GreenMind’s social services program has been fuelled by the dedication of the selfless individuals who support us by sharing their time, resources and expertise.
Joel is one of the longest serving volunteers of GreenMinds and is the go-to-person for all the organization’s transportation needs. At 41, Joel is the father of five and is a driver by profession.
In 2005, Joel first encountered GreenMinds when he met Rey in Caffinormin (Chamber of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food Industries of Northern Mindanao). Joel, who was then an employee of the provincial government of Misamis Oriental, also moonlighted as the maintenance man of Caffinormin’s refrigerated van while Rey worked as a Peanut Officer. Being as hardworking as he was, Joel also drove a public utility jeep in his free time to augment the family income. It was this jeep that GreenMinds contracted for their tree-growing project, Punong-puno ng Puno. For this project, he was tasked to transport volunteers and equipment to Talakag, Bukidnon. That was when his love affair with GreenMinds started and that relationship strengthened as Joel continued to volunteer for different activities and events.
The strength of this relationship was tested when in 2007, Joel was hired as driver for the Australian-funded Act for Peace program and was based in Butuan City. Although the distance prevented him from physically volunteering for GreenMinds, it did not stop Joel from serving them as the contact for their vehicle requirements.
In 2011, Joel returned to Cagayan de Oro and resumed his “assignment” as GreenMInds’ transportation czar where he was tasked to haul equipment, materials and medicine, and transport people. He also assisted in food preparation and functioned as logistical support during activities.
Asked why he continues to volunteer for GreenMinds, Joel says he believes in what the organization does and he gets a sense of fulfilment doing so. He also shares their determination to reach and serve the marginalized communities in the hinterlands of Mindanao where very few dare to go. According to Joel, volunteering with GreenMinds is his way of “paying it forward”. Aside from these, volunteering with GreenMinds, allowed him to closely work with the “lumads” and this developed his respect for their culture and traditions.