The leadership development training that the Volunteer Training Program provides is focused on the following five areas:
AYUDA Background & Guiding Principles
Volunteers learn about AYUDA’s mission, objectives, philosophy, and history, as well as about the our diverse volunteer programs and opportunities.
Team-building & Mentorship
Volunteers strengthen their team bonds, get to know each other, and prepare to work effectively as a team. They prepare for their roles of mentorship in the variety of contexts that they will encounter in their respective program.
Fundraising & Social Entrepreneurship
Volunteers learn to be effective advocates and fundraisers by practicing articulating AYUDA’s mission and describing their program. Additionally, they collect fundraising strategies and materials as they share best practices and technological tools.
Foundations in Diabetes Management
Volunteers learn the fundamentals of diabetes management, train in hands-on, peer-based practicum sessions, practice medical Spanish communication, explore the psycho-social issues surrounding diabetes, and practice the diabetes lifestyle.
Specific Country Program Training
Volunteers learn about their program’s history and needs, their host country culture, prepare outreach strategies, and discuss safety issues.
Volunteer Training Program E-Course
Online training enables AYUDA to better prepare volunteers for their experiences abroad and enhance long-term sustainability at the local level. Since AYUDA’s volunteers live, work, and study across much of the U.S. and other parts of the world, it is logical to provide an online training platform. The E-course not only allows AYUDA to engage volunteers immediately after their acceptance but also supports them in creating a comprehensive fundraising strategy. Volunteers are able to connect and bond with fellow volunteers as they share ideas and learn about the realities of living with diabetes in the communities they will be serving.
The course includes:
A mix of website and social media platforms that enable volunteers to connect with one another and prepare volunteers for their experience abroad
Weekly online group training sessions/conference calls
Practical training/preparation (i.e., how to set up an online fundraising page, etc.)
Support/coordination for in-person training programs in Stanford, CA and in-country
This weekend-long training session in Stanford, CA offers the opportunity to unite all volunteers, volunteer mentors, AYUDA staff, representatives from local partner organizations, and other AYUDA stakeholders and facilitators. The program includes group social activities, skill- and team-building activities, as well as didactic presentations from AYUDA local partners and experts in diabetes, youth leadership, and social entrepreneurship.
Volunteer Training Program Summit
Volunteer Development & Integration
Volunteers are at the center of AYUDA. We believe in investing in their professional development and encouraging long-term involvement in our organization. To do this, we provide leadership positions for experienced volunteers to increase volunteer retention and integrate volunteers into the program planning process.
The Volunteer Path
1. As mentioned above, AYUDA volunteers gain skills through training and practical experience. Youth Volunteers include high school, university/college, and graduate students, as well as young professionals, and have defined roles based on the volunteer program. Healthcare Professional Volunteers are doctors, certified diabetes educators, or nurses who provide healthcare knowledge and assistance for all volunteers and outreach programs in cooperation with AYUDA and Local Partners.
2. Experienced volunteers are returning AYUDA Volunteers who provide guidance and supervision to new volunteers and take on some additional leadership roles.
3. Volunteer Mentors (with 2 or more years of AYUDA experience) and Volunteer Mentors-in-Training (with 1 year of AYUDA experience) are experienced AYUDA volunteers who are self-motivated and passionate about the mission of AYUDA and are looking to take on additional leadership roles within the organization. Volunteer Mentors play an integral role in shaping the AYUDA team from volunteer recruitment and selection to training and retention. Volunteer Mentors also collaborate with AYUDA Local Partners by participating in the planning, implementation, and evaluation of local diabetes projects. Volunteer Mentors report directly to the Program Leader and AYUDA staff.
4. Program Leaders are AYUDA volunteers that have been involved with AYUDA for multiple programs (at least 2) and have demonstrated increased leadership, responsibility, and accountability. Program Leaders will work closely with AYUDA leadership team and Local Partners in order to provide a meaningful in-country experience for volunteers and to effectuate AYUDA’s mission. While Program Leaders will have support from staff and Volunteer Mentors, they will be sharing the full responsibility for all aspects of the in-country portion of AYUDA’s programs with the staff members who will be in-country including scheduling, volunteer management, and necessary training.
