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Aie Serve: Uniting Youth Through Service

March 30, 2011 Leave a comment

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The bellow article is featured on Youth Action Net Website
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What began in Tunisia in December 2010 led to the mass demonstrations in Egypt starting on January 25, and now the rest of the Arab world is following. Lebanon is no exception. On February 27th, many Lebanese youth activists gathered for a demonstration against the sectarian system in Lebanon, demanding changes in both the constitution and the way daily governmental business is carried out.

This rising consciousness and refusal to succumb to the status quo is rooted in the same spirit that prompted myself and a group of friends to launch Aie Serve four years ago. Instead of staying silent, we decided to take positive action.  Aie Serve is a youth-based, youth-managed, and youth-funded organization dedicated to promoting a culture of volunteerism in Lebanon. Translated from Japanese, aie (pronounced “I”) means love.

The idea for Aie Serve came during the aftermath of the 2006 July War on Lebanon and resulted from the sharp polarization of Lebanese youth along sectarian, political, and religious lines. We started brainstorming ways of tackling this issue and agreed that three basic values were missing in Lebanon: Love, Tolerance, and Respect. We espouse love for others based on who they are and not which political background or sect they are from, while promoting tolerance and respect of others’ point of views and beliefs.

Over time, we started gathering more ideas and people, organizing ourselves while focusing on serving our community and society at-large. Aie Serve evolved from a group of friends, to a group of community-service minded youth, to a team and an organization. Examples of Aie Serve volunteer activities include book and clothing donation drives, reforestation and recycling projects, and assistance to orphans and the elderly.

In the last four years, we’ve experienced exceptional growth in the number of projects we do, our members, and our outreach. The impact we see on the ground is both fulfilling and inspirational. We find volunteerism is now contagious wherever we go. What’s more – in keeping with our mission – we find that caring for others is a universal value that brings people together and bridges divides.

Those around me know quite well that I am an optimist and a hard worker and so I believe that with a vision, hard work, and true commitment a small, dedicated group can achieve great things… and the biggest proof is where Aie Serve stands to day!

Afif Tabsh is Co-founder and voluntary President of Aie Serve. In 2011, he was named one of ten finalists selected for the King Abdullah II Award for Youth Innovation and Achievement.

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Secrets of a Great Workplace

March 27, 2011 22 comments

Sometimes I wonder what makes a company, organization, institution ..etc a great workplace. What are those factors that usually matter to employees to really love where they are working.

Now I’m not going to discuss whether the person is in the right type of job or not, that’s a completely different story. I am just trying to understand if people are doing the job they supposedly want, what makes the place they work at be a great one.

I was reading “The Great Workplace”, authors Michael Burchell and Jennifer Robin, and in it they write, “you need to do your job realizing that how you do what you do makes a world of difference to employees. The secret of great workplaces is relationships.”

In another chapter, the book highlights that the employees said “they believe their leaders to be credible, respectful, and fair—they trust them. They also take pride in what they do, and they share a sense of camaraderie with their coworkers.”

So it really revolves more about the relation of employees amongst each other and with their leaders or senior or managers or whatever you wish to call them.

Some people argue that what holds leaders back from doing something about this is the not having the faith that there are bottom line results from doing the right thing. Another excuse is no time. Lack of situational awareness and the belief that they should just be focusing on the business also keep leaders from focusing on the relationships that really underlie everything they do.

After further research I found that there is a institute called “The Great Place to Work Institute” and  the researchers there found that great workplaces exist regardless of size, industry, or location because the Model is based on universal “needs and values—trust of the people you work for, pride in what you do, and enjoyment of the people you work with.”

So I felt like sharing the Model with you and to get your feedback on it. Check the diagram bellow and let me know your input. 😀

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