From the beaches of Thailand to the villages of Haiti to the neighborhoods of Long Island, I've volunteered with All Hands, and seen the profound impact the organization has on the lives of disaster survivors (and on the lives of the volunteers themselves). And as a founding board member, I know that you'd be hard-pressed to find an organization that makes more effective use of donor contributions.
All Hands Volunteers leverages the power and passion of individual volunteers in to help communities in dire need (typically in the aftermath of natural disasters) and, in the process, transforms lives. An on-the-ground volunteer presence (and the "do-power" of those volunteers) makes this organization incredibly effective at delivering real and appropriate assistance in environments that are often inherently chaotic and often not very amenable to the top-down decisionmaking characteristic of traditional nonprofits. AHV's model uses volunteers in an innovative and amazingly effective way.
I have been an active board member for 5 years and a donor from the inception of the concept supporting the Thailand Tsunami response in 2006. It has been a pleasure to watch the organization grow & help so many people in need. The staff is amazingly dedicated and talented. The volunteers i have worked with have found it extremely rewarding and have been a big part of the positive experience for me. I love the flexible business model that does whatever the community needs - maximum effectiveness/minimum bureacracy works! I also love the leverage that the volunteers provide as a donor - I know my donations are making a big difference in the communities that we serve. In short, it is the best NGO I have been associated with and I know hundreds, if not thousands of other volunteers feel the same way. Mike McQueeney
I first became associated with All Hands Volunteers following the Great East Japan Earthquake in March 2011. The All Hands staff team arrived just three days after the earthquake and tsunami and stayed to find a way to help while most people were fleeing the country because of uncertainty about radiation. I am proud to have been able to accompany the staff on the first trip to establish the volunteer project. In a part of Japan unaccustomed to foreigners, All Hands showed that they were compassionate, professional and experienced, and that gave confidence to survivors to open their homes, and eventually their hearts, to this organization to let them help. The story in Japan is an incredible one: while All Hands is a relatively small NGO, in Japan they quickly became the name everyone knew, both in the impacted communities for their good work, and in Tokyo (and around the world) where people were looking for a way to contribute and volunteer. I went to volunteer on the project many times, and each time there were more people from all over the world, doing more extraordinary work to support the communities devastated by the tsunami. All Hands Volunteers not only does incredible things for communities in the aftermath of disasters, but it also provides an empowering experience for volunteers. I can’t imagine that anyone who volunteers on an All Hands project will not be changed for the better. I certainly have been.
I volunteered with All Hands Volunteers in Legoane, Haiti together with my then 18 year old daughter in the summer of 2010. The experience was truly remarkable. It was amazing to see what a group of dedicated volunteers is able to accomplish. In the summer of 2011 I returned with my daughter as well as my 17 year old son to Leogane. What attracted us most to All Hands Volunteers was the opportunity to be "hands on" together with a group of like minded individuals from around the world and make an impact. My son and daughter have greatly benefitted from their experiences in Leogane, they saw first hand "the good" in people and the willingness to help. All Hands Volunteers provided the organization, infrastructure and leaders that know how to maximize every dollar spent.
I volunteered with All Hands in Leogane , Haiti. I was blown away by the level of commitment of the Volunteers from all over the world. It is truly an organization, that enable, anyone and everyone to do something good for others, especially in time of Disaster. It caries the name All Hands for a good reason, it is All the Volunteers Hand's that makes it happen. You enroll and you go help, simple and easy. You will get more than you gave. To see what willing and helping Hands can do, is a lot of work , but at the end of each project, the MIRACLE happens. I fell in love with All Hands, and when asked, to become a Board Member, I was truly honored to belong to this amazing Family. ps: 5 Stars is not enough for AHV
My first experience with All Hands was as a volunteer in Haiti in 2008, following devastating mud slides in the City of Gonaives. All Hands made the opportunity to volunteer easier than any volunteer organization I have previously volunteered to assist. My only out of pocket expense was travel to and from the site. All Hands fed, housed and transported me throughout my service. I was also not required to commit to any period of volunteer service. As a result, I found it simple to pick dates to serve that did not conflict with my schedule at home. I began working within two hours of my arrival at the All Hands site. The project was so well organized that we were prepared to work effectively from the moment of our arrival. I have volunteered with All Hands six times since then, all in Haiti following the January 2010 earthquake. By the end of our second year, we were near the completion of the construction of 20 schools. We were constructing and distributing bio-sand water purification filters throughout the community. In addition, we were training local volunteers to continue these projects beyond the date of our departure. Many of our local volunteers entered a training program established by All Hands teaching construction techniques, computer training, basic business accounting methods, and a variety of other subjects. All Hands assisted the local government in Leogane in basic adminstrative practices and office organization. Additionally, All Hands established a joint logistics base at its site, enabling other non governmental organizations like the World Food Program, Community Housing, and others to store and secure their supplies and equipment. All Hands also makes very efficient use of each donated dollar, insuring that donations are applied effectively for their intended purpose.
I first encountered All Hands Volunteers as a volunteer in Pisco, Peru in the wake of the devastating 2007 Earthquake. I found their hands on approach to disaster relief both refreshing and inspiring, though most importantly, measurably effective. Their model of volunteer empowerment based within the local community is made even more attractive as it offers opportunities for everyday people from all walks of life. I have personally witnessed the real difference made to people across the world whose lives have been shattered by natural disasters and people whose suffering has been alleviated in their time of most need by All Hands Volunteers.
I started out as a volunteer in Thailand and moved on to directing our Biloxi, MS Katrina Relief efforts. Since then we've seen our small organization grow into a lean, but effective change agent around the world helping thousands of people recover from natural disasters. Helping others should be easy to do... we provide the food, tools & housing to volunteers who want to help others recover from natural disasters.
I've been a volunteer, donor, and Board member for All Hands Volunteers, and think the organization does a great job filling its niche; allowing volunteers to help families affected by natural disasters. In the past year alone 3,500 people volunteered with AHV, and we were able to be effective in Haiti, and Japan, as well as across the US. The smiling faces at the school dedications in Haiti, where we'll finish our 20th beautiful 3 classroom school in March, or the touching "Thank You All Hands" signs that spread across Ofunato, Japan, were wonderful tributes to the value of the engaged volunteer model. The personal relationships formed with communities and among volunteers are priceless.