Friends of Max – Chennai Chapter October 7th 2007

Oct 11 2007
Volunteer Training Workshop – Reported by: Sriram Ranganathan

{mosimage} There was great enthusiasm among the Chennai Friends of Max, when the Volunteer Training Workshop was planned on the 7 Oct. It was a bright sunny (Sunday) morning when we met at the St. Louis School for the Deaf and Blind, near the Adyar Cancer Institute.
• Viji
• Vedamuthu, Celine and their son Joe Anthony
• Sasi and his brother Nags
• Yogesh
• Kannan
• Damodar Reddy
• Raghavan
• Varshini’s father, Mr Chinnadurai
• K Sivaraman
• Ashwathaman and his father Mr Sivaraman
• Saravanan and his son Santosh
• Sriram, Supraja and Jaya -amma
• Shoba and Bhaskaran
• Vijaykumar, Bhanumati and their twins Tarun and Roshan
• Kalaiselvi from Adyar cancer Institute
• Dr.Revathy Raj from Apollo Speciality Hospital
• Dr.Rejiv and his wife Dr Arati from Adyar.

We gathered around nine in the morning. Nags (Sasi’s brother), did the enrollment for the day, managing the Registration and collected the contact details. After some interaction among the group, we planned to celebrate Max’s Birthday by cutting the cake. It was a picture perfect moment with the children of Vijaykumar and Vedamuthu cutting the cake. In fact Joe Anthony actually shares the birth date of Max !!! After that followed some tea and snacks and we were ready for the workshop.

There was an introductory session in which each member of the group was asked to spend a few minutes with his or her partner of the day ( put together by matching the playing card each one of us received in our training kit) and introduce that person to the whole group. In this manner we all got to know each other better and it was a REAL Ice Breaker. This was followed by an informal talk by Brother Joseph who runs the St. Louis Institute. He was sweet enough to give us the place to meet and have the full day workshop.

Viji started with her presentation (very interactive)on TMF, FOM and the concept of Voluntarism. This was followed by the first group activity. The subject was “Why do we Volunteer?” Each of the groups came forward with very natural and real points which were discussed in the forum. While the team leader from each group led the discussion , all the participants took part in the brainstorming session and came up with the most popularly accepted points.

By the time we finished the first session it was afternoon and time for the lunch break. Lunch was going to be extra special that day. Dr.Revathy from Apollo and Dr.Rajiv and his wife from the Adyar Cancer Institute joined us. We had planned to celebrate Max’s birthday by arranging and having lunch with the inmates of the School, around 350 in number. I must say though they are physically challenged, they are a wonderful example to all of us with their positive energy, cheerful spirits, smart demeanour and zest for life. They walked all the way from the third floor of the hostel, went and washed their plates and came over to the dining area. All this without the stick that would facilitate them to walk. After serving these inmates, amidst much fun and laughter, singing and joking , we had our lunch. For all of us this was the highlight of the day.

The afternoon session saw two more interactive work shop sessions / group activities – “Coping with the Diagnosis” and “Basic Communication Skills for a Volunteer”. The same enthusiasm was shown by each of the members in sharing their feelings in spite of the lip smacking simple but delicious lunch. The session was conducted in a mixture of Tamil and English but I should mention that language was never a barrier in any of the sessions as it was the emotion/empathy that people shared for each other took precedence.

This was followed by tea and snacks again. Viji then updated the group about the Bangalore All India meet that is being held on the 26 of January. Soon after this the volunteers came with ideas about what they would want to be doing as actions out of this meeting.