Volunteering brings skills

2019-03-26 06:01
A volunteer assists to tame the flames of an open fire.

A volunteer assists to tame the flames of an open fire.

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Having seen the benefits of volunteering and the doors that open, director David Chown of the Emergency Volunteers Service (EVS) has dedicated his time in helping communities to be volunteers.

People who take volunteering for granted, don’t know what potential it has to open doors of opportunities, says Chown.

Since 2011 Chown has been running this service as an operations director where locals are taught to volunteer as firefighters or emergency services. By working with other professional organisations, volunteers are exposed to real-life scenarios and can exercise what they are taught.

“Instead of sitting at home and waiting for something to happen, people must really consider volunteering. As a volunteer you are equipped with so much and something that you didn’t know existed in you sparks,” he says.

With a lot of unemployment, Chown says the main aim was to help the locals get a skill that they can use further in their job search or change. Volunteers for EVS come from Ocean View, Masiphumelele and Vrygrond.

Also part of his idea was to capacitate communities to look after themselves and be able to respond quickly in their local communities should something happen. “We equip our volunteers to be valuable members in their society – not just bystanders. We train them to fight veld fires, structural fires and they also get called to do controlled burns,” he said.

“We get calls from people and we send the volunteers so that they can help where they are needed.”

“What we are saying is don’t just sit at home, volunteer somewhere because that will help you gain some skills and make you realise something about yourself that you didn’t know exists,” he says.

Chown adds that he remembers how one of his volunteers went out with a team to fight the fires in Knysna. The volunteer was a student and he had to fight the big fires though at the time he was not trained to do so. He had to act in the moment.

“He did so well, but what I liked about it was that it changed his perception about things and about himself. He was quiet but coming out of that fire he went to his community in Ocean View and started a non-profit organisation called Kids for Kids.

“Volunteering teaches discipline and makes people think in a different way,” says Chown.

Having seen the benefits of volunteering and the doors that open, director David Chown of the Emergency Volunteers Service (EVS) has dedicated his time in helping communities to be volunteers.

People who take volunteering for granted, don’t know what potential it has to open doors of opportunities, says Chown.

Since 2011 Chown has been running this service as an operations director where locals are taught to volunteer as firefighters or emergency services. By working with other professional organisations, volunteers are exposed to real-life scenarios and can exercise what they are taught.

“Instead of sitting at home and waiting for something to happen, people must really consider volunteering. As a volunteer you are equipped with so much and something that you didn’t know existed in you sparks,” he says.

With a lot of unemployment, Chown says the main aim was to help the locals get a skill that they can use further in their job search or change. Volunteers for EVS come from Ocean View, Masiphumelele and Vrygrond.

Also part of his idea was to capacitate communities to look after themselves and be able to respond quickly in their local communities should something happen. “We equip our volunteers to be valuable members in their society – not just bystanders. We train them to fight veld fires, structural fires and they also get called to do controlled burns,” he said.

“We get calls from people and we send the volunteers so that they can help where they are needed.”

“What we are saying is don’t just sit at home, volunteer somewhere because that will help you gain some skills and make you realise something about yourself that you didn’t know exists,” he says.

Chown adds that he remembers how one of his volunteers went out with a team to fight the fires in Knysna. The volunteer was a student and he had to fight the big fires though at the time he was not trained to do so. He had to act in the moment.

“He did so well, but what I liked about it was that it changed his perception about things and about himself. He was quiet but coming out of that fire he went to his community in Ocean View and started a non-profit organisation called Kids for Kids.

“Volunteering teaches discipline and makes people think in a different way,” says Chown.

Having seen the benefits of volunteering and the doors that open, director David Chown of the Emergency Volunteers Service (EVS) has dedicated his time in helping communities to be volunteers.

People who take volunteering for granted, don’t know what potential it has to open doors of opportunities, says Chown.

Since 2011 Chown has been running this service as an operations director where locals are taught to volunteer as firefighters or emergency services. By working with other professional organisations, volunteers are exposed to real-life scenarios and can exercise what they are taught.

“Instead of sitting at home and waiting for something to happen, people must really consider volunteering. As a volunteer you are equipped with so much and something that you didn’t know existed in you sparks,” he says.

With a lot of unemployment, Chown says the main aim was to help the locals get a skill that they can use further in their job search or change. Also part of his idea was to capacitate communities to look after themselves and be able to respond quickly in their local communities should something happen. “We equip our volunteers to be valuable members in their society – not just bystanders. We train them to fight veld fires, structural fires and they also get called to do controlled burns,” he said.

Chown adds that he remembers how one of his volunteers went out with a team to fight the fires in Knysna. The volunteer was a student and he had to fight the big fires though at the time he was not trained to do so. He had to act in the moment.

“He did so well, but what I liked about it was that it changed his perception about things and about himself. He was quiet but coming out of that fire he went to his community in Ocean View and started a non-profit organisation called Kids for Kids.

“Volunteering teaches discipline and makes people think in a different way,” says Chown.

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