By Jun Li, Summer 2015 Ambassador Scholar

I had already participated in lots of volunteer activities before, so when I came to my host community (Harrisburg, PA) I knew I wanted to get more people involved in volunteering! I knew there was an opportunity coming up to clean a park with international students.

I asked my friends from China to join me. I know it can be hard to ask them to join if someone has never volunteered before. There were over 100 of us in the area, but some of them said they would rather go to church, or stay at home since it was really hot out that day. I felt really upset, but one of my co-workers, Meiling Hong, ended up having the day off from work that day. She said that she wanted to try volunteering. Then, more friends said that they would like to come. Finally, four Chinese students showed up. I was kind of moved by the whole situation.

We went to the park in the morning at 9 a.m. The people who volunteered were students, officers from International House Harrisburg, and a couple of CCI Greenheart staff. We started cleaning and weeding. The officers from International House were helpful and told us what kinds of plants were poisonous.

We worked very hard and had fun together. I shared my experience about volunteerism with them, and all my Chinese friends said they wanted to get involved with volunteering when they return to China. I felt so happy about it.

The International House officers also helped me get in touch with the local press to cover the event. I felt so proud that I could be there with them and was able to persuade them to join us.

Problems will always come up against your goals, even if your goal is to help the world. Nothing will be accomplished without effort. Once you try, you know you can do it! I know that one human is so small, but unity is powerful. That’s the reason why the U.S. is called the United States. That’s why I love America, and that’s also the reason I love this program, Work and Travel. I also published a video about our time together that you can see on the right!

Learn more about Ambassador Scholars.