Lori Tsuruda – People Making a Difference
We inaugurate Communiti Heroes with the inspiring story of Lori Tsuruda, the founder of People Making a Difference, a Boston based non profit who, where the main idea is that everyone has it in them to make a difference in this world.
Lori is a graduate from MIT, and she has made helping others the driving force behind her life. A selfless individual, who believes that humans can transform the world for the better, if all of us decide to dedicate just one to two days in a year to community service. Stemming from such a simple idea, it is a powerful ideology that holds the potential to change the world the way it is. We had the chance to sit down with Lori for a candid chat about herself, the community, helping others and how we all hold this power to change the world inside us.
Communiti (C) : What is the current scenario with respect to volunteers and charity/social organizations?
Lori Tsuruda (L): Well, we basically have people who want to help out in their community, but they do not have the proper connections to get started. And then we have local charities, most of which do not have their own volunteer programs, and they do not have the expertise or capacity to engage volunteers. Then you have the classic scenario where you show up at an event to volunteer, but you just end up standing around and waiting, which is really a sign of being needed but people not having the capacity to utilize the assets at hand.
C : And how does People Making a Difference (PMD) work to solve this challenge?
L : We bridge the gap between volunteers and organized opportunities. We’re like the catalyst to make sure that volunteers are aware of the opportunities available and to make sure that the required work and tasks get done, that the volunteers are well equipped to do it, that is, they have the right tools, and have the right amount of time planned for it etc. We ensure that both parties receive a mutual beneficial experience out of this.
C: Working in the volunteering space, what has been your favourite success story?
L: Every project that I’ve worked on has been my favourite. But if I had to define the success of any project, it would be when a volunteer is enjoying the experience so much, that she or he wonders who the true beneficiary really is. And this has happened to me when I volunteer myself and form lifelong connections to charities and make a real difference in the lives of their clients.
C: You mentioned that it will be the 25th anniversary of the PMD next year?
L: We turned 25 in the first week of December 2017. And during this journey, we’ve learned the hard way what our strengths and core competencies are. We use continued feedback from our volunteers to learn how we can keep bettering ourselves. We’ve heard from almost 9,000 people about how we can get better every time, so it has definitely been a journey learning to both give and receive in every way.
C: What are some of your top initiatives for the year 2018?
Lori: We really want to focus on celebrating and cherishing our volunteers because they form the backbone of our organization. It is their selflessness and willingness to give back to the community that drives home the message of humanity to all those who have seen and appreciated our work. We are also looking to expand more into the digital sector by revamping our website and working on a mobile application as well.
Lori words are really something to go back, and we believe that if in some way, you as well feel inspired to check out the great work being done by PMD, we would have done some sort of justice to Lori and her crew.