By: Marcelle Benedicta, Work Programs Employer Relations Manager

Summer is ending soon. You may look back and wonder what you have done in the past few months. If you’ve done something to give back to your community, then kudos to you! That’s exactly what our participants at the Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park in Warrens, Wisconsin did recently during the Going Greenheart Tour.

On a bright and sunny Tuesday in August, fellow staff member Benjamin Baney and I pulled together a crew of 19 people, which was comprised of J-1 participants from Jordan and Moldova, employees and workampers at Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park in Warrens, and volunteers from the Friends of the Black River organization. Even Yogi Bear himself made an appearance! After putting on the gloves and neon-colored safety vest, and armed with garbage bags and a garbage pick-up tool, we went to pick up garbage and sort the recyclable items along the two-mile stretch of a Jackson County highway that was adopted by Friends of the Black River. Everyone did a great job in spite of the 110 degree heat index. There was definitely plenty of water going around!

We were all treated to a pizza party afterwards, courtesy of the Ground Round in Tomah, and the participants were given a certificate to thank them for their service. They also made headway to earn a Greenheart Grant by entering their volunteer hours with CCI Greenheart’s Greenheart Club.

This Greenheart Project was a perfect example of Americans and international students working together to benefit the environment. As a result of the day’s work, the highway was cleaner and the participants learned what it means to volunteer. John Elliott from Friends of the Black River said, “I think we all learned a little about our different cultures.” And we couldn’t agree more! Read more about our Greenheart Project in the local Warrens newspaper, the Banner Journal.

We then attended the Thanksgiving Dinner in Wisconsin Dells, organized by the J-1 Consortium. Participants from around the world got a taste of what an American Thanksgiving Dinner is like. This was a special event, because participants won’t be in the United States to experience the very traditional American holiday of  Thanksgiving in November. Many thanks to all of the parties that made this happen!