Inside The Life of an IMAlive Volunteer

Angela from the Netherlands

I strongly believe that the smallest gesture can cause the biggest impact. When I stumbled across IMAlive and saw the call for volunteers, it resonated deeply inside me. Being there for someone who’s in desperate need, seemed like the ultimate place to work for me. With my background as a social worker and having experiences with helping people in the past, I figured this was something that came natural to me…

Boy, was I wrong!

The the wanting to help part felt natural. Everything else, the method, reflecting, working with supervisors, and not using my own experiences, was totally different. When I overcame my resistance, it turned out for the better. In the HEART training I worked through a lot of insecurities but eventually I felt the flow and realized the difference and impact on people. Of course I tried it out in my daily life and I saw people were taken aback for a moment and then they started to think for themselves and find solutions. It was amazing to literally see it happen!

I am so glad I signed up because every single call is a challenge and it has everything I like doing and then some. I love the international setting, the seriousness and the fun, the super Supervisors, and being there for someone and maybe making a small difference in someone’s life. I get to meet the nicest people. The warmth and homey feeling in this online environment had me blown away. I’m really happy to be here. Honestly: in what job do you ever get to hear beforehand to take care of yourself and have tips for when things get rough?

I’m a “jump in and give it your all” kind of person. I love doing the “jumping in”, but the almost burnt out feeling afterwards, not so much. So after lots of learning, work situations and internal conflicts later, I found myself as the proud mother of a son. Priorities shifted and I stayed at home to take care of him. One of the best choices I’ve ever made.

Little boys grow up and eventually get really tall. When I had a little more time on my hands I started to work as a volunteer Buddy. Buddy Care originally started out for people having AIDS or being HIV positive. The target group has become a lot broader nowadays. I love the fact that I just need to be there and share a bit of my time and energy on someone who I might’ve otherwise never met.

Between home, Buddy Care and IMAlive, I spend my time reading, writing, visiting friends and family, drinking coffee or tea, doing yoga, petting my cats, and taking long walks with my dogs. I also love to get a good scare in films and series.

I’m observant, I notice the small things in life and this can bring out interesting conversations with strangers I meet. Bringing something small and positive into someone’s life, like a “hello” or a compliment, can really make my day.

As I have worked as a social worker, I find it hard to find a job that feels as wonderful as the things I do voluntarily now but I’m keeping my eyes open. So, who knows what the future brings?

The photo shared holds a significant meaning. It was taken when I proudly held my nephew for the first time, he was born while I was on a shift talking with people in crisis accompanied by my Supervisor and a lot of other volunteers – lives were saved and a new life was born.

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