Good Matters™ Blog

Posted on August 30th, 2012

My volunteer story: Feeding the soul, Sparking a Foundation

Posted by Saysomphorn, Regional Mass Sales Team member

Hi, I’m Saysomphorn and I am a part of the Regional Mass Sales Team. If you haven’t seen me standing in line at the airport Starbucks you probably passed by me at the airport security check-in while enroute to some destination in the Midwest or on the East Coast!  As an Account Manager I am usually providing TLC to all the incredible partners I work with or analyzing sales data. If you still haven’t seen me—it’s because I am otherwise staring at a computer screen all day!

Now, you might think that I would have found my way out from behind the computer screen to volunteer, but with such an erratic travel schedule, I found it hard to commit to a rigid and scheduled volunteer regimen. I’ve always loved volunteering, but these days, a lot of opportunities require a certain time and day that you have to commit to for X amount of months, or even, a year. Unfortunately, due to my demanding travel schedule, I was never quite able to make it work. But that never diminished my desire to help out in some way.  I think a lot of people can relate to this particular dilemma.

aSo, one day, while on a call with my Team Leader, she mentioned a site she had just learned of called Sparked (www.sparked.com) that allowed people to “micro-volunteer.”  It completely encompasses the phrase, “a little goes a long way…” because while creating a spreadsheet or editing might come easily for you, it might be exactly what that non-profit needs help with! It is such a wonderful way to volunteer for those of us with sporadic schedules or time constraints.

How does Sparked work, you ask? After setting up your account (very simple, very quick), the setup lets you choose your interests and melds it with your expertise. The algorithm then shoots out only those projects that have a need you qualify for that also interests you! Interested in barley (really, who isn’t?) and an expert in website development? I bet Sparked has something for you! Seriously cool and really helps me satisfy my need to volunteer.

The volunteer benefit has always been more than just a kitschy program for me. Ever since I was young my parents fostered the belief in helping others.  Even though we didn’t have much (being immigrants with eight kids) that never stopped my parents from making a commitment to our little community and our roots. We were always involved in some helping scheme or other. One of my favorite memories is that of my dad forming a club aimed at educating and preserving cultural identity for the local children. So, while my dad gave lectures on our homeland, my sisters taught traditional dancing…and my mom, well, she had the very difficult task of finding some way to feed the army of kids that came over every weekend!  Armed with such a fantastic example I can only hope that the little I do makes a difference…but, Sparked lets me try.

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