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Christian Appalachian Project, Inc.
December 30, 2012

I participated in Workfest 2005 and 2006. Workfest is an annual gathering of college groups that travel to Kentucky during their spring breaks to help rebuild homes in Eastern Kentucky. I am saddened to see negative reviews because both my experiences were awesome. Workfest was organized and the team leaders were excellent. They provided me and the other volunteers with guidance (most of us had never worked with power tools before this) and they also helped to educate us on some of the problems that people in this area face. It is truly mind-boggling that people can be living in such poverty in this country! The first house my group helped rebuild was owned by an 80-year old woman named Opal. Her walls were insulated with cardboard boxes and her house was basically falling down around her. She was extremely grateful for the work we did and not at all ashamed of her financial situation. We visited with her at the start and end of each work day and she was always thanking and blessing us!
My second experience with WorkFest was just as good as the first. The homeowners were extremely happy we were there and often cooked us traditional southern dishes to show their thanks.

If you want the chance to step outside your comfort zone, learn to use power tools, talk to people whose lives are completely different from yours (even though you live in the same country), meet other volunteers from places all over the US, and see a very beautiful slice of America, I recommend getting involved with CAP.

More feedback

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2006

MY ROLE:
Volunteer

HARVEST HILLS ANIMAL SHELTER INC
December 30, 2012

I volunteered here for eight months in 2010. The animals are loved and well-cared for. Staff and volunteers keep all the animal areas clean and help to socialize the cats and dogs. Harvest Hills staff are very professional, friendly, and talkative. I never felt like a burden when I needed to ask a question about the daily routine or animal care. I have adopted three cats from here and all are social, loving, and definitely grateful to have a forever home!

If you don't like dealing with animal poop or have senstivities to cleaning materials like bleach, this volunteer job might not be for you. Harvest Hills also have opportunities to be involved in fundraising, so if you'd rather stay clean, ask how to help in other ways!

More feedback

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010

MY ROLE:
Volunteer

WIDECAST: Wider Caribbean Sea Turtle Conservation Network, Inc.
September 26, 2012

Let me be clear: the turtle work you will be involved in is incredible. I worked as a research assistant at the Pacuare Project from April-August 2012. I led night patrols, PIT-tagged and skin-tagged leathbacks and greens, collected eggs, relocated nests to the hatchery, etc. This work is extremely important to sea turtle conservation in this area because the beach is loaded with poachers. The poachers take the eggs of the leatherbacks, and they take the eggs and the turtle if it's a green turtle. Without this project, turtles would vanish from this small stretch of beach in just a few years. That said, Widecast as an organization has a lot of problems, and these put a dark cloud over my experience. I recommend going as a short-term volunteer only, because there is a serious lack of food. We got three meals a day and that's it; the meals were a small portion of rice, beans, and some other starch. Very little protein, no calcium, and barely any fresh fruit or vegetables. Much of the work takes place at night, so sleep is of the utmost importance. The camp manager would regularly start the generator/water pump at ungodly hours of the night. The camp coordinator would regularly stand outside the cabin the research assistants slept in and have loud conversations, waking us up out of our much-needed sleep. (Requests for her to stop this behavior were ignored.) We received no formal training from any Widecast employee. The Outreach and Education coordinator (Daniela) offered us endless advice and guidance, but we were told by an office employee (Cristina) not to listen to Daniela because Daniela was "not in charge." Safety rules were constantly changing, and Cristina told us that we did not need to know what to do in an emergency because "nothing would ever happen." (Say what?!) The unprofessionalism of the Widecast employees was endless and I won't detail it all here, but I will end with this: Just before the other research assistant and I left the project, the head of Widecast (Didiher Chacon) sent the message that we were not to say anything negative to the incoming research assistants. He did not apologize for all the mistakes, and he did not say thank you for all the work we did. Widecast has a lot of work to do if they want to keep attracting a large amount of volunteers to the Pacuare project. Final recommendation: if you're interested in visiting Pacuare, volunteer with La Tortuga Feliz. You will still be volunteering with Widecast, but you will be living in a much better place with sufficient amounts of very good food.

More feedback

Would you volunteer for this group again?

No

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Some

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Somewhat badly

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

No

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

MY ROLE:
Volunteer