Since graduating from Wilson in 2014 with my Masters in Humanities, I have been busy discovering what comes next. I wanted to get into the nonprofit sector, but found that without experience I was going to have to start as a volunteer. Late one night while scrolling through Pinterest, I found the Young Adult Volunteer (YAV) Program through the Presbyterian Church(USA).
In exchange for 35 hours of volunteer work, PC(USA) pays my rent, provides health insurance, and a small living stipend. It was perfect. I get the chance to work for a non-profit and not have to worry about a salary. With volunteer sites across the country and seven internationally, I had my choice of where to serve. After interviewing with several sites I chose Indianapolis. Since arriving I have had the opportunity to work with an amazing organization, Building Tomorrow, that is working to provide quality, local education for the 33 million out-of-school children in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Building Tomorrow works with communities in Uganda to build local, quality, primary schools. Through fundraising events and our college chapters here in the U.S., we raise money to build schools. Our team in Uganda hires local workers, the community donates the land and commits 15,000 volunteer hours to construction projects. To date Building Tomorrow has broken ground on 38 schools and hired twenty Ugandan graduates for our fellowship program.
Part of my work with the organization includes fundraising and working to build our college chapter program. I immediately thought of my dear alma mater. The college chapters raise funds through different campus events and if they can raise $30,000 a school in Uganda is dedicated to the college. Our most popular event is the Bike to Uganda. The chapter sells time slots for students, faculty, and community members to ride stationary bikes. The cumulative goal is to bike from the college to Uganda.
I am having an amazing time working for Building Tomorrow and serving as a YAV in Indianapolis. This experience is giving me the opportunity to get my foot in the door for a future career in the non-profit field. If you would like more information about either organization please feel free to email me at Elizabeth@buildingtomorrow.org. Check out our website at www.buildingtomorrow.org and like our YAV page on Facebook @Indyyav to see all the amazing things I get to do as a volunteer!
Thank you for letting me share my story with you. Keeping working hard and good luck with finals!