Volunteer Spotlight: Wesley Chua
By Jessica Pang-Parks, Volunteer Coordinator
What would we do without volunteers? All the people that volunteer their time with us at WWF-Canada make so many things possible – from envelope stuffing to event support. Many of the things we do at WWF-Canada would not be possible without them and we love them to bits.
Over the past year, Wesley has contributed to WWF through volunteering with the Donor Relations & Services department. Although Wesley works late hours as a journalist, he makes time to volunteer in our office each Wednesday. He brings his bright personality and incredible attention to detail to helping with our database and outbound mail. Incredibly passionate and dedicated to our cause, he is determined to make a difference. We caught up with Wesley to ask about his volunteer experience at WWF.
Tell us a bit about yourself?
I was always fascinated with nature’s beauty in the Philippines, which is a tropical country surrounded by oceans and mountain ranges from North to South. Although I studied Industrial Engineering and I work as a journalist, I always find ways to support conservation work, such as promoting the use of recycled paper in the office. I also use my capacity as a journalist to write articles that promote environmental awareness.
What made you decide, or inspired you, to volunteer with WWF?
Growing up in the Philippines, I noticed that environmental problems had gone from bad to worse. I saw trees cut down by illegal loggers, the destructive Kaingin system (burning trees for the purpose of cultivation) and an increasingly worrisome flooding problem. The weather was also becoming more extreme with super typhoons. The Philippines have average of 19 typhoons or tropical cyclones every year.
Environmental awareness in the Philippines is low, and people just throw garbage everywhere, which clogs the sewage systems and waterways. When I was a child, WWF had not yet expanded to the Philippines. My first encounter with WWF was through the film “The Amazing Panda Adventure”. Afterwards, I did some internet research about WWF’s work and advocacy. That was when I first dreamed of working with WWF. I had no idea that someday, I would have a chance to work with the friendly individuals and teams at WWF-Canada as a volunteer. I also donated to WWF International after I watched the movie and got my first ever Welcome Kit with a WWF sticker. I keep these memorable items to this day.
What has the experience been like so far?
I’ve gotten to know many wonderful individuals at the WWF office, staff and volunteers alike. Everyone is so nice and friendly, and I feel I am part of the WWF family. I also learned a lot of skills from this volunteer position. I’ve gained skills in operating the mail machines and Raiser’s Edge. My proofreading skills from the newspaper also helped me a lot with my volunteer work.
What is your favourite aspect of being a volunteer?
I got to meet people with different backgrounds and experience. Everyone at WWF has the same overarching goals and objectives: supporting the causes, advocacy, mission and vision of WWF. I also love the relaxed mood in the office. It is quiet and not chaotic, unlike in the newsroom where everyone is rushing to meet deadlines.
What have you learned or gained from volunteering?
I have learned a lot of new skills from volunteering, such as using Raiser’s Edge, which can be useful someday if I shifted career paths to NGO work. I also learned the value of team work, responsibility, accuracy, and gained insight into how an international NGO works.
What advice would you share with others?
My advice is: continue to advocate and fight for better future. As an old Chinese saying reveals: “One generation plants the trees, another gets the shade (前人種樹後人乘涼)”. By sharing your time and experience with WWF, even for just 4 hours a week, you are helping a lot for the betterment of our environment and for future generations.