Volunteering for those in need

by Stichting Present Den Haag
Volunteering for those in need
Volunteering for those in need
Volunteering for those in need
Volunteering for those in need
Volunteering for those in need
Volunteering for those in need
Volunteering for those in need
Volunteering for those in need
Volunteering for those in need
Volunteering for those in need
Volunteering for those in need
Volunteering for those in need
Volunteering for those in need
Volunteering for those in need

I want to thank the International flex group of Stichting Present Den Haag. Thank you for allowing me to come from Sweden to the Netherlands to do my internship. Thank you for helping expats all over The Hague to connect with other expats, making friends and building up a new network in a new country. Thank you for connecting us with people we would not meet otherwise, bridging the gap between people and making it possible for us to support others. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to help the more vulnerable, and for us all to share laughter and making memories together. Thank you for giving us the chance to make everyday life a bit easier or more enjoyable for someone else. Thank you for letting our group of internationals experience the feeling of being there for someone else and truly see that they make an impact in someone else's life, right there, on the spot during our projects. 

“Thank you for organising this and asking me to be a part of it. Being here, helping out with painting this woman's apartment really felt like therapy for my soul”. 

This is a quote from one of our international volunteers after her first project with us. We were helping a woman without any support system and it was so special to see the smile on her face during that day. One of our volunteers also choose to celebrate her birthday with us on this project day. She turned 30 and wanted to do volunteering as a celebration and being able to give back and help someone else. 

Social isolation is some people's reality but having everyone being isolated makes it even harder for some people. Therefore we want to give our volunteers the opportunity to be able to do something for others without any physical contact. We are also affected by the quarantine so your contribution is very appreciated, as always.

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Ready, steady, go!
Ready, steady, go!

Yes! We did it again! Last year we organized a dinner for 100 people we have helped throughout the year. I wrote a report on it as well. But last year this was the closing of our jubilea. This year we just did because we all loved it so much!

To organize a project like this takes a lot more effort than our regular projects. It also cost a lot more. So we couldn't have done if it weren't for the help we received from several local entrepeneurs who donated generously.

It turned out to be an amazing night, again! We had 3 tables full with elderly who are living with full time care and were so excited they got to enjoy this lovely evening. There were 3 tables for people living with a disability. They also live with care 24/7 and usually don't go out to enjoy a lovely dinner. We also had refugees who already were giving a permit, but are still struggling to adjust to their new surroundings without their friends and family. And we had young people who got knocked down by life, but are now getting back on their feet because of the care that they are given by always these amazing care givers! 

The dinner was coocked also by young people who were struggling in life, but are now learning to be a chef and they got a deafening applaus at the end of the evening.

The volunteers of this day, were beside permanent Present volunteers, the business group who made this all possible by giving their financial aid!

Everybody loved it again so much, that we think a tradition was born!

Our volunteers
Our volunteers
Our chefs
Our chefs
What a beautiful night
What a beautiful night
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Helping someone will make you smile!
Helping someone will make you smile!

Once in a while we have these beautiful encounters. This is when generations meet. On a Friday evening this group of teenagers came to an elderly home to do something different from what they normally do. 

Normally they meet and interact with each other. Talk about their school, their friends and family or their future. But it's about them. This particular evening they wanted to focus on someone else. And to really step out of their comfort zone, they picked a group whom they normally wouldn't meet.

The elderly of this nursing home is always very happy if something is organized for them. But when the see the youth come in, they are overjoyed. It's a different vibe, when this new generation joins them. When they see young people, it takes them back to when they were that age. Everybody was smiling and laughing the entire time!

The two groups, both taking something different from this encounter, had a night to remember!  

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May and June is the time when companies have their anual team building events, here in The Netherlands. And apparently in stead of bowling they find it more and more appealing to do something for someone else. And they are right! When the focus is not on you, but on helping someone in need, you learn something new about yourself, about your team and about the world you live and work in.

We welcome every teambuilding event, but imagine what it will do for the whole company if these findings were to be incorporated on a more structural basis? First of all, you would spread our work a bit more throughout the year, and we wouldn't be doing 11 projects on 1 day. But more importantly: Those in need also get more help and attention spread throughout the year. It's the same reason why we created 'Light in Darker Days'. A project where we focus on 3 months in stead of only the high profile December month. People who are lonely or facing big challenges in life, financially or phisically, don't only need your help during the Christmas season. Especially for the northern hemisphere, January and February are more depressing months, since no one is helping or visiting them, and it's still dark and cold most of the day. Especially in reflection to December.

What if you would give your employees 3 days a year to do voluntary work. At a time of their choosing. We would be more than happy the facilitate that! We could help so much more people, in a much more effective way. Or choose one period your company puts extra effort in helping the society.

In May we had one company who did a week long projects throughout the city and country. In June it's a whole month we are helping another company. It's amazing to see what it does to people. People who are being helped and people who do the helping. Truly, you should try it.

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We recently started a new concept which is called: Social Gardening. It has a lot of different aspects in it, which is probably why we are so enthusiastic about it!

The basic idea is to clean/clear up gardens of people who are unfit, either physically, socially or financially, with a group of volunteers. Besides doing that, which is something that we've done before, we're now looking extra carefully at the environmental and social aspect. For this reason, we not just work with our volunteers, we ask for help with a professional gardener. The idea is to create gardens which are environmentally save, which attracts insects like bees in a natural way, which deals with rainfall in a natural way and which is also easy to maintain. But a garden also has a social function. It gets people outside of the house and into life. Especially life with others. We therefor hope to fight loneliness mostly common with the elderly.

Last Saturday we had our first Social Gardening project which had all these aspects in it. We worked together with the company who owns the building and therefor the communal garden. The project is an apartment building which houses mostly 55+. We attracted a gardening professional who works with the Salvation Army. Which meant that not just he and the volunteers got busy, but also people who are trying to work out a homeless, possibly with substance abuse, situation into a way that leads them back to work.

It was a windy day, but really fulfilling. The new garden became beautiful with lots of flowers, herbs, birdhouses and a bee house! The volunteers did the work and of course Present was there to attract the elderly who live in the apartments. We had coffee and cake and a lot of them came by and had a talk about how they loved the new garden and how they hope this new garden will help with social gatherings and a better social environment!

Of course Present will track this new situation and already offered them to help organize a summer event to get people more involved with their neighbors!

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Organization Information

Stichting Present Den Haag

Location: Den Haag - Netherlands
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @PresentDenHaag
Project Leader:
Eva Mabayoje
Den Haag, Netherlands

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