About Marilyn Gardner Milton
Marilyn Gardner Milton MA is a woman who has her fingers in many different pies in life. One of her greatest passions is the volunteering and advocating for both children in need as well as dogs. She helped to create the Ebenezer Foundation which works with children in need in Zambia. With the motto “A Place to Call Home and Someone to Call Mother”, the Ebenezer Foundation is dedicated to providing education, healthcare, and housing for orphans in Zambia. This position allows Marilyn to bring her years of experience in primary education and distance learning to the organization, providing them with advice and support as to how best educate the children.
Marilyn Garner Milton | Volunteering & Administrative Experience
The Ebenezer Foundation was created to support the work of the Ebenezer Child Care Trust, an organization that originally focused on feeding the orphans in Zambian cities a few times a week. However, as time passed the creators realized that there was more they could do to help the children in need. They partnered with the Cavalry Church in Livingstone and began renting houses so that they could offer a stable environment and family-like situation for the orphans. The Foundation currently rents 4 houses and 1 office building where they provide housing and house parents for the orphans as well as education and medical facilities for both orphans and all children in the community. Marilyn Gardner Milton MA was hired to join the Board of Directors so that she could bring her expertise in education and distance learning to the organization.
While Marilyn Gardner Milton MA has focused most of her volunteering efforts on children in need, she has also always been an advocate for dogs. Throughout her entire life, Marilyn has lived with dogs. As a child she was raised in a household that always had at least one dog in it and she tried to maintain that number throughout all periods in her life. And throughout all of her experiences with educating and administrating, her dogs were always there with her. The more she worked in high-intensity situations, the more Marilyn realized that her dog was useful for both companionship as well as a natural stress reliever. While Marilyn’s life is taken up mostly by her work and her family, she has never forgotten about her love for dogs and continues to live with one to this very day. Due to her experiences, she is fully aware of the therapeutic effects that dogs can have on people in stressful and taxing situations.
Helping your own community comes with its own benefits, but there is a whole world out there that needs help. There are parts of the world that are far much less fortunate than us and could greatly benefit from eager and dedicated volunteers. Taking the time to help others outside of your borders is a very rewarding and fulfilling experience. When choosing to volunteer overseas, there are a few tips you should follow:
Always Be Prepared
When heading abroad, it’s imperative to be as prepared as possible. Especially if this would be your first time traveling overseas, preparing for the trip is crucial. Make sure to do extensive research on the volunteer program, the destination, budgeting, transportation, projects, and more. Take the time to ask as many questions as you can and getting the answers you need before committing to the overseas volunteer program.
Volunteering abroad means traveling overseas to work for free. Some of these projects can take weeks or evens months of time and commitment. Before volunteering abroad, make sure it is something you can afford to do. You need to pay for the airfare, vaccinations, visas, and the charge for the placement in the program itself. This charge will usually cover food, room and board, training, local transport, insurance, and background checks.
Fight the Right Project
There are many different projects that a program will have. When volunteering overseas, consider the different skills that you have and what program would benefit the most from it. For example, if you have a passion or an educational background in animals, consider volunteering for wildlife projects. If you are looking to pursue a career in teaching, opt for a project teaching English to children. This makes sure that the project you are volunteering for will greatly benefit from you being a part of it.
Respect All Cultures
When traveling across the world, you will be introduced to an entirely different way of living. Most volunteer projects take place in third world countries and you will be faced with an entirely different culture. It’s important to remember that you are there to lend a helping hand, not to take charge of their lives. Be respectful of their ways of living and be humble. Not only will this lead to better help them and their community, but it will also be an incredible learning experience for you.
Going to college marks a very important stage in a person’s life. It is the time when they grow from adolescence into adulthood while figuring out who they want to be in life. This is the time of new experiences and finding discoveries about oneself. This is why college is the best time to begin volunteering.
It is not a secret that when attending college for the first time, students can often experience depression and anxiety. With the combination of being away from home for the first time and much more pressure of being on their own, it’s easy for students to fall into depression. It’s been found that students who participate in volunteer work were able to ward off depression. By volunteering on a semi-regular basis, students are able to lower their stress, increase their self-esteem, and feel much happier.
Being away from home and out on their own, many students find it difficult to make new friends. Thankfully, volunteering offers many opportunities to make new friends and connections. Not only are students able to find others who have a passion for helping the community, but they can also build lasting relationships. Often times, volunteering can take place in the same location with the same people, which helps volunteers develop strong friendships. These friendships and connections may also help them career-wise after graduation.
Another way volunteering can help students after college is by boosting their resume. Many employers will see the same type of resume over and over again. When they see volunteering on a resume, especially at a young age, many employers are very impressed. It shows a student cares about their community and is driven. Volunteering can also be viewed as an internship and an alternative way to build and develop professional skills.
It’s important for college students to find a cause and give back to their community. Not only will they be helping people, but they will also be building themselves a better future.
Do you have a desire to make a difference in your community through volunteer work? Sometimes it can be difficult to know where to begin. Here are some tips to help you find volunteer opportunities that are perfect for your unique skills and interests:
- Consider what you’re passionate about.
Before getting started, figure out what you’re passionate about and what area of work you are most interested in. Consider your personal strengths, as well as the issues that are most important to you. After you become clear about what matters to you, choosing an opportunity will be easier.
- Consider your community’s needs.
Every community has different needs. Do some research about your area and try to discover what the most pressing problems are. Does your city have a high homeless population? If so, you can volunteer at a local shelter or food bank. Maybe you live near a children’s hospital and can offer your services there. Try to find an organization or an opportunity where you feel like you’re needed.
- Start small.
As you begin volunteering with a new opportunity, it’s OK to start small. Work for a few hours at a time and see how it goes. See if your values align with the work that you’re doing. After you find the right organization, you can always increase your service as your schedule allows. Be careful to avoid over-committing yourself or you may quickly become burnt out.
Did you know that there is a website dedicated to helping you find the perfect volunteer opportunity? It’s called Volunteer Match. You can start there, or even with a simple Google search like “volunteer opportunities in my area.”
You may have to try a few different things before you find the perfect place for you. No matter what route you choose, you can expect your life to be enriched as you add value to the lives of others.