Megin Alvarez, Meaningful Volunteer Co-founder

Megin Alvarez and Malcolm Trevena

1. Can you tell me what motivated you to create Meaningful Volunteer?

My parents were always involved with project in the Philippines to help family members and as I grew older only then did I realized that their involvement was not far from international development without the language barrier. Salt farm, fish farm, vegetable farming, bakery, tricycle investments, Jeepnee investments, Sari-Sari Store investments (equivalent to our dollar store or 7/11 corner store), sponsorship of relatives continuing with their education and many more other projects.

Meaningful Volunteer just took it on an international level entering Africa and now Nepal. My parents have a favourite saying “teach a man to fish…”

Well to me that’s sustainable living and that not just for my family but I believe that is how international developmental should run and at Meaningful Volunteer that is what we strive for. At Meaningful Volunteer we look for sustainable projects that are worthwhile.

2. What is it about Meaningful Volunteer that brings you joy?

I am really thankful that my parent decided to take me to Canada as a small child to give me a better future. Canada has provided my family and I with just that but I have to tell you, as a teenager and as a young adult I did not always appreciate what I had and became a very rebellious and took a lot of things for granted. My parents continued to instill lessons of kindness and humility through their actions and this brought them joy and happiness. Helping others brought them joy. For me, it’s that simple – helping others brings me joy. Meaningful Volunteer gives me an avenue to bring others joy and happiness by achieving their goals and independence. There are some things that money can’t really buy.

3. How has your experience working with this organization made you happier than working at other places?

Meaningful Volunteer gives me an opportunity to make mistakes. I feel fearless and therefore I take more risks with projects. With that said, the projects have been successful. I couldn’t do that with other organization, I would be too scared to disappointing so many people. I am still accountable but in my mind, I am accountable mostly to myself and my beliefs.

4. What have your greatest successes been?

Same with Malcolm, seeing others (women) come up with an ideas, supporting them and seeing them succeed! Women in Uganda and girls graduating in the Philippines.

5. Looking to the future, what is your long-term outlook for Meaningful Volunteer, and what is your greatest hope for the organization?

Long term goal – continue to inspire people
continue to support change
continue to make meaningful connections.
if that means internationally or locally. I just always want to be involved in something that brings meaning in my life

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