While volunteers are widely active in non-profit
organizations in Lebanon, they are relatively rare in schools, service
institutions, and municipalities. Volunteers cannot and should not
take the place of professional employees in these institutions. But
volunteers can supplement and complement the work of employees, especially
in areas outside the domain and expertise of employees.
IN SCHOOLS, volunteers cannot replace the teachers or
administrators, but they can supervise students as they arrive and depart
the school grounds and during recesses. They can correct objective
tests, plan or accompany teachers and students on fieldtrips, introduce
students to their own special talents, tutor students with extra needs,
decorate the classrooms, help students plant a school garden, and organize
fundraising events for special school needs. While they are helping the
school, these volunteers also serve as role models for students of adults
engaged in community service. Parents are an important source of
volunteers for schools since they have personal motives to improve the
school their children attend, but care must be taken so that they do not
give unfair advantage to their own children. Another good source of
school volunteers are universities in the area of the school.
SERVICE INSTITUTIONS like hospitals, orphanages, and homes for the
elderly can also use volunteers. Volunteers in hospitals can help
move patients from one area of a hospital to another, deliver newspapers
and flowers, talk with patients that have few visitors, and play
with children who are patients in the pediatric section of the hospital.
They can provide similar non-professional support in orphanages and homes
for the elderly. And in such institutions, the part-time support of
professional volunteers (doctors, psychologists, lawyers, etc) can also be
MUNICIPALITIES can also add
greatly to their services to the community through volunteers. Some
activities volunteers have undertaken in Lebanese municipalities include
planting trees, organizing youth activities, creating a senior center,
establishing a community library, developing a recycling center, and
organizing periodic clean-up-the-community days. Such activities
strengthen the bonds within the community, increase community pride, and
improve the quality of life for everyone.
We encourage Lebanese schools, service institutions, and municipalities
that have volunteer programs to contact AVS and provide us with
information about their programs so that we can learn from their
experiences and have role models to share with others.
There are valuable resources in the AVS
Library and online to help schools, service institutions, and
municipalities that want to expand their services through volunteers.
It is important to remember that such programs not only benefit the
institutions, but also benefit the volunteers and society as a whole.