By: Tomasz Paciorkowski, Work and Travel Summer 2014 Ambassador Scholar

Tomek is a Work and Travel participant from Poland who volunteers as an English teacher and hopes to inspire his future students to have experiences like his own. He plans to help his host community by mentoring younger children. In this blog post he describes his volunteer experiences.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w2G6btiaVpU&w=560&h=315]

 

Hi there again; it’s good to see you sober.

Today’s post will be completely dedicated to my volunteering efforts in the United States. As per usual, I need to divide my post into parts, but I’m not going to bother you with the details. Let’s get down to it right away.

Washington, D.C.

You may not know that but I had an amazing opportunity to attend the CCI Greenheart Global Leaders Conference. The whole experience was rather ineffable and I’ll write more about it soon, I promise. The important thing is, however, that during the stay in Washington, D.C., all of the participants at the conference volunteered at the Capital Area Food Bank.

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At first, I thought we would serve food to those in need. I could envisage myself being polite and helpful, kind, and warm… It didn’t happen though. After we arrived at the food bank, we learned that we would have to sort meat.

…yes. Exactly. Sorting meat.

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Never in my life had I done anything in the least associated with butchering, and therefore, I was quite scared. I couldn’t really imagine myself carving turkey, beef, or other kinds of meat. And isn’t that the first thing that comes to mind? First, you cut the meat, then, you sort it.

At worst, first, you hunt and kill an innocent rabbit, and then, throw it on the rabbit pile. Sorted.

Fortunately, the reality turned out to be much simpler. Basically, what we had to do was sort meat that was already prepared. That was a relief, believe me.

It was not a too difficult job, sometimes the boxes were heavy. That’s true. There was one person who kept me going though. One of the employees of the food bank looked very much like Mike Tyson. And trust me; I’m quite happy with both of my ears in place.

All in all, I need to say the whole group had quite a lot of fun. Not only did we help others, but we also got to know each other far better.

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After the job was done, we attended some very interesting workshops pertaining to the issue of hunger in the United States.

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All I have to say is that I don’t think I would survive in such circumstances.

Avon, Colorado

To be completely honest with you, Avon and Beaver Creek are mainly inhabited by very affluent groups of people. Therefore, there aren’t many volunteering opportunities. Of course, there are some opportunities for people who really care about the environment and nature. However, the truth is, I’m personally much more concerned with problems that a community may face.

I decided to volunteer for the Salvation Army. It is a religious organization, but it was not a factor when I was making the decision. I didn’t really pay attention to that. What counts to me is the fact that you may help somebody.

My friend Olga and I were asked to weed the community area near the Salvation Army’s headquarters in Avon. It was honestly a strenuous task. I need to admit though, that we succeeded. Just sayin’.

The community area will now be used to organize different events, which will help the community get along better.

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I guess that’s all for today. See you soon! Hopefully still sober.