Over the last few years, I have discovered that one of my favourite things to do in my free time is volunteer. I have volunteered for many different organisations and carried out a variety of roles and activities. It feels like a natural part of life to me and I sometimes forget that there are many people who don’t have experience with volunteer work.
The most important part about volunteering is that we’re doing it to create a positive impact where we volunteer. Unfortunately, many people don’t have easy access to information about places to volunteer. Luckily, Simone Brown invented 876 Volunteer to solve this problem.
Recently, I had the opportunity to engage the altruistic Immaculate Conception High School alumna. While conversing, I could not help myself from admiring her selflessness and love for her country. A firm believer of doing what you’re passionate about, Simone glowed while talking about her love for volunteerism. Not only did she fuel my flame for volunteering, but she also gave me sound advice and tips on how to successfully manage my time and extra-activities.
Like many of us, Simone grew up in church. She was also an active member of her Youth Auxillary. Her Saturday evenings were spent volunteering with friends and family until she left Jamaica for University at 18. She returned to Jamaica after graduation but remigrated four years later. As a daughter of the diaspora, the longer she stayed away, was the more she questioned her Jamaican authenticity. Being miserable oversaeas and feeling incomplete each time she visited ‘the rock’, she felt the need to do more. Reconnecting with her love for volunteerism, she tried to fuel her spark within each visit. This wasn’t an easy feat as she had no stable connections in Jamaica:
The Birth of 876Volunteer
Regardless of having the drive and passion for volunteering, she had difficulties finding information. She took on the task of becoming Jamaica’s first and only Volunteer Promoter. Becoming the bridge between the diaspora and Jamaica, she registered 876 Volunteer. Comparing it to the Yellow Pages, the company centralises information for Jamaicans at home and abroad.
Like the Messiah, 876 Volunteer has been a saviour for many charitable organizations. The Social Movement connects good hearts to good causes. Many times members of the diaspora visit Jamaica with hopes of volunteering but they are unable to locate the places to do so. This results in them returning home with their priceless skills and knowledge. Also, some organizations which are underfunded lack the resources to provide proper customer service. Simone operates as their voice in order to stop the haemorrhage of resources.
Staff of One
The nonprofit organization has been operated solely by Simone since its inception in 2018. She is the ‘head cook and bottle washer’ as she is not only the CEO but she’s also the planning committee, social media manager, and secretary among other things:
When asked how she manages to fund all her tasks, she simply laughed and said: “from my savings and debt”. 876 Volunteer is currently self-funded but has a strong support system. She relies on the support from her ambassadors and Jamaicans at large to create the domino effect for volunteerism.
Join the 876 Volunteer Team
Volunteering is both fun and rewarding. “We don’t need money, formal education or even a skill to give back. If we have those resources and share them – it’s a plus. But Every. Single. Solitary. Person. has something to offer that can enrich the life of another.” Join Simone in making Volunteering go Viral so we can build a STRONGER JAMAICA.