By: Sultan Elmanaseer, Greenheart Exchange Work and Travel participant and 2017 Ambassador Scholar

On Friday, August 25, I had a day off from work. When people have a day off, they usually like to hang out somewhere. Instead, I did something special! As a community project and one of the aspects of being an Ambassador Scholar, I took five refugees to the water park! I paid their admission fee and transportation fees so they could have a day of fun.

This project came from my heart and Greenheart. I chose this as my volunteer project to help these individuals have a good life and a fun day, instead of staying at home doing nothing. I know they still remember what happened to them in their home countries. I was hoping this day could be fun and enjoyable, to give them a break from some of their hardships.

As I played with them at the water park, one of the local newspapers came to cover this voluntary humanitarian project. The reporters talked to the kids about the war and their journey to get to the United States. They appreciated my project and what I was doing for the kids and asked me why I did it. I told them I wanted to show everyone around the world the importance of volunteering and the different types of volunteer work you can do. You can volunteer anywhere around the world, even out of your own country.

I worked hard to get them here, but when I saw them smiling and having fun, it made it all worth it. I was happy to be the person making them smile. In the end, it was hard for me to pay for everything for this day. I wish that I had more money, and was able to bring more than five kids to the water park. But as the phrase goes, “a journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step”. I’m glad I was able to take the first step and make a difference in five kids’ lives.

Interested in seeing how you can make an impact on your community? Look into the Greenheart Club! Volunteerism is a core priority at Greenheart, and we love connecting with other volunteers – you may even become eligible for a variety of volunteer benefits!