The presence of volunteers has been an integral part of ACAY’s mission since the creation of the Association in Manila in1997. At the time, the three sisters were already accompanied by two volunteers. Since then, every year, around 12 volunteers have joined ACAY teams in Manila and Marseille to support the mission. We welcome volunteers from various backgrounds and nationalities, who wish to give their time, their skills and their heart to young people in difficulty. An overview of volunteering at ACAY.
For years, ACAY has been welcoming volunteers in the Philippines with the status of Voluntarism of International Solidarity (VSI), in partnership with Children of Mékong. The VSI is for adults without age limit and is for a minimum of one year that can be renewed.
Here is the testimony of Luigi, a Children of Mekong volunteer within the Second Chance program in Manila:
« I am a sports educator and an animator of social events in France and my goals were to broaden my professional and relational horizons; I am already very satisfied but I have not finished evolving and discovering. I am particularly moved by the cultural differences that give rise to innovative and complementary ideas within the ACAY team. For 8 months, an inner joy continues to grow in me despite the difficulties. I am proud to be part of a mission that makes sense whatever ones beliefs may be and I feel that nothing is impossible. I decided to stay another year because I want to go further in journeying with these youth. »
« At the end of my Business School, I started looking for work, but I soon felt that I had something else to live first.Having witnessed how one of my best friends had been deeply transformed during the time she volunteered for ACAY, I did not hesitate in choosing the Association I wanted to commit to. It is also the very practical character and the concrete help given to the young people that seduced me. I have not been disappointed. The 6 months of mission for the School of Life in the Philippines was infinitely rich spiritually and humanly. I had a glimpse of the mud in which the human soul can drown, but especially of the way God is continually seeking to save us, especially through the immense work of the ACAY teams. He is only waiting for one thing, it is that the young people grab the hand he extends them with infinite love. There is always hope. This mission teaches me to accept my limits and to always seek first to love, to be a presence and listening before doing. This is something that you do not necessarily learn in business school … I am now back in France with ACAY France in Marseille, for 5 months. A new adventure. »
Volunteer missions are rewarding experiences both humanly and professionally for volunteers but also for their entourage,
« We knew Laure to be happy among you, but we were able to see first-hand how the service and life in ACAY were fulfilling her, as well as the remarkable spiritual and human adventure she’s living among you. Our understanding of life in ACAY took on a much more personal note, and we returned home keeping the memory of all those smiling faces, laughter and moving times (birthday party) that we have witnessed. We know that beyond these good times, the daily life is also strewn with difficulties and trials more or less burdensome for your young people. But we felt, especially in some of their testimonies during the Saturday evening, that many graces are at work, like the many manifestations of the superabundance of life and joy bursting forth on Easter morning. »