By Alicia Ortiz, AYP Placement Services Assistant

The Greenheart Club is comprised of 270+ CCI Greenheart students who have contributed thousands of volunteer hours. Each year we recognize our top four Greenheart Club Members with an Eco-Weekend trip to Chicago. The top two Members from our Grants Program and the top two Members from our Academic Year Program have been selected. Meet Nika, Nuraiym, Zsofia, and Anna! Together they have volunteered over 600 hours total this school year! Congratulations!

$RK6NC1FNika from Georgia: Hello, I am Nika and I am from republic of Georgia. I’d like to tell you about my volunteering experience that I got during my exchange year. I started volunteering in Spokane Civic Theatre, where I was doing backstage crew work. The play that I was helping on was “The Producers”, I should say that, volunteering in Civic was one of the best times and best volunteering place not only since I am in US also in my life so far. Next place that I’ve been volunteering is YMCA Youth Investment Programs and also Pet store. Most interesting thing that I learned from YMCA, and time that I have spent there is about community service helping others and taking care of environment that we live in. I have met many community service kids, and I have witnessed how much afford YMCA teen program leads put in to make those kids life better. Honestly, I have not had any contact with pets before. So, volunteering at the pet store, “Partners For Pets” is a perfect place for this. I learned a lot about cats and how to take care of them. I should mention that, this store, where I am volunteering is non-profit organization which makes my afford more significant. Finally I can say that I have enjoyed a lot and I will continue volunteering more and more.”

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Nuraiym from Kyrgyzstan: Hi, I am Nora the Explorer from Kyrgyzstan. I am having an awesome experience in America, where my childhood dream to meet Mickey Mouse in Disney World even came true. The favorite part here is the winters in New York with snow days and no school. However, I enjoy going to school because I am involved in sports, the dance company and many other clubs. I have made many friends through Key club, where we do a lot of volunteering and just have fun. Volunteering gave me leadership skills and teaches me that everybody can do good for their community and make a difference. I learned how American people work together to improve lives and support each other, I hope to take these ideas home to my country and share with my community. Of course I want to thank my host family, CCI-greenheart, and Nancy Sanderson, who all helped me earn volunteering hours and win the trip to Chicago!!!

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Zsofia from Hungary: Hi, my name is Zsofia Karady and I decided to came to the USA, because I wanted to learn the language and the culture. First my coordinator introduced me to Greenheart Club and volunteering. I didn’t think that it would be fun, but when I started to do it, I liked it a lot. I met with new people. I was involved in many different volunteer programs but my favorite was when we cleaned the plants surroundings at a farm in Hawaii, because it restored Hawaii’s surroundings that had been destroyed. That’s why I would encourage others to try it, because you can give back to your community and it’s also fun! 🙂

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Anna from Denmark: Hi my name is Anna and I’m on a one year high school exchange. I’m 16 years old and come from Denmark which is a small country in Scandinavia. My natural parents are actually from China, but my sisters and I were born and have always lived in Denmark. I have an older sister who did the exchange program two years ago and a younger sister. I like to do sports and did gymnastics back in Denmark. Right now I’m currently attending Collins Hill High school in Atlanta, Georgia which is where my host family lives. My time on my exchange has been amazing, but with some ups and downs along the way. It has been difficult adapting to the new culture but in the end it is all worth it. I have learned so much during my time here in the States and I feel a lot more confident in myself and my English. Volunteering in the USA has been very new to me; before I came here I had honestly never done volunteer work. Helping out in the community and helping others have been a great experience and you just feel better about yourself knowing that you are doing something good and helpful for other people. All of this is an incredible experience that I will have for the rest of my life.

These inspiring students will be visiting CCI Greenheart’s offices in Chicago for a celebration weekend May 9-12th!