Considering a volunteer service program in Portugal?
Chances are, your Portugal volunteer team leader will be Mr. Joe Testa! Joe Testa has over 50 volunteer team leader experiences under his belt. He says he really enjoys doing what he does for a lot of reasons. He likes that it provides him the opportunity to experience parts of the world that he otherwise might not visit. He also likes getting to know the people and the cultures in the communities he serves. “In a short period of time I make quite a few friends, ” he said. “Under normal circumstances it would take me quite a bit longer to do that.”
Joe is quick to add that another benefit of participating on a Global Volunteers’ team is getting to know the team members. “I think we’re a unique group of people who care about what’s going on in the world and who try to contribute as best as we can, ” he said. “We’re in a feel-good business. When you finish a program, you feel good about the fact that you’ve given up your time and expertise to help someone in need. That is a very good feeling.”
Although Joe says all his teams have been good ones, one sticks out in his mind. “I led a team of volunteers to Vietnam, ” he said. “At the end of our program we were invited to attend a final celebration. We were in a van, so we couldn’t see much along the way, but when we stepped out, we were amazed. There was a path of students, teachers and other school staff that were lined up to let us know how grateful they were for what we had done. We were overwhelmed by the number of people who wanted to thank us. It was pretty incredible. Sometimes we might think we’re not doing that much, but in the eyes of the people in the community it’s a lot more than we realized.”
Joe acknowledges that he and his teams have contributed quite a bit over the years, but says there’s so much more to be done. “What we do speaks well for our country and it empowers other people to improve their lifestyle, ” he said. “What we do works, and it works well. But we will always need more volunteers because the need is greater than what we can supply. I’m sure we there are many other locations we could help, if we had more volunteers.”
Joe’s advice to a volunteer on how to get the most out of a Global Volunteers program is often stated by team leaders. “Have an open mind and be flexible, ” he said. “Always expect the unexpected. Don’t be quick to evaluate. Take it all in, and think about it, and make your decision about your experience after you get home.”
When not leading volunteer teams, Joe lives in Canandaigua (The Chosen Place), New York. He is an avid runner who participates in marathons and triathlons. He also likes skiing, boating and an occasional game of golf.
What Our Volunteers Say About Joe
“Joe was wonderful! He added so much to the trip! Much of my enjoyment of the experience related to his upbeat attitude. He was efficient, fun, funny, flexible and a wonderful leader.”
~ Lynn Winters Gross, Mexico Volunteer
“Joe is awesome! He doesn’t make himself seem like he can’t do any of the work because he’s the leader. He gets right in there and helps like one of the team members. I know some of us team members were tough on him and he would just laugh and smile and joke right back with us. He is a wonderful team person and an awesome team leader — he did everything he needed to, and more.”
~ Bridget Shanahan, USA Volunteer
“Joe Testa is an excellent team leader. He is enthusiastic, keeps everyone informed, consults regularly with the team and is not afraid to make decisions.”
~ Judith Ebert, Mexico Volunteer