to be prepared as volunteers not only for pandemics but for everyday life as there is a need to forecast what lies ahead of us. I have seen many worst-case scenarios in being a volunteer even today amidst the pandemic. I need to be able to debrief myself that this pandemic must not hit us where it really hurts the most. Volunteers can’t save everyone but we need to focus on what is really important and on why we do our job. We need to keep moving forward on what is best for the people as being a volunteer, you have signed up for risking your life to save others.”
After sharing his experiences, he then added that:
“I encourage everyone to be a good heart to support our fellow frontliners. If you do not want to volunteer, what is important is to follow the health and safety protocols. Our job is not a joke because everything is not a joke for us. We will respond to accidents even if it is a joke since we will never know what will happen. We are on call 24/7 even if there is a call at 12 midnight because accidents do not have a schedule. There are times wherein events are continuous throughout the day that is why sometimes we lack sleep. Money is not what we are after but it is the service towards our people, our province, and even our country. It is fun to be a volunteer as you are working for a cause. If you do not want to, then just do your part of being a responsible citizen of the community.”
In light of this, the pandemic is also the call for everyone to innovate in the way we all volunteer for our respective communities. May it be through simple acts of kindness, such as providing thank you notes, some food, and even a bottle of water for our delivery partners as we all probably ordered something online nowadays. One may even be of service in various volunteer projects for a cause such as the recent repacking of donations for those affected by typhoon Ulysses participated by our SSC Secretary, Karen Ordonio.
As we are all faced with various struggles during these trying times, let us all be the ray of hope, especially to those currently suffering. No matter how big or small, the change we can impart towards others through volunteer work would, in turn, benefit multitudes of other communities soon. Let us continue to be of service to my fellow AISAT students as we journey towards another year of ups and downs. Let us all together make the “impossible” into “I am possible” by igniting the spirit of volunteerism as one AISAT family!