Teaching what it means to volunteer

Feb 11, 2011

In our efforts to increase volunteering by Amway distributors and employees around the world, we recently ran into a challenge.

Not everybody knows what it means to volunteer. Particularly in post-communist Russia.

We take volunteering for granted in the United States. According to the US Census Bureau and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, approximately 27% of Americans volunteer more than 8 billion hours of service. We know how to volunteer – our only challenge is finding the time, and the right cause.

Last year, Amway Russia initiated a volunteer project among employees and distributors to help out at local orphanages sponsored by Amway. However, the tradition of volunteering is just being rediscovered in Russian culture, and people didn’t know what they were supposed to do.

So Amway did the same thing we do to make distributors successful salespeople. We trained them.

Amway Russia held training in 11 Russian cities, followed by volunteer projects in local orphanages. At the training, a professional from a nonprofit organizations explained the concept of volunteering, how to get involved, and how to best work with orphaned children.

Following the training, a series of projects were scheduled. Volunteers demonstrated their skills in bead weaving, cooking and various crafts, along with the children. All of the projects were followed by joint tea parties.

In some cities, Amway distributors formed volunteering teams to continue the tradition, involving other friends and partners in the projects.

So a new seed is planted, spread from person to person, one by one.

Thanks to Irina Platonova for sharing this story.

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