Today we’d like to introduce you to Edward Remias and Karishma Shah.
So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
Karishma, Action Center Lead, CRY San Diego: I moved to San Diego in 2012. I heard about CRY Holi, a color festival, that happens in March and tagged along with my sister to the event. There, I was in awe of the event a very few numbers of volunteers managed to beautifully execute. Curious about the organization, I did some searching and found that the event was purely non-profit.
An event where I had absolute fun, where the San Diego community came together, where selfless volunteers spent hours of their time ensuring the event goes smoothly, was ultimately about raising funds for child rights! All of the funds raised helped ensure children can be children! I joined immediately.
Through CRY, I am able to set aside time to do real work that helps others as well as actively meet and interact with motivated volunteers, create partnerships with helpful businesses and organizes grand events! It has been over four years since I joined and with many changes, opportunities and obstacles, we, as volunteers, still happily come together to do our part in making a sustainable change!
Edward, Director, Volunteer Action, CRY America: Well, it all started at an event organized by volunteers to raise funds for Child Rights & You, America (CRY America). Children who are born into conditions that keep them from realizing their full potential is such an injustice. So, I decided to volunteer and started (or restarted after the previous volunteers had moved away) the chapter in San Diego for CRY America.
The reputation of the nonprofit that works for the underprivileged children, the logistics of how they implement sustainable change, and my own interest in getting together and doing something fun and useful outside of my regular work, fueled me to start the action center. Now we are a thriving action center that raises $50,000 to $70,000 every year for Child Rights by holding events in the community.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Volunteering is time spent doing work voluntarily. We get a mix of volunteers – some with an intrinsic desire to better society, some to meet and socialize with others and some that are interested in planning events. The common denominator between all of us; however, is that in some, way, shape or form, we are taking a step forward to aid underprivileged children who need our help.
That being said, as this is purely voluntary, it does come with some hiccups. We have had moments when it was just a few of us standing wondering what we can do if we should just give up. And there are times when on the day of an event, something goes drastically wrong but the manpower wasn’t there to clean things up. But through all this, we have persevered, adjusted, and focused on building back the volunteer teams.
Please tell us about Child Rights & You (CRY) San Diego.
Child Rights & You, America is a non-profit 501c3 organization that works to raise funds for projects that support underprivileged children in the US and India. It is a rights-based organization, that focuses on the children’s right to.
1. Survival – to life, health, nutrition, name, nationality
2. Protection – from exploitation, abuse, neglect
3. Development – to education, care, leisure, recreation, cultural activities
4. Participation – to expression, information, thought, religion
It is a unique ‘rights-based’ approach, that focuses on sustainable change, that sets this apart from the other similar organizations.
A big portion of the funds raised for this cause is done by Volunteer Action through Action Centers – which is a group of volunteers who get together in a city to organize various events in the community to raise awareness, and resources for this cause. San Diego Action Center has been one of the very active Action Centers. We are a non-denominational group, that puts together events to bring the community together.
We take pride in putting together well-organized events which has gained a reputation in the community as the events to go to. Our popular events are Kite Festival in January, Holi (Color Festival) in March, CRYket Cricket Tournament in June, Volleyball Tournament and Walk/Run for Child Rights towards the end of the year. Of course, we also do smaller events throughout the year. More information can be found on crysandiego.org.
If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
In a fully volunteer-run organization, volunteer churn is to be expected. Volunteers are beholden by their personal commitment, and accountability and nothing else. But life happens. Volunteers decide to take a break for various reasons. If a volunteer leader stops doing what they are doing, then someone else who is standing back has to pick that work up to keep things functioning.
This can cause the remaining volunteers to ‘burn-out’ and make them want to take a break, spiraling quickly and jeopardizing the whole function. So, an important strategy as a volunteer leader should be to train your replacement. Each volunteer leader should make this a priority. This not only gives you a backup when you are not able to take the work on but also creates a possibility for an easy transition, when you need a break.
- $49 – Activate primary healthcare centers
- $98 – Help provide early child care, health and nutrition
- $138 – Start and strengthen public schools
- $197 – Help remove children from work situations and enroll them to school
- $298 – Ensure a village is 100% free from child labor
- Any amount you donate contributes to a child’s future
- Website: crysandiego.org
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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