Why do you volunteer? I volunteer because it is a way in which I can participate and contribute to a change in my country. Guatemala has a low quality of life resulting from the social rupture due to the internal conflict and making younger generations full of fear. I am convinced that my participation will have long term benefits as I commit to leave a better country for future generations. I volunteer in three organizations: “Jóvenes Contra la Violencia, Somos voluntad y Un Jóven Mas.”
What have you learned from volunteering? Volunteering has given me the opportunity to develop skills. I have learned about media, public image, project implementation, fundraising, accountability, teamwork, coordination with other organizations and politics. I have also learned to better approach government officials, communication strategies, lead presentations with impact and to improve my creativity.
How does volunteering help your community? It has been a multiplying factor that has made more youth involved and organized to take a leading role in order to make a positive impact in their communities. Specifically, in Jóvenes Contra La Violencia, we have had an impact on public policy by working more closely with the executive branch. The Un Jóven Mas organization works with legislative branch in supporting initiatives created by civil society. In Somos Voluntad, we support a children’s orphanage where children learn to create their own goals and reach their objectives. By volunteering in these three different organizations, I have learned about roles in different sectors in society.
How does your volunteering impact the Outreach Centers or Youth Movements?
Volunteering impacts lives. It makes youth feel that they have opportunities, gives them an awareness of what happens in vulnerable areas and fosters support to volunteer in different activities. These movements and outreach centers have given the private sector, artists, media, parents and youth at risk something to think about. It has inspired us, setting an example for citizen participation in general.
Linda Amézquita is a volunteer for the Youth Movement Against Violence in Guatemala.