A few weeks ago, I met Muthu Kuttaiyan while volunteering at Nazareth Housing in the East Village. He was the New York Cares team leader for the project, which unfortunately got cancelled; in spite of this, Muthu spent some time explaining the various functions of Nazareth and discussing other similar organizations where we could volunteer with children. He was such a wealth of useful information regarding the volunteer and non-profit world, I wanted to know more about him. I wasn’t the first person to notice him either; he is currently featured on New York Cares’ website as a ‘New Yorker Who Cares’. I decided to contact him and see if he would agree to answer a few questions. Luckily, he was more than happy to chat.
When did you begin volunteering?
I have been volunteering ‘officially’ since college in India. In USA, I have been volunteering for the past 10 years or so.
What was the motivation behind your starting?
I grew up believing: To live in a society, we all need to help each other. Just like [I said in my New York Cares interview], volunteering is like vitamins for my soul!
What are some of the roles you play within New York Cares?
I am a volunteer, Team Leader, Speaker Bureau Member, and Site Captain.
How do you choose which organizations to give your time to?
On the contrary, it is the organization that chooses me! I have always been willing to assist any organization that doesn’t discriminate and is respectful. For example, New York Cares has been consistent in letting all of its volunteers know where they are needed to fulfill many special roles in addition to ‘plain old volunteering’.
With a full time job, how do you manage to volunteer so often?
First of all, quantity is never an issue, quality is all that matters. There are many who volunteer better than me, who may not be volunteering as much as I do. Secondly, there are a lot of people who volunteer lot more than I do. Finally, I don’t think I volunteer often enough. That said: When a person (who is single & has a full time job) finds another to have a relationship, [they] find time to spend with the significant other. When a couple (who have full time jobs) has a child, [they] find time to be parents. So, when one loves something, one can find time.
To see more about the projects he has done and other info about Muthu Kattaiyan, check out his bio on the New York Cares website.