Team Leader Cindy Murray: Making Personal Connections Through Global Volunteers
We’re grateful for all that Cindy Murray has contributed as a Global Volunteer, Team Leader, and supporter to help children and families worldwide since 1997. We’ve excerpted her story from her local paper to inspire and inform. Enjoy!
Cindy Murray says her curiosity and passion to help others has led her to one of her most rewarding experiences yet — Global Volunteers.
“For over three decades, Global Volunteers has offered people an opportunity to get out of their comfort zones, travel, and make a difference,” says Cindy. “There’s a wonderful dynamic that happens when a group of people get together with a common goal and experience working alongside local people who you may have never met before or you might not even have a common language with,” Cindy continued. “In our bigger and more complex world, it seems more and more important to just connect. To look into someone’s eyes and smile without concern of their job title, salary, or what their house looks like.”
Cindy was raised in a family where connecting and serving with others was a core value next to education and community. Her mother volunteered with programs to help physically disabled children and adults; her father likewise volunteered to help people with visual impairments. She was exposed to some of life’s hardships at a very young age. However, she’s always believed that “differences are to be celebrated and honored.”
Cindy has had a goal to impact as many lives as possible with Global Volunteers – by practicing English with youth and adults in Cuba, helping build a community center in Costa Rica, and rehabilitating homes on USA service programs. “However, Global Volunteer’s biggest focus is more on building relationships rather than building buildings,” Cindy asserts.
“This isn’t the kind of experience where you’re going to be able to go home and tell your friends and family that you built 17 houses and painted 23 doors,” Cindy expounded. “It’s not about quantity. It’s really about making friendships and connections with local people. That’s what promotes peace and justice.” As a team leader with Global Volunteers, Cindy witnesses the transformations that occur within partner communities. She said, “It parallels my career in theater and entertainment, creating and delivering experiences for people to have away from daily life, away from whatever challenges they may be going through.”
“I’ve been very fortunate to combine curiosity, service, and travel into both my career and what some other people might call hobbies,” Cindy said. “I ventured off into the arts because I believe that culture, theater, and entertainment can also positively impact the world and people.” She’s humbled by many of her experiences through Global Volunteers. “The giving of who you are to others is so rewarding, and I’m not sure everyone knows that,” she said. “ These experiences bring life alive. For instance, I love nonfiction. I love reading about other people, and I love documentaries — seeing about other people. But service is real. It’s authentic. These kinds of experiences give us a little glimpse of what it’s like to live somewhere else.” Global Volunteers began as a hobby for Cindy; now it’s a part of her. She urges anyone who wants to make a different to start small – but to start.
This article originally appeared in the College Park Community Paper.
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