By Marcelle Benedicta, General Director, CCI Greenheart Work and Travel

“Gong Xi Fa Cai!”

This is what you’ve probably heard on February 8, the date of 2016 Chinese New Year, which is one of China’s most important traditional festivals. It is based on the Chinese lunar calendar, not the Gregorian calendar, so the date changes every year. The celebration begins on the second new moon after the winter solstice and ends on the full moon fifteen days later. Also known as the Spring Festival, this period is marked by visits to see family and friends, special meals, fireworks, and gift giving.

On the eve of Chinese New Year this year, some future J-1 Summer Work Travel participants were able to give a different kind of gift. They gave their time to volunteer at the Rehabilitation Centre of Nanchang Children Hospital in Nanchang, China. CCI Greenheart staff, representatives from U.S.-based host organizations, our partner in China, local university students, and our participants gave out books, candies, and toys to lots of children. The children were patients at a local hospital. The event was topped off with the American visitors teaching some American nursery rhymes, as well as learning some Chinese nursery rhymes in return. What a great cultural exchange experience!

Post event, the J-1 participants mentioned that they were quite touched to learn about the sick children and the courage of their parents. Most of them had never volunteered in the past, so they were happy to have this experience. In his book, The Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here for?, Rick Warren said, “Time is your most precious gift because you only have a set amount of it. You can make more money, but you can’t make more time. When you give someone your time, you are giving them a portion of your life that you’ll never get back. Your time is your life. That is why the greatest gift you can give someone is your time.”

Our participants truly gave a wonderful gift to the patients at the Rehabilitation Centre of Nanchang Children Hospital. Thank you for setting such a positive example!

If you’re interested in making an impact in your community, visit the Greenheart Club and register!