By Sabina Baldykova a Greenheart Club Member and FLEX student
Sabina is leading Greenheart Club member in CCI’s Academic Year Program. She is from Kazakhstan and is currently living in Idaho. Here she shares her experiences volunteering for the Greenheart Club.

Anne Frank said: “This is so wonderful that somebody shouldn’t wait a moment to change the world”.  An amazing opportunity to do it was given to me by FLEX Program and Greenheart Club, to whom I am eternally grateful.

I feel like I light a candle each time I do community service. My first volunteer experience in America was Indian Creek Festival in Caldwell, Idaho. There we helped local volunteers, participated in a Tug-O-War, listened to a rock band, visited a unique railroad museum, gave an interview to a newspaper and enjoyed our experience a lot.

For me community service is always lots of fun!  My friend Nino Jibuti, exchange student from Georgia and I participated in Rake Up Nampa and helped disabled people clean their yards from leaves, we worked “wild”, sang, laughed, made lots of new friends and got invited to an after party with the Mayor of Nampa(an extremely nice man, by the way). Seeing how the people whose yards we cleaned appreciated our labor and listening to their words of appreciation was inexpressible. We all got so motivated that we did more work than was expected!

Sabina Volunteering

Sabina and friends volunteering at Rake Up Nampa

But I think not only people need our attention and help. Animals need it as well. This is why I decided to foster cats for the Idaho Humane Society.

Being foster parent is not as easy as it seems to be. At first, you should have an orientation and try to remember and write down everything that your supervisor says. Secondly, you’ll have to supply your foster animals with their living space. In my case, it was my bedroom, which turned into a total disaster with the litter box under my table, cat food and litter all over the floor, cat fur absolutely everywhere and a horrible smell. Third and the most important condition is – you should be dedicated. I remember myself sitting near litter box for hours and trying to teach my kittens to pee there, I remember changing the litter box every day, I remember waking up earlier to give all four of them their medicine, I remember cleaning my poor carpet from poop and pee. But I also remember how glad I was when they were waiting for me after school, I remember them purring on my laps, I remember people’s happy faces when they adopted my kitties at the shelter, and I remember how sad I was when all of them were gone…

Sabina and Cats

Sabina and her foster cats

But sharing a room with 4 cats for 3 months was not the craziest volunteer experience I’ve ever had!

One day my host Dad was telling me about his experience of jumping into a lake in winter and jokingly asked me if I wanted to do that; something happened with my brain and I said yes. The “Polar Bear Challenge” is a fund raising activity held by the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Idaho annually on the New Year’s. My host Dad and I raised $100 for it, and at 8 a.m. on January 1st we were driving to the Peak Lake. The weather was miserable, it was -1 F (-18 C) with a very strong wind, and the rest of our family didn’t even leave the car. But my Dad and I were brave (or just crazy?), so we went out of the car in our swimsuits, took some pictures in front of this monstrous lake and when the signal was given we held our hands and ran.

Trying to get warm was the hardest part for me: my hair was wet, my lips were blue, I was shaking and sneezing. But now I can say that I did it during my unforgettable year in the USA. This applies to all the community service that we, Greenheart Club members, do here. We can make the world a better place. We can make the difference. And we DO!!