This post is by Janis Vinck, Curaçao Cares program manager and project coordinator.
The first national volunteer initiative on Curaçao, CURA DOET, sent a huge wave of positive impact throughout this tiny Dutch Caribbean nation of 150,000 people. On March 21 and 22 more than 2,500 volunteers from all walks of life tackled 132 service projects in almost every neighborhood on the island – coordinated from the headquarters of Curaçao Cares, a new international member of Points of Light’s HandsOn Network.
To prepare for CURA DOET (translation: Hands-on Curaçao), we first reached out to social organizations and then launched a massive media campaign to make as many people as possible aware of this service weekend and recruit volunteers.
We invited nursing homes, primary schools, cultural organizations, foundations, neighborhood centers, sport associations and afterschool programs to propose volunteer projects. Our team spent many days on the road visiting social organizations in order to plan activities. It was a great opportunity for us at Curaçao Cares to build relationships with organizations, schools and even companies we hadn’t worked with before.
Many organizations saw CURA DOET as the perfect opportunity to get things done that they did not yet have the time, manpower or resources to do. This included hands-on jobs such as painting neighborhood centers, fixing playgrounds in a school, sprucing up the garden at a home for the elderly and giving special attention to clients and patients by organizing a special breakfast, celebration or a nice outing. Our goal was to reach at least 100 projects, so we were pleasantly surprised when we surpassed that mark!
On the eve of the big weekend, the governor of Curaçao kicked off CURA DOET in the company of several community partners and other invited guests. It was a festive start to an unforgettable two days during which we saw families, colleagues, teammates and classmates all roll up their sleeves and join forces.
It was fulfilling to see young and old having fun while lending a hand and many volunteers were gratified to see the result of their work.
“Dun’un man, gan’un Kurason” – “Lend a hand, win a heart” – is the motto we chose for CURA DOET and we are proud that it inspired so many to take action for Curaçao. We are already looking forward to CURA DOET 2015!
To find a volunteer center near you, visit HandsOn Network.