Frequently asked questions: fundraising and training
Why do I need to fundraise to participate in an AYUDA program?
The AYUDA volunteer experience consists of much more than the life-changing experiences you will have in-country. Your learning and training spans at least four months prior to your arrival abroad. From the minute you are accepted, you will connect with the other members of your volunteer team and receive training and support in various topics from diabetes 101 to fundraising. All of this information and training will be turned into real-life hands-on experiences that will last far beyond your time on your program. Together, we will help you build skills to ensure the time you do spend in-country is impactful and, furthermore, help empower you to become an effective advocate and leader.
Prior to your in-country experience, new volunteers will meet for three days in Stanford, CA, along with the Volunteer Mentors, AYUDA staff and Board Members, and our local partners. Your fundraising will help to cover accommodation costs and other expenses during these three days. Since it would be impossible to try to pack everything into just three days, the program in Stanford will be a recap of the knowledge you have already been obtaining via electronic learning and, most importantly, an opportunity to meet your fellow volunteers and members of the extended AYUDA family.
We believe that our volunteers are at the center of everything we do. The money each volunteer fundraises helps to pay for the overall costs of the program as well as your in-country costs. Your fundraising is critical to AYUDA - without you AYUDA wouldn’t be able to run its programs.
We want you to enjoy this experience and we don’t want you to have to pay for the experience out of pocket.
But wouldn’t it be better to have more volunteers raising a little less per head so that everyone wins?
Unfortunately not – since everyone wouldn’t win. Our objective is to ensure long-term sustainability at the local level by continuing to put the needs of the local communities first and offering effective support to our local partner organizations. Our local partners lead the programs and we provide support – not the other way around. AYUDA and our partners agree on the number of volunteers they think they need in order to effectively run the local programs. We then split the costs.
In addition, by keeping the number of volunteers low, each individual volunteer is valued for their experience and what they bring to the team. Your impact will be more tangible and we will be able to ensure that the time you spend in-country is meaningful (it won’t be a group tour!). Fewer volunteers means your interaction with our local partners and the communities they serve is more personal and profound.
Why aren't flights included in my fundraising total? Can’t AYUDA just pay with the money I fundraise?
Your pre-program total does not cover your travel (either flights or otherwise) to the VTP Summit in March or to your in-country program in the summer. You are responsible both for the booking and payment of your own travel. However, we do offer the option of you fundraising for your travel costs (up to $1000) once you have reached your pre-program fundraising goal. We will provide travel reimbursements in November - once you have reached your post-program fundraising target.
Why don't we book travel for our volunteers you might ask? We have limited resources (both financial and human) and currently have just two employees. If AYUDA were to have its staff book and organize the flights for all twenty volunteers, their time would be taken away from volunteer recruitment, training, and program planning. This is something we can’t afford to do since, like most non-profits, we are already understaffed. Plus, since AYUDA is a small organization, it is more efficient for us to refund you post-program. Furthermore, if AYUDA purchased the flights we would have to wait until all the fundraising targets were met. This, in turn, would force us to purchase flights in a mad rush only a few weeks prior to departure, typically meaning less flight availability and higher costs (and less efficient spending).
As soon as you are accepted onto a program in February, we would encourage you to book flights immediately in order to get the best dates, times, and prices.
How do I ensure I get refunded for the flights?
We want to help you get refunded as it will mean you will have completed all the requirements and targets. The goal is not to make the process confusing. If there is a requirement you haven’t completed, we’ll let you know and once it’s complete, we will happily send you the reimbursement.
Why do I have to fundraise post-program?
We believe that one of the easiest ways to engage your supporters is immediately after you return from your in-country experience. After the program, you will both be able to describe first-hand the experiences you’ve had and also be able to better articulate the impact that AYUDA is having on the ground in conjunction with our local partners. It is not only important for AYUDA that you thank those individuals who have already invested in you but also that you are able to further engage supporters to assist in AYUDA’s own sustainability. We hope that the energy and drive with which you will return home will inspire, motivate, and encourage others to engage with AYUDA.