By: Sergio Ribeiro Jr., Work & Travel Participant and Greenheart Club Member

Sergio was the leading Greenheart Club member for the Work & Travel program in the Winter 2012 season. Sergio received a $500 Greenheart grant for his volunteer efforts in Arizona. Below Sergio explains how he used his Greenheart grant in his home country of Brazil.

Sergio, front and center with fellow student storytellers in Brazil.

The Student Storyteller Project represents my first attempt to help other people, in particular,children that are treated in our university hospital. It assists patients with chronic, complex illnesses requiring prolonged and frequent hospitalization. The main objective of this project consists of telling stories to these children in order to make the hospital environment not as frightening as it might otherwise seem. We offer the patients an activity unrelated to their disease or illness as means to provide something positive in a time of many challenges.

During my winter exchange program with CCI-Greenheart, I worked in a place called Liberty Wildlife, it’s a center located in Scottsdale, AZ, where they take care of injured wild animals. I had the chance to meet a lot of amazing people who since the very beginning embraced me as a member of the team.

When I came back to Brazil, I found this amazing $500 dollar fund opportunity offered by the Greenheart Club for those students who have done more than 40 hours of volunteering. It was my chance to return all the joy that the student storyteller program had provided me. So I gave it my best try, working hard on the application for the fund. One week later, I got a positive answer, my application had been approved for the Greenheart grant!

With the $500 dollar fund, we were able to purchase 38 books to enlarge and refill our book selection. It is hard to say who was more excited about the new stories, the volunteers, or the children. So for this amazing opportunity I want to say, in the name of the project and for the children, how grateful we are. Thank you Greenheart Club, not only for this donation, but for all your efforts to provide volunteering opportunities to exchange students. Thank you for guiding us in a positive direction, I have no doubt that we are heading toward a better world.

Childhood goes really fast and we cannot let children waste any day of it in a hospital, so we bring them to an imaginative world, where magic happens.