Rural Training Center, Thailand (RTC-Thailand)

Getting Them to Say Y.E.S.

Oct 13, 2006

The RTC-TH wants more people to say Y.E.S. when it comes to supporting community-based environmental education. Y.E.S. stands for Youth, Environment, Sustainability. It is clear that Youth are an important part of our future. The RTC-TH sees the nurturing and education of Youth as a basic part of it mission. Without the Environment, none of us are able to survive. So Environmental education and stewardship are considered fundamental parts of the RTC-TH effort. For the long-run, Sustainability and teaching people sustainable practices are also necessary. So the RTC-TH programs are all directed to Youth, Environment, and Sustainability. To put it simply, we want people to say Y.E.S. to our programs.

RTC-TH volunteers actively recruit other volunteers and supporters. For most organizations, supporters and sponsors focus on money. The RTC-TH tries to make it easy for people to say Y.E.S. to its requests for support. For example, many companies prepare pens, T-shirts, key rings, coffee mugs, etc. bearing their logo. These ?“advertising pieces?” are a business expense and a tax write-off. These types of items make great ?“door prizes?” and incentive rewards for the students in REEEPP.

Donations of children?’s books suitable for K-6 grade would be a great way to support the English language collection for the Ban Na Fa Elementary School library. So would music tapes / CDs of sing-along children?’s songs. The school does have a multi-format Video system, so older VHS children?’s video tapes would also be good donations. These types of materials could be collected from friends, neighbors, or co-workers. If done at your place of employment, make it a community-service activity and photo opportunity. These can be posted to the RTC-TH website and featured in our photo reports and all are additional free publicity for your employer.

The benefit to a company donating these items is ?“free?” advertising. All organizations that say Y.E.S. are listed on the RTC-TH homepage as ?“Supporters.?” During the project many photos are taken. Their company logo items can show up in these photos which appear in PowerPoint presentations, web publications, and RTC-TH documents and reports.

RTC-TH volunteers working for organizations with a newsletter can write and illustrate articles about their participation in REEEPP, or refer the company newsletter editor to the RTC-TH website. Companies gain recognition for letting their employees participate in community and international projects. For faster results, make arrangements to send periodic Internet reports back to your employer. Then your co-workers can follow your progress and share in the excitement of your volunteer work.

The global economy makes it beneficial for students to pave their way to success by documenting international and cross-cultural exposure as well as the ability to function in a culturally diverse setting. RTC-TH projects are an ideal opportunity to gain this type of exposure and experience.

Volunteers are the heart and soul of the RTC-TH. Even the co-founders Saifon and Gregory Lee are essentially volunteers. No one in the RTC-TH gets paid. There are no salaries, stipends, or allowances of any kind. The core operating costs come directly out of the Lees?’ own pocket. ?“That?’s a key reason why we can operate on a shoe-string budget,?” says Gregory. ?“When you are spending your own money, you tend to be more frugal and careful. It is always easier to spend other people?’s money. And besides, this way, whenever we ask volunteers to do things, they can see that we are not asking them to do anything that we ourselves are not doing. I also remember a saying that something paid for or earned is more precious than something gotten for free. That?’s why RTC-TH activities are self-supported, done at cost recovery, or by sweat equity. If people cannot pay with money, we try to find a way to let them pay with their time or effort. But no one in the RTC-TH gets a free ride.?”

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