“This summer, I worked with my family to teach English in Greece. We did this through an organization called Global Volunteers, and they provided the opportunity for us to live and work in a community near Gazi, Crete. We worked with a group of other volunteers, and throughout our two weeks there, we all learned a lot. My sister and I worked with a college student from California and a psychologist from Michigan to teach eleven third-graders conversational English. We didn’t speak any Greek at the beginning, but by the end we had learned three phrases: “thank-you,” “you’re beautiful,” and “I love you.” Those words are the sum of two weeks of teaching and two weeks of learning.
“Thank you.” I am so grateful to have had this opportunity. The Global Volunteers program helps all around the world, and I am grateful to them for the work they do in communities that need it. The Global Volunteers philosophy is about promoting peace and helping communities to become self-sufficient, and so their volunteers work with the local people rather than for them. We were able to be a small part of helping these children eventually pass their English exam, which is the only way they can get a University education in Greece. As they grow, they will be able to give back to their community.
“You’re beautiful.” Everywhere I looked, there was something new and different. The flowers in the yard under my balcony were a kind I’d never seen before and the ocean nearby was a gorgeous shade of blue. The smiles on the kids’ faces when they finally mastered a new concept, or their intense concentration during a game of Bubblegum, or the way they called to each other in rapid Greek; beautiful. The experience of service was beautiful too, and the feeling of having learned was amazing.
“I love you.” I loved my two weeks of teaching. I loved the Global Volunteers group and I loved the kids I worked with. I loved even the small classroom and the long walk to school. I grew closer to my family and I grew more confident in myself. The experience that I was able to have through Global Volunteers was unique and invaluable, and I loved being able to learn more about Greek culture and about service. I think that this is a good cause and I ask for your support.”
Madeleine Wells – age 15
“This summer my family and I went to Greece and taught English at a school in Crete. This was an amazing experience and I had a great time. We worked with the Global Volunteers. Our daily routine was: first, we woke at 7:00 to get dressed and eat breakfast. We set out to walk to the school at 8:00. The walk was about 1 mile, give or take, along a long, windy road toward the town.
The school was made up of small classrooms, with each classroom teaching a separate grade. Me, my mom, and two other volunteers worked in the fourth grade classroom. The kids would come randomly, as sometimes we had 7 kids, and other days only 3. There were 4 class periods every day, and a 10 minute recess between the periods.
After school, we would plan the next days classes and cool off from the heat in our rooms or the pool. For class, we taught what we thought best. In our class, we worked on time, animals, family names, and more. Many in the school ended up learning hand games too. The 2 weeks went by very quickly, (with no school on the weekends.) and the last day was a sad good-bye but also a wonderful party.
Thank you for supporting these organizations like Global Volunteers.
Lydia – age 10
“This summer, my family and I had the opportunity to volunteer teaching English in Heraklion, Crete. We were able to do this through Global Volunteers, a non-profit organization that operates throughout the world. The Global Volunteers devotes itself to promoting peace and understanding between cultures.
My family and I worked in a summer school dedicated to teaching English to elementary school students. Each school-day for two weeks, we would walk with the other volunteers to the school, and spend our mornings and early afternoons with the kids. We taught lessons and played games, growing closer and closer to the students, the volunteers, and the community with which we worked. The Global Volunteers team that we got to know was an interesting friendly group of people from different backgrounds who came together in order to serve. Our team leader and her family translated between Greek and English for us, and, by the end, volunteers and students alike had overcome the differences in our backgrounds and languages to feel like family.
Through Global Volunteers program, I was able to gain a greater appreciation for the world around me. The community I worked with was very different than the one I live in at home, and I was able to learn from its differences. I learned to “live in the ‘-ish’” and let time pass with enjoyment rather than with the deadlines I was used to. I was reminded of the value of air conditioning and consistent WiFi, but I also was able to bask in the sun and to see beautiful things outside of the electronic world. As a teacher, I gained confidence in myself. As a student of everyone else around me, I valued the lessons that they had for me.
On the last day of class, all our students wrote us notes to say goodbye. The notes were full of misspellings, but they were heartfelt. Our group of volunteers stood outside the school building and sang “America The Beautiful” for the kids, and they responded by singing the Greek national anthem for us. I couldn’t understand the Greek, but I could understand that it was beautiful. As our students filed out of the classroom for the last time, they each said “thank you” in English. We were able to respond by saying “thank you’ in Greek. A country that, for m, had always been just lines on a map was now a vibrant, valuable place with people that I cared about. My opportunity to serve the kids ended up, of course, being an opportunity for them to serve me.
Global Volunteers relies on other people in order to make its service programs possible. I am grateful for my chance to be a part of something greater than myself, and the chance to become something greater as well. I feel that this is a worthy cause to support and ask for your donation.”
Eliza – age 17
“This year, my family and I volunteered teaching English in Greece. This is a map of the walk to school We worked through Global Volunteers and had a great experience in the local community. I felt like it really made a difference in the lives of the children we taught.
Thanks for your support”
Nathaniel – age 12