You have a supportive family, a good job, fun friends, summer year round and the world’s most beautiful beaches at your fingertips. You can afford to take a nice vacation once or twice a year. You’re (mostly) healthy and happy… but your heart aches every time you look out your car window and meet the eyes of Curaçao’s less privileged. You want to help. You wonder how. That’s exactly where newly launched volunteer platform Curaçao Cares comes in.
Visit Curaçao Cares’ website: www.curacaocares.org. Sign up to become a volunteer.
Select your location and interests [children’s education, adult education, senior support, animal care, environmental sustainability to name a few]… Mere seconds later you find a Summer Art Project for children at the Curaçao Museum, a convenient 10-minute drive away.
So you set your alarm on Saturday morning, take a shower, have some breakfast, and hop into your car. A Volunteer Leader greets you at the museum and explains the project in more specific detail.
Two hours later, you feel enriched having helped bright-eyed 7 year old Clara work on her recycled, stained glass masterpiece… She even taught you a new song!
You catch up with some of the other super fun Curaçao Cares volunteers.
You walk out of the museum a little more energized than when you arrived — a pep in your step carries you an inch taller.
What an awesome way to kick off your weekend!
Curaçao Cares was conceived in 2011 when Deva-Dee Siliee (27) and Lysayé de Windt (30), both avid volunteers living in New York City, found themselves looking into new volunteer projects and realized that they were much more accessible in other countries (US, Tanzania, Venezuela, Brazil, South Africa, India, Myanmar, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Japan) than in their own, beloved Curaçao. Curaçao’s volunteer opportunities seemed limited to specific neighborhoods, churches and foundations and specific information on each initiative was very difficult to come by since most of them don’t maintain an up-to-date web presence. Moreover, Deva-Dee and Lysa found that a handful of well-marketed foundations received the bulk of Curaçao’s attention, while lesser-known initiatives were left under-resourced… their goals, more often than not, unmet.
Not ones to shy away from challenges, Deva-Dee and Lysa decided to join forces with the HandsOn Network and set out to replicate New York Cares and Nederland Cares in Curaçao in October 2012. Curaçao Cares aims to connect foundations and social projects with volunteers by way of a centrally accessible online hub that displays various projects, making it much easier for Curaçaoans to donate their flexible time and talent to meaningful local causes. After burning the midnight oil for several months in a row — learning about non-profit management, web development, the ins and outs of Adobe’s Suite — as well as rallying the generous support of a few founding private sector partners (GiroBank, BearingPoint Caribbean and Ernst & Young) — Deva-Dee and Lysa were able to launch Curaçao Cares’ beta service on June 26th 2013.
“Our motto is ‘commit as you can’… Just a few hours a month can make a big difference (…) Say you could be making $200
in the two hours you spend volunteering… by volunteering you actually *invest* $200 in your island’s human capital development… and that’s a gift that will keep on giving.” says Deva-Dee, all youthful eyes glistening. Deva-Dee and Lysa plan on getting Curaçao’s corporate suits out on the streets, rolling up their sleeves, getting their hands dirty. They want to bring our wise, proverb-rich generation in touch with our quick-witted, iPhone/Blackberry generation.
“We want to facilitate more understanding among our people… We want people to realize that they have a lot to give – and gain – from giving their time… we want to plant seeds for more compassionate future leaders and active citizens,” says Lysa.
In three years Deva and Lysa hope to mobilize a pool of 500 volunteers, while simultaneously measuring and communicating impact on local foundations and social initiatives. “Ultimately, we hope to make flexible volunteering a way of Curaçao life” says Deva-Dee.
Stay tuned for profiles on Curaçao Cares’ awesome co-founders, Deva-Dee and Lysa,
as well as volunteer project roundups.