Exchange Students Give Back to Their New Community
By Nancy White, CCI Greenheart Local Coordinator
My cluster of FLEX and YES students volunteered to collect food for a local food pantry. Over a three week period we contacted neighbors and friends, students at local schools and family members for donations. On the big day we attended a local outreach in a public park where we had rented space for an information/collection table. We shared with hundreds of attendees about CCI Greenheart and the many opportunities available to host and/or to travel abroad. The FLEX and YES students, their host families and friends also picked up trash and kept trash barrels emptied as they filled up. Additionally, they took shifts guarding a bouncy house and slide that were made available for the little ones. Local youth bands from high schools and churches performed throughout the day adding a festive atmosphere. Free hot dogs were provided by another group of volunteers.
CCI Greenheart students saw how an American community is coming together to help those in need, and to encourage families during a trying time when many are out of work and needing a little extra help. This was a new concept to the students and they quickly picked up the prevailing mood and spirit of giving. They were thrilled to be part of such a generous, exciting community event and began discussing ways they may try to implement a similar effort in their home countries when they return. Several goals were accomplished including providing food to those in need, keeping the environment clean, entertaining small children, and spreading the word about cultural exchange. This truly was a successful event!