Global Youth Service Day 2015: Serving Across the United States
By Elyse Voyen, Greenheart Club Program Assistant
Global Youth Service Day (GYSD), April 15-17th, was an important day for the Greenheart community. Many CCI Greenheart local coordinators (LCs) created projects across the United States, empowering countless students to give back to their communities and to make a difference in the world. We have compiled photos and reflections of exemplary projects to share with you. Mario, who participated in LCs Lasha Seaman and Felisha Brower’s GYSD project, reflects o n his experience painting a mural, while Yevgeniya describes volunteering for “Community Pride Day” in Caldwell, Idaho with LC Nancy White’s GYSD project. We end with a recap by LC Nancy Stubbs of her GYSD project “Random Acts of Kindness” and a brief review and photo reel of LC Lori Tibbett’s project. We at Greenheart are so proud and thankful for all the many individuals who worked to make a significant contribution to their communities on GYSD this year!
“Greenheart Mural Project” reflection by Mario, CCI Greenheart exchange student from Lebanon
One of my favorite service projects was the one that I did during Global Youth Service Day. It was a mural project that was held at Driftwood Park, Evans, Colorado and was one of the most enjoyable experiences I’ve ever encountered. Many requirements needed to be met before the actual painting of the mural. One requirement was a hard-copy draft that I spent 22 hours painting in order for the city to approve our idea. On the day of our project most of the foreign exchange students in the surrounding area came to support and help us. In the end, the mural turned out to be amazing!
But the most important factor was the impact it left on me. I not only was joyous that the mural turned out beautifully, but I was also satisfied that I was able to contribute to my community and help beautify it using my talents. It’s amazing how much volunteering helped me grow and shaped my personality. All of these experiences have made me dream of all the volunteering activities that I want to organize when I go back home.
“Community Pride Day” reflection by Yevgeniya, CCI Greenheart exchange student from Russia
In conjunction with Global Youth Service Day, a group of exchange students met in Caldwell, Idaho to help in the city’s annual Community Pride Day. This was a huge community effort led by the Mayor’s Youth Advisory Council. A group of CCI Greenheart students were given a grant from Greenheart to help fund the effort. It was a great opportunity for students to help their host community and to have fun and enjoy a beautiful day together.
The morning began with doughnuts and coffee, which was a great way to prepare for work. Students painted over graffiti and painted backdrops, picked up trash, raked winter debris, and planted spring flowers along the creek. A lot of work needed to be done, but community service turns into fun when young adults from all over the world get together!
By noon all the work was done by hard working CCI Greenheart exchange students and we had the chance to see the local Statue of Liberty, visit an exhibition of retro cars and even take a picture with a real camel! The meeting ended with a pizza party for all the volunteers who helped to make Caldwell beautiful!
“Random Acts of Kindness” reflection by Nancy Stubbs, CCI Greenheart Local Coordinator
We just finished a wonderful Cluster activity and Nour, Alina, Tanya, Jana and Carol all participated as well as 3 other exchange students from LC Jenifer Kallio’s cluster (Yuliya, Jan and David) and 2 friends from the area high schools. We did a “Random Acts of Kindness” event for Global Youth Service Day. The kids split up into groups with one adult in each group and we went to an area where we could help carry groceries to cars, wash windows at a gas station and help people grocery shop. We gave each person a “hug” bag (Hershey version- we made them at the beginning of the day- seen in the picture). Each student participated at each station for about half an hour.
Afterwards we went to have lunch together and did a de-briefing session. In this session we learned that the kids felt like it took them out of their comfort zone. Some people were very nice and others kind of brushed us off. Some people tried to tip our students, and I told them in advance not to accept tips. Some people were really surprised that kids were trying to be helpful. One lady said she was planning her son’s birthday party activity, and that she was going to try to do a Random Act of Kindness Day for that event. They enjoyed serving others, but if a person wasn’t nice to them then it took more courage to ask the next person. They liked giving out candies. Overall people were kind and it was a good experience. I was glad two of the exchange students got their high schools involved by bringing a friend. Afterwards, we went to a restaurant and had lunch together. It was a fun day! And right after we were done it started raining, so I was very grateful the rain held off until we were finished!
Our group of students volunteered at the Victor Valley Rescue Mission in Southern California over Global Youth Service Day and they have a lot of great pictures. The three LCs involved were myself, Cindy Vance and Susan Twitchell. We had 16 students, five of which are FLEX.