By Isabella Trouw, Development and Communications Intern, September 2016
My VE Global Orientation Experience
From the very first day, I was impressed with VE Global’s two-week orientation process. Their commitment to developing their newest team members through transparency, honesty, availability and open conversation made me feel immediately comfortable. The office atmosphere reflects these values, as it is located within a seven-story building ‘Hub’ that houses exclusively non-profit organizations. This building features modern, open workspaces with glass walls to facilitate collaboration between teams.
Our Executive Director Mercedes Henderson opened our orientation with a breakdown of annual income and expenses, list of major donor partners, and numbers…lots of numbers. (How many children we serve, how many volunteers we recruit and train, the scope of influence, and more). Although this isn’t my first time working in the nonprofit world, it is my first time in South America. I have a lot to learn not only about how social programs operate here, but how VE Global operates within this particular sphere.
Not only did we get a blast of business-operations information, we also received lessons from healthcare providers (health and safety -especially earthquake- in Santiago), psychological counselors (emotional wellbeing and culture shock in a foreign country), a midwife (sexual, reproductive health and rights in Chile), education professionals (working with difficult children at social risk), and even a lecture from a Chilean History Master’s student on Allende, Pinochet, the war for Bolivian land, political parties (Socialista, PPD, Partida Comunista, Partido Liberal…there are 32!), and more. We even took a field trip to Parque por la Paz, a site that held and tortured over 4,000 political prisoners during Chile’s last dictatorship.
That isn’t to say that we didn’t have a ton a fun during this process: Flic Jeyes, the Program Director, sent us on a thrilling city-wide scavenger hunt; we ate delicious Chilean food that was provided for lunch and snacks; created a ton of amazing memories while sharing a hostel room with all the other new volunteers; laughed at the ‘Chilenismos’ (slang words) we were taught…and much more!
It will take me a while to process all this information (in both Spanish and English!), but I am very grateful to have so many resources available to me. Thanks to a very comprehensive orientation, I feel ready to take on a new city, language, culture, job and exciting experiences. Gracias VE Global!