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There are several ways for you to make a difference in the world without just writing a check.  You can volunteer for YTF virtually or on the ground. Either way, we guarantee you will evolve from the experience more inspired.

YTF posts volunteer opportunities on our YTF website, via Ashoka and the United Nations Online Volunteer Service.  Since 2005, YTF’s online volunteer team has won the United Nations Volunteers (UNV)’s “Online Volunteering Team of the Year” award for our innovative and impactful teams of volunteers supporting our programs in Uganda and in Colombia.

If you are interested in volunteering for YTF, but the particular area where you think you can make the most contribution is not currently listed, please contact us expressing your volunteer interest.

For current YTF volunteers, we invite you to join the volunteer group on Facebook to communicate with each other and our staff. Share your ideas, post pictures and connect with other volunteers in your area.

 Check out these 2 interviews with some incredible YTF volunteers. 

 

Interview with Shruti Shah 

Shruti Shah, YTF Volunteer

Shruti Shah (far right) in Thailand last month where her student team won first place in the business plan competition.

YTF: Give me a brief summary of what you’re up to currently. We’d love to hear about school, passions, community involvement, and whatever else you’d like to share.

Shah: I’m a senior at the University of Florida, earning a duel degree in political science and finance with minor Spanish. I interned with JP Morgan Chase this past summer, and this year I’m working on my honors thesis and am involved in the business school in many ways. Right now, I’m president of the Business Administration College Council, which is the governing council for 30 organizations in the business school.

I’m the Project Impact and Exposition Director for an international organization focused on social entrepreneurship called Enactus. We oversee nine projects in the community. Right now, projects I’m working on include trying to create gardens in Gainesville to broaden access to fresh food, and a program for at-risk high school students called Investing in Your Future.

Last year, I was president of Florida Women in Business, the only program at the university that’s for women in business. We did professional development events and brought in female entrepreneurs from the community.

 YTF: How did you get connected with YTF, and what are your motivations for volunteering for a non-profit like YTF?

Shah: I found the opportunity to volunteer with YTF through the Ashoka website. I was looking at options to do something outside Gainesville and get international volunteering experience.

I have always been concerned with female entrepreneurs and business. When I saw YTF connecting technology and entrepreneurship with women and youth, it seemed like the right fit.

 YTF: And what do you do with YTF?

Shah: I’m very proficient with Microsoft Excel, PowerPoint and Publisher, so for YTF I’ve created things like templates for training presentations and tables of content for workshops. I recently created a presentation for a YTF workshop that was expanding its reach in Africa. I looked at numbers and extrapolated from the data what the workshop would look like with the increased reach.

YTF: Let’s talk a little about women and entrepreneurship. Can you speak about what you know about YTF’s work in this area and why it’s important?

Shah: This really came to forefront in last project with data extrapolation. I read almost 10 documents, looked at workshops in different countries, and reviewed data about what the women learned after attending the workshops.

It was great to learn that about 90% of the participants would recommend the workshop to someone. But I also began to understand the type of work and impact that YTF has as I learned about the women’s access to YTF’s programs. In countries where entrepreneurs might not have resources, YTF connects them to technology and helps them use technology to improve their businesses. I really enjoyed reading about that.

YTF: Have you identified any ways yet that your volunteer work with YTF might feed into your future career?

 Shah: Learning about the great impact that non-profits can have has been encouraging. I’ve looked into non-profits and found it is hit and miss. Some non-profits are motivated, but don’t have resources. And others are ineffective. I haven’t had that great of an experience in dealing with non-profits overall. So in working with YTF, it’s a good example of a non-profit that’s been successful and effective. This is good experience for me to consider for the future, as I consider working in the public sector or working at an international non-profit.

It was awesome to be directly in touch with Njideka Harry, YTF’s CEO.  What was so encouraging is that she is genuinely interested in what I’m doing in college and my future goals. I was not just another volunteer, but she demonstrated that I was truly part of the YTF family. She asked questions about my college and career interests, how I was preparing for these goals and what she and YTF could do to help me reach my potential.

YTF: Let’s talk about some ideas related to YTF’s work. Do you have a perspective on women and entrepreneurship from developing versus the developed world? Maybe a general sense of how it’s different, and maybe how YTF fits in?

Shah: I think the most interesting thing is the non-profits I’ve worked with in Gainesville with women and entrepreneurship. We’ve tried to encourage women to go into entrepreneurship, but here in the U.S., it’s something for people to if they have nothing else to do. At least in Gainesville. But I was surprised and happy to find that in the YTF program debriefs, the entrepreneurs in developing countries were proud to be entrepreneurs, and wanted their daughters to be entrepreneurs. There’s a pride in creating and developing and growing their business. I might not see it in Gainesville, but I can think of very few women who would start and create their own business.

 YTF: Any final thoughts you’d like to share with the YTF community?

Shah: It would be helpful to have more university students volunteer their time to YTF. If YTF can do more recruiting at the university level, that will be great. Students are always very well versed in technology and could help when it comes to data crunching, presentations or graphics design. YTF’s story is worth sharing and the experience is life-changing.  

 

Interview with Lina Klemkaite

LinaK_volunteerYTF: How did you hear about YTF, and why did you decide to volunteer your efforts with us?

Klemkaite: I heard about YTF through the UN Online Volunteering website while I was looking for the current online volunteering vacancies and projects. What called my attention and encouraged me to volunteer with YTF was the possibility to apply my skills and knowledge for a meaningful cause. Today’s fast changing society implies new forms of literacy and above all, a basic digital literacy that is one of the keys to inclusion, employability and quality of life. It can be also called one of the key skills needed today, especially when we are dealing with the integration and inclusion of disadvantaged and marginalized communities.

YTF: What does ‘appropriate technology’ mean to you?
 Klemkaite: I believe that any technology, when applied towards educational means and meeting the needs of the target group, is the appropriate one that empowers the communities to bridge social and economic obstacles. In this respect, aiming to detect the most urgent needs of the local community, and thus, to determine the most appropriate technology, YTF has been working in close collaboration with Semilla Fruto Foundation.

YTF: What has been your most rewarding moment during your time as a YTF volunteer?

Klemkaite: For me, probably the most rewarding moment was to see all the photos of the launch of the Soacha Digital Village project, which proved to me that all our little efforts count.  It was indeed a very positive volunteering experience to see how so little effort (in fact, a few hours per week dedicated in front of your laptop) can make a big difference for others, as well as it was a personal learning experience.

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