The opportunity to be an exchange student is not given to everybody and I am very thankful that I got this opportunity. Since my exchange year is coming to end, I want to say that every day of my year was an experience. I saw things I have never seen, I heard things I have never heard, I did things I have never done and I learned things I have never known before. One of the most important experiences I had is volunteering. When I first went to the American high school I signed up for the community service club called “Interact.”
My first volunteering experience with “Interact” was at the Friendswood United Methodist Church. The event was called “Angel Food.” Volunteers of all ages gathered together to put everyday necessary foods in the boxes and send them to the people in need. I enjoyed the event because I started feeling helpful and I wanted to volunteer more. At one of the first meetings with the FLEX and YES CCI group in Houston we went to pick up the trash in the neighborhood and had lots of fun.
After that I volunteered at the festivals selling scarves and collecting tickets to raise money. One was at the Cline Elementary School’s festival to raise money for the school called “Clinefest” and the other one was at Good Shepherd’s Episcopal Church’s festival to raise some money for the church called “Octoberfest.” I enjoyed volunteering at both of these festivals because the atmosphere was very relaxing, since kids and adults went there to have fun.
Then I started volunteering at the gym where my host sister’s cousin is a rhythmic gymnast. I made videos of those gorgeous gymnasts and changed the music for them at their meets. I have never known that rhythmic gymnastics is a breathtaking art. I was very surprised when I met a lady from Kazakhstan who is, now, coaching gymnasts in the United States.
I had fun helping consistently at the Friendswood Public Library and at the nursery of the church where I went with my host family. I loved helping at the nursery because kids make everybody’s life. They are so cute and adorable. I also enjoyed volunteering at the library because they really needed people to help them to straighten the shelves, to clean the toys, to make the copies and all kinds of little jobs.
But the volunteer experience I enjoyed the most was the Moody Gardens Ball for people with special needs in Galveston. Since Mardi Gras season was up coming, the ball’s theme was Mardi Gras. Not only did the guests with special needs have fun, but the volunteers did too. We gave them beads, served food and danced with them. It was wonderful to see them very happy and smiling.
I started doing community service and I am not going to stop because we need to help each other. Volunteering is developing in my home country thanks to the FLEX alumni. As a new alumnus, I want to continue developing community service since I have had different kinds of experiences. Like it is said, “Nobody can do everything, but everyone can do something.” Let’s help each other!