Just 7 months ago we launched the #iamthiscommunity campaign. Many people responded (and continue to respond) to this challenge by posting their local/national volunteering experiences, showcasing community pictures they’ve taken, or (as nonprofit leadership) sharing hoped-for-participation-in volunteering opportunities for the traveler. While we recognise the “iamthiscommunity” challenge tends to focus on individual action, as a business/community member, we believe the individual “I” cannot be disassociated from the collective “we” purpose that drives each volunteer.

How many of you have heard the expression “there is no I in team?” This expression, typically used within the workplace and in sporting activities, means no individual is more important than the collective skills/efforts of the group. While elements of this can be debated and we can understand the reasons for this, in terms of our current global health crisis for example, never is it more important than now to come together as a group to fight COVID-19. Each individual (the I) has been asked to sacrifice many parts of their lives to keep us all safe as we ride this out together.

But how does this virus discussion relate to the topic of the USA/Canadian traveling volunteer and the #iamthiscommunity challenge? Simple. Although we encourage each individual volunteer to give of their time and talents to worthy causes as they travel across these nations, and identify as an #iamthiscommunity member due to the volunteering experience they have in each place, we believe these “I” volunteers make a sustainable difference to these communities because of the “we” nature of the volunteer heart. We believe volunteers are the kind of people who typically focus on others – they want to make an impact on communities they serve (that may not necessarily include themselves).

Given each individual volunteer heart primarily looks at how their actions will contribute to the greater community good, the #iamthiscommunity term may be considered as having the “we” factor embedded in it. Many I-am-this-community members make a collective “we” impact in the communities they serve. Knowing this, we are very proud to be associated with the giving and care volunteers who collectively give back to the communities they live and travel within. Thank you “I’s” for coming together as “we” to make our world a safer and better place.

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