Sunday, May 20, 2007

How to Be A Volunteer and Enjoy Life, by Bill Delong

In order to be a good and honest volunteer you must enjoy helping others and in doing so you will be helping yourself. At times you will be placed in very strange and upsetting environments, the rubble of Kosovo, the horror of the earthquake in Colima, Mexico, to the floods of Germany, and the sadness of both Tsunami and Katrina, and lets not forget the World Trade Center, Ground Zero. My heart goes out to all of these sad disasters that I have been involved in; however, seeing the joys and similes on the faces of the (Diabetic Camp in the Republic of Georgia), where the children are enjoying sports, arts and crafts, and lets not forget the evening dances after dinner of the Cha Cha Cha and Disco. I have also found happiness and great fellowship at the various Senior Citizen Centers around the world in Singapore, Hong Kong, England, Australia, Israel, and our own Centers, right in the U.S.A.Volunteers are needed in all walks of life, and in view of the fact I have been extremely lucky to enjoy good health, I found after I lost all of my immediate family and my dear Mae, as they lived to be in their 70Â’s and I have continued to reach my middle 80Â’s, I decided fight then to do the right thing, as they would have wanted me to live life to the fullest, and so the only answer to their prayers, is to Help Others, and in doing so you are helping yourself. God Bless America, and may we all continue to think young and positive, and move on to the next level.
The following listings are the various recommended organizations I have volunteered with and their contacts as I am receiving a great many telephone calls and e mails on.
How does one find out where to locate and sign up for volunteer work?

This is a very serious question to be answered, as I have found out through investigation the Pledges of Money, goes to the request the display in their appeals for support, but disappears into the wind. In some cases, I tell the organization, I will be very happy to support your program, and will give a sizeable amount of money, but only if I can become a volunteer in your cause. And then comes the hang up, or we do not have a volunteer program, we merely help the cause we are sponsoring. Then I hang up. Thank you but no thanks.Read this paragraph carefully.Volunteer programs both in the USA and around the world, you are expected to pay all expenses, such as Airfare, food lodging, however many organizations sets up home stays which include beds and breakfast, and in some cases meals, some organizations have apartments where the bedrooms are arranged with bunk beds and meals are included, others are very much like Backpacker and Youth Hostels, you can make your own meals , it depends on the organization. There are organization that have a special rate set up at a moderate price hotels, and they supply the motor transportation to and from the area you are working in. Church organizations as well as some Hospital and Orphanages have rooms for their volunteers, such as the basement dorms, or members of the church offer guest facilities.Out of pocket expenses vary, airfare, room and board can run anywhere from $2,500.00, on a two week program it can vary from $2,389 plus air, up to $3,000, plus air, it all depends on the country where you are going. USA programs, usually is transportation, and it varies on what type of food and lodging is arranged. I have worked with teams of 8 to 12 people, some are sponsored students or working in the name of an organization.
When I go on a project, I do it , in the name of Rotary, and the Hotel Employees and the Restaurant Union Staff as they support my Uncle Billy’s Happy Dollar Fund, set up especially for volunteer work. On all volunteers programs at the end of the tour of duty you get a letter of thank you, or a congratulations certificate for your volunteering, along with your receipts, the IRS will accept it as a Tax Deduction for Charity.Volunteering in ones own state or city, does not require airfare, so you go by car, bus or subway, therefore, very little expense is involved other than your time, as I do volunteer work at the VA Medical Center Hospital NYC and some Senior Centers all locally, as well as Union programs.People who want to volunteer who can’t afford , the foreign third world countries, can apply to hospitals, churches, temples, and at their local City Halls as Mayor Offices have city volunteer projects and it is handled by their Public Relations office.Rotary, Lions, Kiwanis all have a net work of helping each other, so if one belongs to one of the organizations, it is just a matter of making contact. They are world wide, and I used them in making arrangements in Mongolia,Chernobyl, Mexico, Germany, China etc. YMCA and Youth Hostels in most countries have local volunteer programs, if one has time.Salvation Army is all over most of the world , and it is just a matter of finding out where their offices are located, Police, Fire Departments, and Hostel can furnish this information as to where they are located.

In NYC it is on 14th St. and they have many volunteer programs locally and nationally, simply fill out an application and have an interview with their volunteer department.Not all programs I worked on are Team projects, such as Liberia, Romania, Albania, South Africa etc. They were all individually arranged however, if one wants to take a 100 day trip around the world, then SS Universe, Ship Board Education, run by the University of Pittsburgh is the experience of a life time, I took 3 voyages, 1990, 1995, and the year 2000, at all stops around the world , you can either do sightseeing or volunteer work with the students, all Seniors are Audit students, and stops in each country can vary from 3 to 5 days. Recommended adventuress seniors, they take 25 per voyage , Spring and Fall. Price varies according to cabin, contact University of Pittsburgh, Penna.


