By Renato Monteiro, CCI Greenheart Trainee in the United States

Renato is a CCI Greenheart trainee from Brazil who has been placed in Florida. He is an active member of the Greenheart Club and volunteered 280 hours over the past year! We congratulate Renato for his dedication to making the world a better place. Below are Renato’s reflections on his experience in the United States.
I, Renato Monteiro, am going to share a little bit about being a trainee, in the city of Boca Raton, Florida. It has been 11 months since my arrival in the United States and its getting towards the end of my program. A few months ago, I had the good fortune of having my friends and family come visit me in the United States. They had to endure a nine hour flight from Brazil to Miami to spend a few days with me. We spent many unforgettable and fun moments in Florida.

All of them had dreamed of visiting Disney World, so I know I had to take them to the parks in Orlando. But my biggest goal was to show them that Florida is much more than the famed Disney World. The Sunshine state consists of happy, hospitable people that love to go to the beach, play sports and do physical exercises around the oceanfront. They are intelligent and well educated people, who care about others, love nature, are proud of their state, volunteer, and care about the preservation and conservation of the environment. I showed my family that Florida is key lime pie, lobsters, the everglades, alligators, marine and wild life, pristine beaches, golf, tennis, sunset and sunrise, bike rides, race competitions, diving, snorkeling, fishing, kayaking, paddling, surfing, fun night life, barbecuing at parks located in front of the beach, and recreational activities which enable tourists to join in with the community!

I invited my friends and family to be part of my story here in Florida. I wanted to add some adventure to their trip and give them a taste of American culture. I wanted to show them the identity of the American people, as well as their customs and history. My goal was to get as far away from the outlets malls and shopping centers as possible. I showed them the environmental complex in front of the beach where I worked as a volunteer since September 2013. They loved everything, and they spent magical and unforgettable moments in the Sunshine state. They helped me leave an imprint in this country and gave me even more strength, so that I can continue contributing in order to build a fair, humane and egalitarian country.

I can’t forget to mention my participation in our 9th Annual Sea Turtle Day, hosted for Gumbo Limbo Nature Center in Boca Raton, Florida. We received 4000 visitors. There were crafts, games, leaf printing, a sea turtle exhibition, music, costumes and much more.  More than 80 volunteers joined us this year and we, all together, helped to make this event a huge success.

I can only say thanks for the opportunity to be here as a trainee in the United States. I have been recognized for the exceptional work that I have been doing in front of the Renaissance Boca Raton Hotel and for my positive attitude, serving spirit, and honesty through my participation in community service. I have contributed to giving a better quality of life to patients at the end of their life by working as a volunteer for Hospice Palm Beach. I have been helping as a volunteer for the American Red Cross, taking courses so that I can act as a disaster responder in the future. And I am still committed as a volunteer for the Gumbo Limbo Nature Center, helping in research, education, preservation and environmental conservation for tourists, residents and school groups that visit us. I only have one month left in the USA, but I promise that I am going to do much more and I will carry on learning every single day about American business and culture.