Volunteer Snapshot: Chris Szabo – Volunteer Card

Volunteer Snapshot: Chris Szabo

Volunteer Snapshot: Chris Szabo

Volunteer Snapshot: Chris Szabo

There are few greater joys than hearing updates from our members. We met cardholder, Chris, just before he embarked on his volunteer journey which took him all over the US.

We had a Q&A session with Chris where we learned all about his passion for volunteer work, how he got involved with volunteerism, and some of his best volunteer travel moments. Read on to hear about his incredible journey.

The Interview

IVC: Chris, tell us a bit about the organization that you volunteer with and why you are so passionate about them.

Chris: I am a volunteer with Invisible Children. IC is a global movement and community of people bent on creating a better and just world and actively engaging in it. The people in this organization, whether in the IC Offices or across the country have such amazing big hearts, and I’m grateful to be a part of this community and movement. They have a set value for every single human, and they treat everyone with respect and honor. Not one person is unapproachable or better than everyone else. The values they hold and the mission they pursue is so filling.

IVC: Your volunteer position is a bit different than what someone may normally associate with ‘volunteer work’. Can you tell us more about what you do for Invisible Children?

Chris: My position with Invisible Children was a Roadie. A roadie is someone who travels to schools, universities, community centers, and places of worship all across the US to tell about the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) conflict and inform people of how they can help end it. Our tour had five different teams in five different regions with 3-4 people per team. Each team has one Ugandan Roadie who has been directly affected by the LRA conflict, and they share their experience at each presentation we do.

IVC: Wow! That’s a very committed position. How did you get involved with volunteerism?

Chris: In college, I took a course in Sociology that transformed my views on the world and opened my eyes to injustices around me. I knew I not only had to do something, but that I could do something. So I began to meet people who lived on the streets downtown, I started petitions to stop budget cuts to my school, I held fundraisers for the Japan Earthquake & TOMS shoes, and I visited Haiti twice to help teach & build mosquito nets for an orphanage we work with.

IVC: It sounds like you’ve adopted a ‘volunteerism lifestyle’ which has probably offered you many unique experiences. What are some of the most unforgettable moments you’ve had as a volunteer?

Chris: Some of the most unforgettable ones would definitely be during my time with Invisible Children. I got to travel across half of the country and speak to over 10,000 students about changing the world and stopping a conflict in Africa. I got to meet principals and teachers who instill such a spirit of betterment in their students that it makes me want to be able to do that in my daily work. I’ve met girls and boys with cancer that’d give their last penny and breath to help stop this conflict. Being a volunteer has been a truly humbling experience. To give of one’s self is to redeem the world.

IVC: That’s a great statement. And of course, as you experience these things you learn life lessons. Can you tell us about one major lesson you’ve learned as a volunteer?

Chris: [I’ve learned] that we can make a difference, in our own lives and in the lives of others. We have the capability to make the world a better place or a worse place, and we are always given the choices to do such.

IVC: That’s a life lesson that won’t fade soon, but it could be a hard one to learn. What would you say to someone who is just starting out on their volunteer travel journey?

Chris: Have a great attitude. A great attitude will make unpleasant situations that much easier. And love what you’re doing. Enjoy the moments as often as you can.

IVC: I’d say that’s a key to life, wouldn’t you? Now, of course we have to ask; What are some volunteer travel essentials that always make it into your bag?

Chris: Journal, thermos, pens, paper, wallet, sleeping bag, clothes, phone & charger, camera & charger, laptop & charger, and toiletries! Easy!

IVC: Thanks for talking with us, Chris! We look forward to hearing many more stories from your volunteer journey!