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. Below, Carly describes her Greenheart grant project.

My name is Qinyan Guo and I took part in the Work and Travel program in summer 2013. I am so honored that I was able to be an Ambassador Scholar during my program. All of the volunteer work that I did, and what I learned from that work; really meant a lot to me. I hope that I can use my experience to influence my friends and even more people.

1When Greenheart awarded me 250 American dollars after completing 20 volunteer hours in the United States, I suddenly felt that I needed to use that money to help more people, and to pass on love and the volunteer spirit. When I first came back to China, I had the opportunity to go to a special school to visit students. Most of the students there had listening problems and even had trouble speaking. We drew pictures together and communicated through our writing and drawings. Most of them wanted to go to university, and they were working very hard to achieve their goals. I hate to say this, but in China it is not very easy for people with disabilities to go to school. But, instead of seeing them unhappy, I was inspired by them; they showed me that they had a never-give-up attitude towards life.

2When I went back to my hometown after my program, I went to an orphanage with volunteers from the Red Cross. This orphanage was very far from downtown, so we took a two hour bus ride to get there. I brought them some articles and food. We donated 200 Chinese yuan (about 33 dollars) to each person, and we also brought toys. What I saw in the orphanage was something that I will never forget. There were kids with disabilities who were abandoned; kids who were abandoned because they are girls, and kids who were called “kids from star” because they live in their own world that no one understands. What shocked me the most was the room at the end of lobby where I went to help a nurse. In this room, there were babies who had never seen their parents. They were babies with serious diseases, some who even had problems eating. When I saw them, I cried. I wanted to do so much, but there was little that I could do. I talked with a girl who was very healthy and I wondered why she hadn’t been adopted yet. I did not say anything because I wanted to avoid such a sensitive topic. She then told me that she has been adopted twice and abandoned twice. I felt so sad for her, but there was still nothing that I could do. I gave her my address so that she could to write me when she wanted. I encouraged her to be brave, and I told her that we were there because we cared about her. We both agreed to keep fighting for our lives until we are able to make a difference in the lives of others. Being a volunteer, it is important to remember not to let your passion hurt someone else’s feelings. If we do not remember this, volunteering will not be a good thing anymore.

I am planning to use all of my Greenheart Club reward money to buy books for students in China. I got this idea when I volunteered at a primary school in the U.S. The first day that I volunteered at that school I sat there and read books to the kids. The kids filled my eyes up with tears. While I was there, I was thinking about students in the poor areas of China. Here are some pictures from my friend who volunteers as a teacher in Yunnan. Kids in China will really value the books, just like the American kids.

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I told the teacher that I worked with in the United States what my idea was, and she gave me a bag of school supplies before I left for China. I promised her that I would make good use of them and do my best to make a difference.

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Supplies from the United States.

Chinese yuan

Chinese yuan

When I got back to China I had two thoughts. One was to buy books and then send them to my friend who is in Yunnan, but the fee of transportation would cost one third of the money I was rewarded. My other thought was to donate the money to the schools that have connections with my college. So, I talked with Chenzi Fuhe, the leader of our Volunteer organization. After a lot of preparation, we started our program. 1000 Chinese yuan is a lot of money for one person, but if it is divided up and given to multiple people, it is not enough. So, we decided raise more money, after this we raised around 1600 Chinese yuan, but I still thought think that wasn’t enough. We decided to launch a school-wide activity so that more students would help us. We called it “Volunteer in China; Build up the Dream.”

Raising money for the Greenheart Project.

Raising money for the Greenheart Project.

Last week, I invited the teacher at No.58 Primary School to the opening ceremony of our program. When I spoke with the teacher, I learned that there are classes in their school called “Migrant Classes.” There is a special group of people in China that are called migrant workers. Most of them come from rural areas of China, and most of them are poor and work hard to make a living. Because of their small earnings, it is difficult for them to send their kids to school. With the help of the government, No.58 Primary School set up three classes in their schools to help them, and all of our money is going to be used to buy books and school supplies for them.

The opening ceremony!

The opening ceremony!

I hope that my experience will influence more and more people to join our group, “Volunteer in China; Build up the Dream.”