From Grade 9 student to retired senior, how citizen volunteers created life saving resources

Volunteer experience

Chennai volunteers COVID resource
Chennai Vounteers crowdsourced useful information that was updated in a timely manners. Pic: Chennai Volunteers

“Every thought plants a seed to one of your actions. Every good action will yield a consequence. The person who takes good steps every day, cannot help but reap a harvest of awesome results.” This quote by Robin Sharma stayed with me for a long time after I read it. It is true that a thought can be powered by positive action, to yield far reaching results. In fact, a recent volunteer-driven initiative in Chennai, the Chennai Volunteers COVID Resource Guide epitomises how citizens can come together, virtually, and create a movement to support fellow citizens in their time of need.

Chennai Volunteers Resource Guide

The COVID Resource Guide had its genesis in genuine concern for people impacted by COVID-19, and an awareness of how important it was for them to have accurate resource information on hand. As the second wave of COVID-19 crested, it was a handy reference for those affected by COVID and alleviated their fear of how to access help.

Compassion, consistency and collaboration were the three pillars that supported this team of 200+ volunteers who worked at a frenetic pace for over six weeks, sans sleep or sanity. Each one of them played a role in scripting this story and left a lasting legacy – a registry of authentic COVID resources if Chennai or Tamil Nadu ever needs them again. The sheer diversity of the team was delightful.

Read more: 16 ways to volunteer from home during the COVID lockdown

The youngest volunteer was a student in Grade IX while the eldest was a retired senior. They also included college students, NSS volunteers, professors, professionals, corporates, homepreneurs, dentists, practising doctors and dentists, lawyer and homemakers. What kept the team together was the need to give back and the comfort that they could #volunteerfromhome.

Chennai volunteers COVID guide
The various categories under which resources were compiled. Pic: Chennai Volunteers

Lessons from Chennai Volunteers

The Resource Guide was a lesson in how raw volunteer passion could be channelled to evident purpose. It demonstrated that when collective compassion focused on a common cause that was broken down into supervised action, the result was greater than what one envisioned. It also brought to life the true spirit of volunteering, where every volunteer was completely engaged and gave it her or his best, regardless of their standing in the outside world.

Read more: When COVID brought Chennai communities together

Each volunteer’s moment of truth purely lay in how much he or she contributed. And the reward was a warm sense of accomplishment as a team and new insights every day. Many discovered a new dimension to themselves and realised how we, as humans, are engineered to help others.

The crowsourced guides can be accessed on the social media pages of Chennai Volunteers on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. These are regularly updated with the latest information available.

[This post was first published in the blogs of Chennai Volunteers and has been republished with permission and minimal edits.]

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About Rinku Mecheri 2 Articles
Rinku Mecheri is the founder of Chennai Volunteers, a social initiative that fosters civic engagement and ensure that volunteers can engage with non-profits in a sustainable and meaningful way.