March 1, 2012
I spent 5 months working with All Hands in Mississippi after Hurricane Katrina and then spent 8 months working in Haiti after the earthquake there. Both times it was amazing! Honestly it has been one of the most rewarding experiences I have had. Warning, disaster relief work can be addicting. What makes All Hands great? First, you work closely with the community you are in. Many groups effectively isolate their volunteers on their compounds, not true with All Hands. Second, the people you meet doing this work are exceptional people. Third, All hands does not expect you to pay to volunteer, for me that would be a deal breaker. Fourth, All Hands is not religious. People of faith are welcome to work with All Hands but All Hands does not save souls or evangelize. Fifth, All Hands encourages (pushes) you to take leadership. If you have a good idea there is a fair chance that you will get support to go forward with it (assuming it is within All Hands scope.) Sixth, most organizations require you to have specialized skills before they will even consider letting you volunteer with them, it is far easier to be accepted with All Hands. Lastly, All Hands is not a top heavy organization. Money is not wasted. This said, don't wast your own money flying half way across the world to volunteer for two weeks. You are better off sending money to All Hands or some other organization. Your plane money could probably hire a local to work for a month, which is better on two accounts. If you are going to do relief work don't imagine yourself some sort of hero on your way to fix other people's lives. Take it slow and learn from the people you are there to help. They know what is going on. Don't assume you know what is best for them. Keep your humility. This will change your live more than it will change anybody else's.
Would you volunteer for this group again?
For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?
Did the organization use your time wisely?
Would you recommend this group to a friend?
When was your last experience with this nonprofit?