Volunteer Story 2017

Jessie M. Cubijano
AP Renewables Inc.

My first volunteering experience was in college. I was then an intern of a Cebu-based non-profit organization called the Soil and Water Conservation Foundation. The organization exposed us to the critical watersheds of Central Cebu and trained us how to handle watershed tours attended by students and professionals. The experience enlightened me that that there are many businesses and institutions in the country who field their people to help communities and the environment. That internship also inspired me just keep on sharing knowledge on environment and development.

Volunteerism is food for the soul. Every volunteering experience can be humbling and keeps you grounded. When you volunteer, the value of your time and resources increases because you are able to share it. I also enjoy the company of my fellow volunteers. Volunteerism provides that common ground for individuals coming from varied backgrounds and experiences.

I’ve been with the Aboitiz group for almost 3 years and I am just truly amazed at how my organization engages its team members to volunteer. The support is from the top and there are policies and recognitions that encourages volunteerism. When I develop corporate social responsibility projects for our host communities, one of the parameters checked by Aboitiz Foundation is the projects’ opportunities for team member involvement. Volunteering activities also happen both on weekends and weekdays during company hours.

When I plant a tree, there is always that possibility that my tree won’t survive. When I clean a river or a coast, I know that there will come a time when the same spaces will again be filled with garbage. When I read to children, their enthusiasm may not be sustained if they won’t get the same level encouragement from their households and neighborhoods. Which is why in any volunteering activity, it is always important to work with a community. They will sustain what the volunteer has started. The communities are what makes volunteering fulfilling in the long run.

Very recently, our team launched a program on employee volunteering. I was inspired by a structured approach developed by the Philippine Business for Social Progress; I was with PBSP for over 12 years before I joined AP Renewables Inc. We launched a survey to understand the interests, preferences, and inclinations of our team members. Based on the result, we sustained as well as developed volunteering opportunities. The huge support of our both our leaders and team members sustain the passion. Their feedback also engages us to always have a better ways mindset each time we organize volunteering events.