By Qinyan Guo (Carly), 2013 Summer Work Travel Participant and Greenheart Club member

Carly is one of four Greenheart Club members who received a $250 grant to complete a Greenheart project in her home country of China. Carly was eligible to receive the grant because she volunteered 20 hours for the Greenheart Club during her Summer Work Travel Program this past summer at a local elementary school. Carly’s grant application was selected, because she chose to help disadvantaged youth in China. In part two of her story, Carly describes her Greenheart Grant project.

On March 19th, 2014, I went to shop for books with some volunteers from my school. The bookstore is not easy to get to, we even got lost on the way there, but we finally made it.

Then, we had to decide what kinds of books were suitable for students in primary school to read. Students in primary school only know a bit about Chinese characters, so we got 60 books with Pinyin (for lower grades), and another 60 without Pinyin (for higher grades). The books are all different, and we hope that the students will share them, so that everyone can read more than one.

March 21st, 2014 was one of the most exciting days that I’ve had since I’ve come back to China. After my morning university classes, we gathered together at the gate and waited for the school bus. The teachers at my school were really helpful; they sent a school bus to pick us up. With more than ten volunteers and five teachers, we hit the road.

Each student received a book, and we played games together. I used the gift that I got from a teacher in the U.S., Kelly, as an award for the winner. We had a lot of fun; I think I might want to be a teacher in the future. We had some question-and-answer time so that we could explain to them what college is like. One of the students asked me, “What is your dream?” When I was asked this, I suddenly became speechless. Then, I thought about what my dream was. I thought about the original reason that I wanted to be a participant with CCI Greenheart. I wanted to be “sparks of fire” or a guide for others. I hope that I could encourage people to be brave, pass on the volunteer spirit, and most importantly, pass on love.

Students provide the country with hope; they have some great qualities that kids from rich families do not have. They inherit their hard work and modesty from their parents. I told them, “Each of you is awesome!”

I am really thankful for the great opportunities I’ve had since I decided to participate in the Work and Travel program with CCI Greenheart. To all of the people who helped me, thank you.