Go volunteer! Go Greenheart!
By: Qinyan Guo (Carly), Work and Travel Ambassador Scholar
Qinyan Guo (known as Carly) is from Changchun, China. This is her second year on the Work and Travel program, and this year she is placed in Williston, North Dakota. Learn how much fun being an Ambassador Scholar is in Williston for Carly as she volunteers at a local elementary school.
On Monday, August 27th 2013, I spent my day volunteering in an elementary school called McVay School. Thanks to the help from CCI Greenheart, my employer Dale and Principal Leintz, I spent the day with 15 awesome kids and teacher.
Today was the first of school, so you can imagine how busy it must be. It was also my first day as a volunteer, so I was very excited . My friend Jason gave me a ride to the school, because the school is not close to where I live. I got there really early at 6:40 am, while schools start at 8:00 am. The secretary told me I could go walk around and become familiar with the school. Guess what? While I was walking around, I met one of our McDonalds costumers – Manuel! He always comes at the same time and orders the same coffee. He recognized me, and so my volunteer day started with him. Manuel also introduced the school and the teachers to me. I took a picture before all the students came here. I like the classrooms here in the United States; they are full of color and creativity.
There was a girl named Bethany. She is a new student here and she is really shy, so I decided to talk with her. I told her I am new and I was very nervous too. Step by step she started holding my hand and began to trust me. During P.E. class, she seemed like she did not want to join the other kids and she asked me if I can stay with her. I told her “I trust you, I believe you can do this and make new friends” and then I sent her back to the other kids. Ms. Kelly told me she really liked the way I helped her and encouraged her to try to make friends. She said sometimes it is not smart to build up a really strong tie between you and the students, because they need to make friends with other students here. I was so proud of myself for helping Bethany and for doing the right thing!
This is Ms. Kelly. She is an awesome teacher and a very good story teller. I mean, I am a 21 year old college student, and I still liked sitting there to hear her story. From her, I learned that sometimes we do not need to “teach” students, instead we need to lead and guide them to the correct answer.
Being with the kids reminded me of my own childhood. Right before lunch time, there was a girl who started to cry. At first she did not want tell me what happened. When she calmed down a little bit, she told me that she missed her mom. This is when I told her, “Honestly, I do too. My mom is at the other end of the earth. I miss her, but I want to be brave so that she won’t worry about me. If I can be brave, you can do too.” Then I showed her my exciting way of having lunch, where I made funny faces. Finally she laughed, and showed a big smile with happy tears in her eyes.
I have learned that volunteering is not only about being green or do something for free, it is also about inspiring people. It is an attitude. Everybody can be a volunteer. By picking up a piece of garbage, encouraging people, or even show a big smile to a stranger, one can be a volunteer. Everyone has a green heart, no matter how old a person is or where they are. Go volunteer! Go Greenheart!