You might think, because I'm on the Board of Directors of Journeys Within Our Community (JWOC) that I am biased. You might think, because JWOC was founded by close family friends, that I am biased. You might think, because my daughter is also on the Board, that I am biased. But you would be wrong. It is because of all those things that I have the highest of expectations for this organization. And it meets them all. JWOC is, first and foremost, a grassroots effort, born out of the genuine desire to solve problems that my friends saw while operating a tour business in Cambodia. Struck by the locals' desperate need for clean water, educational and economic opportunities and sustainable skill-building, they brainstormed on how to "See a Problem....Solve a Problem" with not much more than creative ideas and boundless energy. Now, only seven years later, JWOC has matured into a well-organized, effective, responsive nonprofit that delivers life-changing services to thousands of disadvantaged adults and children in three SE Asian countries. And JWOC's leaders are always restless to do that even better. Partnering with government, villagers, experts, university students and the rich pool of talent within its own donor base, the JWOC team seeks creative, effective and sustainable solutions in an ever-changing landscape of needs. The organization currently focuses on clean water and hygiene training/supplies for thousands of people, microfinance loans, free classes for all ages to learn everything from English to sewing, university scholarships and emergency relief. JWOC is not about giving handouts. It's about creating opportunities for people to learn to help themselves. For example, JWOC's relief program for flooded villages included planting communal gardens and training the families to grow vegetables more efficiently for higher yields to offset future field losses. The university scholarship program requires the recipients to donate 5-10 hrs per week helping run JWOC programs, which gives them practical applications for their schooling as well as mentoring the value of "giving back." The JWOC programs always have a twist that makes them unique and its growth, maturity and credibility prove that its business models work. I am proud to be associated with this organization and the sincere and talented people who run it.
Journeys Within Our Community (JWOC) works in Southeast Asia to improve living conditions of local communities through health, education, economic, and emergency relief projects. In 2007, I sponsored a Cambodian university student's education and for the last 3 years spent a month volunteering in Cambodia for JWOC. Seeing firsthand the effectiveness & impact of JWOC's work, I joined the board to extend my contribution to JWOC's mission.
We have been involved with Journeys Within Our Community since its inception and are thrilled with the way it has developed. Being a board member I am part of the group that takes the fiscal responsibility of the organization very seriously. We have developed a system whereby donors know where their donations are being used and can see how their help is changing lives, be it thru education, water and wellness programs or micro-loans. I am too of course a donor and love communicating with my students (who we are sponsoring to go to university) and every time we visit Cambodia and pop into the JWOC Community Center we are thrilled by all the activity that is going on and love meeting the scholarship students, who are so important to our programs, and the wonderful staff who keep everything running!