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The Value of Volunteering

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While in Warsaw for the Research Conference, I had the pleasure to meet with Piotr Plewinski, PMP, yesterday morning. Piotr, who is with the Gdansk Branch of the PMI Poland Chapter, was going to take me to see the summer camp the chapter has run for five years for Polish orphans, a camp where they take classes in English as a second language. Since I have published several articles about this camp in PMI Today, I was very excited to go and these plans were long in the making. Unfortunately (but fortunately for Poland), road projects tied to the Euro 2012 championship to be hosted by Poland and Ukraine interfered with our plans.

It seems that normally it would take about 2 and one-half hours for a fast native Polish driver like Piotr to get from Warsaw to the camp near Gdansk, but he said that unpredicable weekend traffic jams from road construction would probably increase that time to about 5 hours each way--too difficult to make as a one-day round trip.

So Piotr and I chatted in a cafe about the  camp, how much he has seen the program and the orphans grow in the five years the chapter has run it, the great benefit the campers will see from this education (being more able to get high-paying jobs in construction and other fields), and the challenges of running a volunteer project like this for a chapter that just recently completed the conversion to chapter with branches. One challenge involves the departure of the program manager, who is scheduled to have a baby in August.

I am privileged to know people in the PMI world like Piotr who take project management into the social responsibility realm and really make a difference. Now that's a value of project management! 

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