  • -Cross Cultural Solutions for brochuresTel 1-800-380-4777E mail for brochureTel 1-800-985-4864 ask for Lisa-Feed the Children for brochuresLarry Jones1 800 627 4556E mail
  • -Global VolunteersTeresa Iverson1 800 487 1074E mail
  • -World MissionsTimes Square Church NYCMake a personal call and fill out form-United Nations VolunteersUn VolunteersChristiana Kalakoutis-MelasFor Anne-Marie BekaertHead, Volunteer Resources
  • -Online VolunteeringDavid Morrison, Press NetaidSharon Capeling-Alakija, Executive Director Un Volunteers
  • -Peace Corp1 800 424 8580-New York City Volunteer Expo 2006April 28th & 29th NATIONAL VOLUNTEER WEEKAdress at Gotham Hall 36th St. and Broadway New York CityCall 1 212 473 7875

A letter from Uncle Billy Helps While he went to Dominica, West Indies and stayed to Help Clean-Up after Hurricane - July 2007
Hello to all fellow Rotarians and friends, How lucky can one get, but if it had not been for the breakdown in the London Airport with the Terrorist threat and the weather that not only closed down Heath Row but JFK as well for several days I would be in Vietnam and possibly would have been caught up in the big flood that took the lives of over 40 people, and so the assignment was cancelled and turned over to The Dominica Island a beautiful area of Rain Forests, hills and valleys and a hot steaming lake that is a result of the volcanoes and a great tourist attraction. The island is 750 klms in diameter 47 Kilometers in length and 29 klms in width and it is Hot Hot Hot with Rain down pores almost every hour and is rains so hard that one would think that the Niagara Falls was pouring down on you in heavy noisy splashes that last from l5 to 20 minutes in constant rain, With the news of the NY Subways flooded is nothing compared to living here. The Capitol in Roseau and the population in from 69 to 70 thousand people with around 3500 are natives of the Island that dates back to the second Columbus voyage when he found the Island November 3. 1493 which was inhabited by the Carib Indians, Dominicans are descendants of African Slaves and when they became an independent country from the British Rule in l998, became the happiest people the a main source of income is agriculture and tourist business as the Cruise ships stop here and the tourists have a chance to take tours of the old villages that are still the same in design and life style of old. No hot showers, out door toilets and showers, and cooking either out doors or in small kitchens with stoves heated by bottled Butane Gas, much the same as was used in my apartment in Damascus Syria when I work in the American Embassy way back in l948 when Palestine became Israel. I am living at the Bionics Guest House and I am enjoying native cooking, my first time for Banana Soup and also fried for desert with honey, I am in the Catfish Lake Village, and I have been working in 5 different villages, I am working with Annie Edwards of Seattle who is here as a Peace Corps Volunteer I call her my boss as I go where she feels I can be of best use, I am also directed to so areas by the Village women's committee as there no Senior Centers here so I call on the elderly at their homes and cheer them up and do anything they would like don around the house, the average family has any where from 3 to 6 children so Grand Ma and Grand Pa have plenty on their hands while the parents are busy with work, I play games with the children, make puppets in arts and crafts and help teach conversational English as this Island all speaks English and some also speak Creole/Spanish I washed some of my clothing with cold water and then took a cold shower Chicken and fresh fish is available, as chickens are raised every where, the average salary is around 200 to 400 dollars a month and the rate of local money is 2.69 EC to one US Dollar. Many of the village homes are made of wood and tin roofs and some very nice houses made of cement block one story and painted in bright colors in villages all over the Island, this being Saturday I am scheduled to take a tour of one of the original villages that is still living in the same manner as when Columbus discovered the island and is a big attraction with cruise ship tourists There is a group of 20 student volunteers here from VISIONS a group located in the area of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, they are adding a play area and sport field as their project. I accompanied Annie on a 5 village trip as the Plan Parenthood IS VERY ACTIVE HERE , WE DISTRIBUTED BOXES OF CONDOMS TO THE SMALL VILLAGE Kiost to be sold or given to the natives as aids is on the rise, I have been making necklaces along with some blind young adults as part of the arts and crafts project, next week I will be going to the Capitol Roseau and will work in a Senior Home, so long for now at least you know I am safe and hope the Hurricane does not hit this island. By BY for now and God Bless You, I miss not being at the Diabetic camp this year in the Republic of Georgia since it has turned commercial for tourism they are looking for a new place, perhaps next year, Pat and Franklin were great fun to be with and by the way Andrei the candy your mother sent me is being enjoyed by both Young and Old Jose don’t work to hard with the threat of flooded subways how does one get around. The taxi business must be booming. God bless you all Love and Kisses from the Rotary Vagabond Uncle Billy DeLong.

Uncle Billy Visits Guatemala in April 2007