Vee are the People: Meet Shiran Nissan
Matan Buganim
December 18, 2020

In recent years, she has volunteered nonstop: at the Jewish Agency with children that made aliyah, at "In the heart 24/7" with youth in prostitution, at "Makom Hacher" - an at-risk youth hostel, at "Sunrise" - an organization for children with cancer, and now she's part of the marketing department of "Big Brothers."

This week we dive into a conversation with Shiran Nissan - "The Princess of Volunteering."

What brought you to volunteering?

"When I was little, I would continuously go with my parents to volunteer. At 16, my friends and I started collecting left-over food after events for donation. It was a great pastime in the evening when we would go distribute the food. It gave us a good feeling.

Volunteering is a win-win situation. It's beneficial for both sides: breaking the routine by being less self-focused with work and school, and seeing the direct impact you make on your environment."

Where are you volunteering today?

"I'm in the marketing department of "Big Brothers," we are not very known, so our goal at the moment is to be exposed to children as much as possible. The fastest way to reach children is through Instagram stories and celebrities, so I contact them, and we do all kinds of collaborations and live events. After every event, kids turn to us and want big brothers and sisters - it's incredible."

Why did you choose to volunteer there?

"Before "Big Brothers," I worked at an at-risk youth hostel for a few years.  It was intense and close to all the action. After I ended my volunteering there, I truly missed it. A good friend volunteered in "Big Brothers" and told me what it was about. It's a hot topic, now it's the peak of cyberbullying, with all the TikTok, Instagram, and all the social networks. Everyone knows it, but when I got into it and was exposed to it more, I realized how crazy it is.

For me personally, it's nice to take a step back and be behind the scenes. It's a place where we can be open-minded, super creative, and go a little crazy and think of ideas. The association is encouraging us all the way."

What do you like about your role?

"I love that we harness people to our cause. When they hear about the association and say, "wow, sure, whatever you need, we are with you." it's a sense of satisfaction. Every "we are with you" equals more children we will be able to connect to.

I really believe in what the association does, so it's easy to convince the people I want to donate from their time. What we ask is so small compared to the impact it makes.

Last year we did a ninja event in Tel Aviv with ninja facilities and famous ninja icons. We invited children and their parents to promote the parents' awareness, another aspect we are targeting.

Kids Under the age of 18 need their parents' consent, so it's the association's goal to encourage them to share with their parents. It's not always the easiest. Parents, too, need to be aware of what is happening, support their children and talk with them about it."

What are the challenges of volunteering?

"There is always more to do, and there is always a lot to do. There are so many directions, but in the end, it's volunteering, and the hours are limited. Sometimes it sucks, but we can't do everything. There is the desire but not the resources or time to do it all."

Do you have any tips for people who want to start volunteering?

"First of all, don't force yourself.  

Look for volunteer work that doesn't feel like a job. The people who volunteer with you are also super important. A good atmosphere helps to push each other forward, to excite one another. In the end, if it feels good inside, it works.

The most important thing is to understand what your abilities are and how you can contribute. It doesn't matter if you have ten hours a week or an hour a week. Whatever you can - will make a difference.

And take the time to find the right place for you. There are unlimited possibilities, of course. I didn't get to volunteer with animals or the elderly. You need to find your niche."

How do you attract people to volunteer?

"I like getting into conversations about volunteering. It's always a cool small talk topic. It opens a door for people. They get excited about it and ask how they can help and contribute. It's a matter of awareness. You pass it on."

Share it with others

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