Volunteer Program Essentials
In countries where AYUDA operates, the organization works together with a “Local Partner” to better help us respond to local needs, design culturally appropriate approaches, and build local capacity. AYUDA’s main form of support for diabetes communities is human resources (i.e., AYUDA volunteers). We also provide limited economic support when necessary. AYUDA works with Local Partners that have transparent operations and clear objectives that are congruent with our philosophy. AYUDA’s current local partners include:
(a) Bermuda: Bermuda Diabetes Association (BDA)
(b) Dominican Republic: Fundación Aprendiendo A Vivir (AAV)
(c) Ecuador: Fundación Diabetes Juvenil Ecuador (FDJE)
2. Leadership Training
a. Volunteer Training Program
Prior to volunteering abroad, AYUDA’s volunteers undergo online training and also meet in Washington, DC to receive intensive training. Focusing on our founding principles of youth leadership and empowerment, the training program builds the foundation for the rest of the AYUDA experience. The topics covered during training - including AYUDA principles, fundraising and social entrepreneurship, cultural training, diabetes education, and leadership building- allow AYUDA to deliver comprehensive support for the youth it serves while building the leaders of tomorrow.
b. Cultural Training Program
Once abroad, AYUDA volunteers undergo an intense cultural orientation program run in conjunction with AYUDA’s Local Partner. Our volunteers live with families who have children with diabetes and are affiliated with the Local Partner. During the home stay, volunteers develop an understanding of what it is like to live with diabetes in the local environment. Host families are also encouraged to actively participate in Local Partner programs.
c. Local Youth Leadership Training & Youth Empowerment
AYUDA supports local projects that emphasize youth-to-youth empowerment as defined by our empowerment model. Once in the host country, the AYUDA volunteer team joins with youth leaders from the Local Partner’s organization to foster leadership, team build, and prepare for the subsequent outreach and camp programs. AYUDA also facilitates local youth leadership workshops.
3. Diabetes Outreach
AYUDA volunteers and local youth leaders divide into small groups and travel to various rural and high-need areas in the host country to observe the reality of diabetes in the community, gain information from the diabetes community and fulfill other objectives as defined by the Local Partner.
4. Local Projects (camps, education seminars, etc.)
AYUDA is dedicated to supporting locally defined diabetes projects that empower young people to live happier and healthier lives with diabetes. Projects include diabetes camps, workshops, parent support groups and leaderships training activities, among others.
5. Program Sustainability
a. Volunteer Earned Income
AYUDA’s programs are primarily funded through an earned income stream from volunteer fundraising. This covers the costs of volunteer participation and subsidizes overall program costs. AYUDA’s financial model is unique because it places an awesome responsibility on its volunteers. We believe the AYUDA volunteer fundraising requirement is a key aspect to ensuring volunteers remain at the center of the organization and offers volunteers the opportunity to learn and use skills such as self motivation, empowerment, fundraising and marketing. Volunteers contribute to the majority of the costs to run AYUDA’s programs and sponsor local diabetes projects.
b. In-kind Donations
Medical supplies and equipment represent a large portion of local program budgets and AYUDA works to ensure Local Partners do not have to pay for such prohibitory costs, which are usually free to diabetes camps in the US.
c. Partnerships & Linkages
AYUDA has worked to establish successful partnerships with a variety of institutions, including international organizations, pharmaceutical companies, diabetes camps and hospitals. These partnerships play an essential role in promoting AYUDA’s programs by recruiting and identifying volunteers, providing in-kind donations of diabetes medical supplies and promoting sustainability of local diabetes projects.