From bagging groceries for Ayuda clients to helping us keep the lights on with administrative support, volunteers are critical to our mission. We’re grateful to all volunteers, many of whom go above and beyond to donate their time. Today, we celebrate the incredible contributions from Leslye.
How did you first get involved with Ayuda?
A little over a year ago I started volunteering at the diaper bank, receiving donations and organizing them.
What inspired you to volunteer?
Since my relocation to the USA (two years ago) from Chile, my home country, I have been enthusiastic about finding ways to make a positive impact in my new community. I previously volunteered in various areas in Chile and was eager to continue this practice in the DMV area. My firm belief that providing social support enriches society has motivated me to seek out initiatives that make a significant difference in people’s lives.
Tell us a little about the different ways you have supported Ayuda as a volunteer.
I started at the Diaper Bank where I received donations and organized them. Later, I helped transport toiletries and food between the DC and Maryland offices. I had the opportunity to support the welcome breakfasts in 2022 and attend as a guest in 2023. Additionally, I conducted a telephone survey with clients to understand their experience with the legal service.
I developed nutrition workshops that emphasized the foods offered by the food bank, and I assembled bags of merchandise that were given to clients. I also supported informative workshops and therapeutic groups, providing assistance as per the needs of case managers, for example, enabling cell phones. I briefly assisted with the hospitality workshop, and – last but not least – I created the female empowerment workshop.
What has been your favorite experience volunteering at Ayuda so far?
My favorite activity is the female empowerment workshop. It is designed to help our clients develop better self-esteem and self-perception. The range of activities we offer includes emotion management classes, engaging conversations, makeup workshops, yoga sessions, and photo shoots. By taking part in these activities, we aim to empower women and help them feel confident in their own skin.
What has been the most surprising thing about volunteering at Ayuda?
I appreciate the dedication and empathy shown by the workers of this organization towards their clients. Their ability to listen to feedback and prioritize the well-being of those they serve is truly inspiring and plays a crucial role in creating a positive impact in the community, to me AYUDA is like a big family.
Do you have any advice for others interested in volunteering their time to support our immigrant neighbors?
AYUDA is an organization that stands out from the rest. It offers diverse opportunities for both in-person and remote assistance, with a priority placed on improving the lives of its clients. The team works with love and respect, making it an incredible NGO that inspires and motivates us to contribute to this worthy cause. Join hands with AYUDA and together, let’s make a difference.
Do you have a special connection to the Ayuda Mission that you would like to share?
The work of Ayuda fills me with pride as a migrant. Each of us who left our home country has a unique story, but we share the common experience of lacking our support network (family and friends). Ayuda provides the support needed to overcome these challenges and succeed.