Mon 6 Mar 2006
When I first heard about the service learning part of the course, I was a little confused. To me, it just sounded like community service. In a way, this is true but in a different context. With the programs I was working with in the past, I’ve always been doing physical work and I was never asked to actively be aware of how my surroundings functioned. This time, however, I’m supposed to write a grant to raise money for HOPE Station along with my group mates. This should be an interesting and challenging experience being that I’ve never seen let alone known what the components of a grant are. I’m expecting to get a first hand experience of how nonprofit groups find ways to raise capital for projects, in this case particularly through grants. While I’m working at HOPE Station, I plan to keep an observant eye on the volunteers, the management, and, if given the chance, how the board interacts with one another.
My experience in volunteering with other nonprofits has taught me how to deal with people of different backgrounds and statures. Over time, it has become easy for me to make a connection with the people who I know are working for a cause. This way, it is easy for me to establish trust, and show the organization that they can trust me. I believe that the skills and insights I learn from the non profit management class can be directly applied to HOPE Station be it with some suggestions on how to improve routine and administration, or helping in areas such as fundraising. Writing the grant may be our main task, but I want to make the most out of this experience. Therefore, I will make sure that HOPE station can utilize whatever skills I have if it helps further the organization’s cause. Being an immigrant myself, I know the feeling of bewilderment with a culture entirely different from my own. This is why I believe that HOPE Station’s cause of helping immigrants become more successful is great and this inspires me to help beyond writing a grant. I want to be involved personally and make an impact in the lives of these people who are trying to make a better life for themselves whether it be through helping them learn proper English or just lending an ear when they need somebody to listen.
Although HOPE Station’s cause is noble, it still isn’t easy to raise enough money to fund projects. It is for this sheer fact that I know the organization will continue to face problems brought about by insufficient funds. Also, what I noticed from our visit is that the organization seems to have programs that have digressed from the original mission, which is to aid those who lack resources by creating programs that can enhance their knowledge. If HOPE Station plans to continue being a thriving nonprofit organization, these are some areas that they should consider strengthening or redeveloping.