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News & Features

May 30, 2016

Helpers High: A Dose of Volunteering Experience

Not what we give, but what we share, for the gift without the giver is bare,

Who gives himself with his alms, feed three

Himself, his hungering neighbor and me

—James Russell Lowell


Many of us young professionals usually frown at the idea of waking up very early on our day off. We consider our day off as freedom day, so the idea of dragging out of bed early is like a punishment. After the exhausting work week, we feel we deserve a good rest. We consider our day off as the perfect opportunity to sleep for as long as we want or do whatever we pleasego to the spa, be a couch potato, go shopping, hang around with friends and family, or whatever. Day off is about not having to mind the time and the deadlines at work.    

However, for some, days off are devoted for volunteering. These volunteers don’t mind waking up early just to beat the call time and spend the day doing something out of the ordinaryteaching kids in slum areas, planting trees in  rural communities, visiting orphanages, or feeding street kids. 

It’s such a wonder how these volunteers seem to feel relaxed from doing these extracurricular activities, and what motivates them to commit to causes like these without expecting anything in return.

Natural High

According to Psychology Today, “many people who volunteer say that helping others gives them a good feeling inside, something that researchers call a ‘helpers high.’ There seems to be an actual physical sensation that occurs when people help others that make them experience greater energy and strength, less depression and increased feelings of self-worth.”

Insular Life volunteers attest to this.

“Volunteering is a way to de-stress my mind and body. It makes me feel happier and healthier.  It provides me life satisfaction, a natural sense of accomplishment,” shared Ma. Aljine Bautista, Secretary from the Business Development Unit.

Elmer Saladas, a new volunteer, added, “I feel happy because it brings me back to my childhood days where I play, laugh and enjoy life as a child.”

Besides the great feeling that they get for doing volunteer work, volunteers also say that the experience that they get from giving their free time in the service of other shape them into better persons.

“I have become more responsible since we are tasked to guide and look after the kids
,” shared Gretchen Tejoso, a volunteer for two years now.

Meanwhile, Daniela Rose Abuel, also a newbie, shared that being an Insular Life volunteer made her feel she is making a difference in the life of the children she has encountered with in their monthly [Sagip] sessions. “Giving people positivity without expecting something in return is such a good feeling. I want my colleagues to experience the FUN and to be part of this great family,” she said.

Giving Volunteers the Chance to Experience the “High”

True to the company’s core value of honoring God by touching lives through sharing of financial, human and intellectual resources, Insular Foundation provides Insular Life employees opportunities for volunteer work through its Employee Volunteerism Program.

According to Ms. Ana Maria Soriano, Sr. AVP and Administrator of Insular Foundation, the program is not only a platform for employee engagement in the CSR programs of the Foundation, but also an avenue for employees to make a difference in other people’s lives.

Since 2012, employee volunteers have dedicated one rest day each month to teach children good values in Marcelo Green Village, Manggahan Kawayan in Paranaque. This cluster of kids with ages ranging from 6 to 12 years is called the Sagip Kids. Over the last four years, batches of Sagip kids graduated from the program and advanced to another group called the Siga – a group of older kids who are tasked to handle youth-oriented activities. 

Until now, many of the graduates have not forgotten their experiences when they were still in in the cluster.

Neramichelle S. Morta, Sagip graduate of 2014, shared that she appreciates the lessons that Insular Life taught her. “Sa lahat ng naibigay ng Insular Life sa aming mga kabataan ay higit ang kanilang aral na iniwan sa amin,” she said.

For Maricar Marcaida, Sagip batch 2013, Sagip is an instrument for her to develop her talent. “Malaking tulong po ang pagtuturo nyo sa aming mga sagip, dahil natuklasan ko po ang aking talent.”

Ms. Ana Tirthdas, the Coordinator of Gawad Kalinga Manggahan-Kawayanan Village, also shares her gratefulness to Insular Life and the volunteers.

“The GK (GK-MK) Village is truly blessed to have partnered with the Insular Life to be to realize its vision via the SAGIP program. They [volunteers] have brought so much joy to the children and they continually look forward to their visits.”

Truly, the impact of volunteerism to both volunteers and beneficiaries is beyond measure.

Counting the years, the volunteers, and the blessings

Just recently, Insular Foundation celebrated the fourth year of Insular Life volunteers. To mark this milestone, the volunteers and the Sagip kids, ages 7 to 12,  took a break from literacy activities to have fun with the elders of Hospicio de San Jose.

To the pleasant surprise of the volunteers, the Sagip kids   were also well-prepared to give a part of themselves to the abandoned elders.  The children helped in giving out small tokens for the Lolos and Lolas and gave out hand-made cards to light up the spirits of the elderlies. They also showcased their talents through a song-and-dance number.

At the end of the fun day, everyone was full —the Lolas and Lolos with entertainment, laughter and bags of goodies; the Sagip kids, with the experience of showing their generosity and appreciation of elders; and the volunteers, with happiness and love in their hearts.

All of these for a dose of volunteering.