Andrea Scheepers-Vlug on her volunteer work
Just a few hours a week – it’s perfectly doable!
Andrea Scheepers-Vlug’s list of volunteer activities would sound exhausting to many people, but she has a natural desire to help others. Do you too? Here’s some inspiration!
Andrea: “I occasionally find myself thinking I must be crazy to do so much, but at the end of the day volunteering only takes up a few hours a week.” Andrea’s ‘career’ as a volunteer began in her hometown of Beemster in the Wereldtuin (‘World Garden’): a community project bringing together women from different countries and cultures to grow vegetables, cook, eat and do handicrafts. “I initially managed the website, and then later I joined the committee. I’ve been involved with the project for eight years now and it’s a great group of people.”
Additionally, as part of the Schuldhulpmaatje project, Andrea helps people to take control of their finances. “I’m very interested in personal finance and enjoy helping people with that. One of the people I’m supporting is currently in the debt restructuring process. We have a very special bond. In fact, I even accompanied her to a court hearing, so it’s a learning experience for me as well.”
Andrea also learns from her role in Kletsmaatje, which is a project that enables new arrivals in the Netherlands to practice their Dutch. “Every week, I spend an hour on the phone with a young Turkish woman and also with a Syrian man – and I’ve been calling him every week for a year now! I love languages plus I’m interested in finding out about other cultures. And it’s easy to fit in an hour a week. I can phone them from anywhere, and we call using WhatsApp so it doesn’t cost anything either.”
Moreover, through thePresent charity, Andrea held videocalls last year with elderly people in nursing homes to help combat loneliness. “I read them stories or just chatted with them. I really enjoyed those conversations and we sometimes unexpectedly discovered common interests, such as a shared love of Eastern Europe. A call like that can put a big smile on my face for the whole day.”
Besides lots of new contacts and positive energy, her voluntary work has given Andrea something else: a husband! “I met my husband when we were both volunteers on a trip for young people with physical disabilities. We fell in love… and we’ve now been married for 18 years and have two sons.”
Andrea is an Ops Engineer in the MCO squad at TECH GS Risk/COO Compliance Risk & Process.