Volunteering: how women can pay it forward

by Apr 7, 2014

Volunteering is a way professional women can pay it forward

Volunteering is a way professional women can pay it forward

A pair of shoes to a gift of love

Volunteering to help with a Christmas project three years ago has developed into an incredible opportunity for me. Samaritans Purse’s Operation Christmas Child was set up ten years ago by a couple who had seen such traumatic pictures of orphanages in Romania they felt they had to do something to help. Their project has now developed into a worldwide organisation, which last year saw 9,950,000 shoeboxes filled with gifts sent to countries in need.

I opened a processing warehouse in my home town, bringing together a team of volunteers we worked locally to collect, process and pack shoeboxes filled with gifts from donors in the surrounding area. When I was asked if our team would like to visit a country in need, and distribute the shoeboxes to the children personally, it was an opportunity I could not miss!


I thought heading out to Belarus to hand out shoeboxes filled with gifts for children in poverty would  break my heart. I had expected to see sadness and desperation on the children’s faces when we visited the orphanages, schools and hospitals. What I didn’t expect was to feel so blessed by these children and the experience they gave me. I was proud to be part of something so special which is Operation Christmas Child.

Our purpose was to try to show the children of Belarus that they are not forgotten and are loved. Every shoebox handed out we hope and pray did this job. We met so many children during our few days and each story was different. The  orphans, all living together at their school were desperately waiting for us to arrive.  Most were shy about receiving their gift, many taking time to open their box, wanting to hold on to the anticipation. In some cases this was the only gift they had ever received.

Unexpected rewards of volunteering

The children’s delight was infectious. It was obvious they didn’t feel any sadness about what they did not have. We felt excited, thrilled and blessed that we shared their maybe once in their lifetime moment with them. You could see them wondering “Will the shoebox have a toy to play with, some sweets, a warm hat or gloves, maybe a toothbrush I don’t have to share, or some pens and paper that is all my own, a cuddly toy I can hold at night, surely not all these things?”  Oh yes, all those things and more are in these shoeboxes.

Coming home to the UK and seeing my children with all that they have,  didn’t make me feel guilty. It made me make sure they know how much they are loved. We must be careful not to get caught up in what we think we need,  but to appreciate exactly what we have achieved. Moving forward, I am more determined than ever to let everyone I know how a shoebox of gifts can make such a difference to a child’s life and well-being.

Volunteering is a wonderful way for all professional  and fortunate women who are so blessed to pay it forward. Contact me if you would like to like to find out more about the charity  Operation Christmas Child 

Nicola Jesse Administrator
Nicola Jesse is Administration Manager for 3Plus International. She also works Independently as a Virtual Assistant and Executive Administrator which includes managing Social Media Profiles, Event Management, Business Support and Company Administration.
follow me

Found that interesting?
Learn more about our services for building inclusive workplaces

Found that interesting?
Learn more about our services for building inclusive workplaces

Individual services

Only 50% of women create a career strategy. Make sure you are on the right side of that equation to reach your potential

Corporate services

“Inclusion is not a matter of political correctness. It is the key to growth.” — Jesse Jackson

Upcoming events


📢New program: How to create inclusive job postings

In today's rapidly evolving world, it's essential for organisations to embrace diversity and inclusion. Organisations unconsciously communicate their company cultures and values in everything they do including their job postings. These can either attract or repel talent from a diverse range of backgrounds.

A crucial step in this process is ensuring that your job postings reflect these values. Our training program will equip you with the knowledge and skills to craft job descriptions that attract candidates from all backgrounds, eliminating bias and fostering an inclusive hiring process.


create inclusive job postings

Full programme details HERE


📢New Programme available with 3Plus International

“If you have a brain you have a bias” and nowhere is this more apparent than in our hiring processes.

The ‘How to Mitigate Bias in the Recruitment Process’ programme is designed to convey the serious nature of bias in the recruitment process with a focus on gender bias and the way it impacts both businesses and organisations, but in a way that is thought-provoking and engaging.



Full programme details HERE

Dates for the Diary


Trauma Informed Coaching Certification course April - May 2024

25th  April: Corporate Training  - Build your Personal Board of Directors

23rd May:  Corporate Training: Making the accepted unacceptable: challenging ordinary sexism in the Workplace

31st May:  Corporate Training  - Build your Personal Board of Directors

11th June: Corporate Training  - Build your Personal Board of Directors

14th June:  Corporate Training How to Handle Everyday Sexism

Download and listen free podcasts

Latest Podcasts

Related articles

The Glass Escalator

The Glass Escalator

Men are berated for lowering themselves to do women’s work  However, the glass escalator works well for men who rise to leadership positions and obtain disproportionately higher pay than women.

read more