By Franziska, CCI Greenheart Exchange Student
The Greenheart Club is proud to announce that CCI Greenheart exchange student Franziska from Germany has won the 2015 holiday photo contest! You can see from the photo that Franziska is volunteering her time by shoveling snow. She is a member of the Greenheart Club where she has volunteered 78 hours! Franziska also participated in CCI Greenheart’s summer Service Leader Prep Program and has truly become and exemplary member of the Greenheart Club. Check out the photo that won Franziska $100 OFF a Greenheart Trip and read about her reflection below.
Before I came to the United States with CCI Greenheart, I had never really thought about volunteering. I mean, I had always seen issues and problems wherever I was and I’ve always felt the need to help, but I’ve never really known how. Being here showed me that even the smallest and simplest gestures can make someone smile, and what in this world is worth more than a smile?
One thing I want to accomplish in my life is changing the world by making it a better place. I know that might sound naive, but I think everyone can make a change in the world. There is so much injustice, so many restrictions and so much ignorance, but as soon as you stop focusing on the bad things and just concentrate on the positive, you’re one huge step closer to making a change. Now, if every single human being in this world would think like that, all our problems would be solved. This is why I’m trying to inspire other people to see the beauty of life, the beauty of nature, the beauty of our wonderful earth, and volunteering is an easy and fun way to reach people’s hearts to do so.
It is not only volunteering that has given me the chance to learn and experience so many new things but also just being in the United States as an exchange student. It is incredibly interesting to see your surroundings change and to watch yourself change with them in every single situation. I’ve learned to live in the moment and to be thankful and grateful for every single thing I have. I’ve learned that you don’t need a reason to smile and that the only thing that can truly make you happy is yourself. Also, my connection to nature has grown so much stronger and being away from home has helped me to appreciate everything back in Germany so much more. I think I am also closer to finding myself, understanding who I am and to figuring out what I want to do with my life. This year has changed my perspective and view on life and the universe, and I can’t wait for the next months to fill my life with even more experiences and insightful moments!