Help needed for work of NPOs
International Volunteer Day was 5 December, and marked a time when organisations such as TELL, which depend to a great extent on people who offer their time and skills, recognise and appreciate the efforts of volunteers.
To any reader who has volunteered at TELL over the past year, on behalf of the board of directors and staff, we offer our sincere thanks. Quite simply, we would not be able to do what we do without you.
Of course, we are not the only group that depends on a base of volunteers to achieve our goals. For anyone looking to make a difference in our community, there are dozens of opportunities to make a difference in people’s lives. With apologies to anyone who may be missed, let us consider just a few of these not-for-profit organisations.
Refugees International Japan is an independent organisation dedicated to raising funds to support refugees who have been displaced as a result of war and conflict. www.refugeesinternationaljapan.org
Shine On! Kids supports children with cancer and other serious illnesses in Japan, as well as their families. www.sokids.org
The Run for the Cure® Foundation has a mission to eradicate breast cancer in Japan as a life-threatening disease through education, timely screening, and treatment. www.runforthecure.org
Founded in Japan, Kids Earth Fund works worldwide to promote peace and environmental conservation through the medium of children’s art. www.kidsearthfund.jp/en/kids_about.html
The Franciscan Chapel Center and the Tokyo Union Church run programmes to feed the increasing numbers of homeless in the capital.
Meanwhile, for those with wider horizons, Peace Boat is a Japan-based international and non-governmental organisation that works to promote peace, human rights, equal and sustainable development and respect for the environment. www.peaceboat.org/english/
So, what of TELL? Also a registered not-for-profit organisation, we are dedicated to providing world-class, effective support and counselling services to Japan’s international community. We also help to address the country’s growing mental health care needs.
Here are some of the questions we are often asked about volunteering with us:
Do I need any special skills or qualifications?
Basically, no. We need people to help with a variety of tasks: setting up the venues for our various fund-raising events—such as the annual run-a-thon and auction—manning the reception desk at such events, selling raffle tickets and so on.
Creating your own event and donating the proceeds to TELL is also an effective way of supporting our efforts.
What if I’m not comfortable with groups of people?
That is fine, too. We sometimes need help in the office for tasks such as sending out flyers and updating the database, which you can do in a quiet business environment.
Could I work as a phone counsellor?
This, of course, is our main volunteer position.
Although our face-to-face counselling centre is staffed by licensed (and paid) professional therapists, our phone counsellors are volunteers. They come from all walks of life and represent many nationalities.
What they have in common is that they all speak English, and have completed TELL’s intensive training programme as well as a period of apprenticeship. This process is designed to prepare them for anything they are likely to encounter on the Lifeline.
Many people find that the TELL training is nothing short of life-changing; the skills taught serve them well in their jobs as well as in their personal lives, not least because everyone who completes the training emerges as a much better listener.
This is the time of year when many of us think of giving thanks and giving gifts. Donating your time, skills and experience can make a huge difference to the kind of organisations considered here, and ultimately can make a huge difference in people’s lives. Volunteer to make change happen.
TELL Lifeline: 03-5774-0992