Giving Back to Your Community: A Real Way to Make a Difference

By: Johdinann Hartley, Summer Work Travel Participant & 2018 Ambassador Scholar

This summer, I have participated in two volunteer projects with my host community: the coastal clean-up with the Cherry Festival team and the Clinch Park clean-up. Doing these clean-ups contributed towards a safer and more sanitary environment for my community. By helping out with projects like these, I was able to encourage other people—community members and fellow exchange visitors alike—to take part in community-based volunteer events. 

As a cultural exchange visitor, doing a volunteer project within my community allowed for me to show the community members why I am here. I felt that it was important to show them that I am not here to take away from the community resources, but to give back to the community and thank them for letting me experience their way of life. Volunteering was a great way for me to show my community that I feel like I am part of it.  

Volunteer work not only impacts the community but also myself and my team. I feel like I am here to make a difference and give back, so following through on this feeling gave me a sense of purpose. These volunteer events also brought me closer to people in my community. My Clinch Park clean-up team and I bonded during our service. We learned much about each other, which made us appreciate one another more. I really feel like this is what cultural exchange is all about – learning about other people and showing that you care for them by giving back. 

Want to feel your own sense of purpose through volunteerism? See how you can do so by checking out Greenheart Exchange’s Summer Work and Travel program.

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