Thursday, May 30, 2013

It was all a dream...

That's how most things start in New York, don't they? Well that is certainly how our journey started, even though our dream ultimately had nothing to do with New York. For all the accusations of being an 'impersonal' place where all you do is get lost in a crowd of strangers, New York had taught us both one thing: that no matter how busy you are running from train to train, job to job, you can, and should always find time and ways to give back! 

Precisely that, giving back, was the topic of discussion one faithful afternoon in the summer of 2011 when I, Deva-Dee Siliee and friend and now co-founder of Curaçao Cares Lysayé de Windt were sitting around the coffee table in New York with family members that were visiting. Precisely how would we give back to Curaçao, and how can we encourage and inspire others to give back?  

We both had quite some experience getting hands-on in community service projects around the world. I had rolled up my sleeves to reinvigorate the city a few times, had spent weekend-days teaching and organizing seminars for underprivileged students in New York and had shared smiles and tears with juvenile detainees in Tanzania. Lysayé had traveled the world, visiting over 10 countries, volunteering almost everywhere she went with numerous local NGO's, even if it was just for a little while.

Why and how were we able to do all of that? The answer is simple: elsewhere volunteering was made accessible, flexible but still meaningful! But when we thought about Curaçao, we were left clueless as to where we could give our time, talent and skills, and we suspected that there might be more people looking for information on volunteer opportunities finding that this information is hard to come by. 

And so the dream was born to establish Curaçao Cares, a volunteer and project management foundation. Curaçao Cares is proud to join Nederland Cares and New York Cares as an affiliate of Handson network, the largest and most successful international network of more than 250 volunteer action centers in 20 countries. Our mission is aligned with that of the network: to put people at the center of change!

Since our official establishment on October 19th, 2012, we have been working day and night (with the help of many others!) to get the engine started and to ensure that we will be here to serve our community for a long time. 

We hope that you join us on this journey, simply because change....begins with you!