All of these days went in a flash and I was already on the final day of the conference. The last day didn’t have many sessions. I had enrolled for one in the morning before the closing plenary. It was sad that we’ll all be signing off this day. My friend dropped me at the venue. As usual, after grabbing cup of coffee I walked into the session. The session was on Fast Track Impact on fund raising and we had 3 panellists from Handson Network who did the session. It was largely interactive and the panellists shared their learnings from over a decade on how to do effective fundraising. The presented it very interestingly in asking us to list out ourselves on various levels at which we were standing with respect to volunteer engagement, communication and corporate reach out. Based on our assessments we had discussions over the table to share and learn our experiences. The session was from 8.30 to 10.00 and then we all moved to the closing plenary.
The closing plenary was planned over a theme of creative activism where we had Emmy award winner Lynn Whitefield reciting a poem of Maya Angelou. The closing planery was also planned over sharing of inspiring stories and it was really moving to see an 8 year old boy Myles Eckert, who lost his father in Iraq, gave a $20 bill he found to a soldier dining receive the Daily Points of Light award. Then Grammy award winner Kristian Bush performed and sang us a song to inspire us!. We then heard Academy Award winner Mira Sorvino sharing her story of activism on issues related to child trafficking!.
Finally Neil Bush and Tracy Hoover from Points of Light came up to Thank every single member who participated in the conference over 3 days and enriched everyone’s learnings!. It was time to bid adieu to many and a tough time to part!. I had made some good friends in the last 3 days and have learned and shared so much with many. I’ll be carrying back all the learnings and try to implement them when I get back home. Really touching moments to part away. I must admit that in the last 3 days, I’ve forgot everything else and was so much engrossed into volunteering and thoughts around that!. I had forgot to call back home and inform my whereabouts, I had forgot that I had to take photos 😛 for memories. I ran around and took some later. I had forgot to go around the city of Atlanta and do sight seeing!. That is the intensity we had around us. 6000 of us!
The organizers had put together a festival which celebrated volunteerism. It was much of a family gathering. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Post lunch the organizers had planned for a bus tour to certain places and unfortunately I was waitlisted by the time I had registered. So I couldn’t join any of the tour. I then finally decided to go around the Georgia Aquarium as it is one of the world’s largest Acquarium. I really enjoyed visiting the same and I must admit that it gives you a real experience of interacting with every single ocean species available in the earth. They had a dolphin show which was mind blowing!. I had only 3 hours to spend and I had to push of myself soon as I had a flight to Austin in the evening. I’ll now be travelling to different cities in the US and meet AID volunteers there and share learnings with them!
I’d like to thank the iVolunteer team who had been of great help throughout my travel for their guidance and timely support. Special Thanks to Vinelle who had been so patient in hearing me and sorting out things as quick as possible and helping me out throughout the process!.